Holly Willoughby at 40: From children’s TV to prime time regular

Tom Horton, PA

TV presenter Holly Willoughby has turned 40.

The This Morning and Dancing On Ice host has had a varied career in television.

Willoughby, who is originally from Brighton, first entered the limelight when she was scouted by a modelling agency while visiting a fashion show as a teenager.

The Fashion Awards 2019 – London
(Ian West/PA)

She went on to appear in teen magazines and also modelled clothing and lingerie before breaking into television in the noughties when she starred in CITV show S Club TV, a spin-off drama based on the lives of pop group S Club 7.

However Willoughby did not keep up acting for very long and instead opted to pursue a career in presenting.

She began hosting Xchange on the BBC and also starred in the children’s version of talent show Fame Academy.

She later jumped ship in 2004 to present ITV’s Saturday morning children’s show Ministry Of Mayhem alongside Stephen Mulhern, who has also transitioned to become a prime time regular.

ITV bosses subsequently handed her a presenting slot on the newly launched Dancing On Ice in 2006, a move which would see her team up with Phillip Schofield for the first time.

TV Choice Awards 2019 – London
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby (Matt Crossick/PA)

This led to Willoughby landing a place on the This Morning sofa next to Schofield in 2009 following Fern Britton’s departure from the show.

Schofield later revealed he specifically requested that Willoughby was hired for the channel’s flagship magazine show.

The pair have subsequently formed a strong partnership which has earnt them Bafta and National Television Awards gongs.

In 2016 they famously appeared on air in the outfits they had worn the previous night at the NTAs and shared stories with viewers from a raucous after-party hosted by Ant and Dec.

The presenters’ close bond appeared to be cemented even further last year after Schofield came out as gay live on air.

Frozen 2 European Premiere – London
(Matt Crossick/PA)

He later thanked Willoughby and said he “couldn’t have done that with anyone else… sitting by the side of me”.

Willoughby made a brief return to modelling in 2016 when she appeared on the last ever cover of FHM.

However she later told the Daily Mirror the shoot was “a way to say goodbye to all of that”, citing her young family as a reason for not wanting to do so again.

Willoughby has three children, Belle, Harry and Chester, with husband Daniel Baldwin, who she married in 2007.

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