Holly Willoughby’s humbling NTA performance reveals clear game-plan to win back fed-up This Morning fans, say PR gurus | The Sun

DESPITE the glitz, glamour and flurry of famous faces, it was Holly Willoughby who drew the most attention at last night's National Television Awards. 

It was the first time in 14 years that the This Morning star, 42, attended the prestigious event without her former “bestie” Phillip Schofield. 

Holly and the ITV show have weathered a series of scandals this year including Phillip's "unwise, but not illegal affair" and allegations of workplace "toxicity".

But on the red carpet, the Queen of daytime TV put on a brave face as she fronted up to reporters for the first time in over a decade andanswered tough questions.

Holly revealed it had been a "difficult year" filled with "ups and downs" for her and This Morning, which reportedly lost 200,000 viewers earlier in the summer.

The move has been branded a “PR blitz” by expert talent agents, who tell The Sun her accessibility and honesty is part of a game plan to win back fed-up fans.


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Brand and culture expert Nick Ede acknowledges the NTA appearance was “a big deal” for Holly – especially as she knew “all eyes were on her”.

He noted that she “looked sensational”, “stood her ground” and “genuinely looked like she was having a good time”.

Nick told us: “From a PR point of view this was a big moment and Holly handled it perfectly. 

“When faced with booing from the audience and also an awards snub in favour of The Repair Shop she managed to be gracious in defeat. 

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“Sneaking a dirty burger in her car on the way home she showed her followers and fans her down-to-earth personality which we all love.

“As far as I am concerned this was a win for Holly, showing the world she doesn’t need a man by her side to be a success.”

‘Struggling to reconnect’  

Talent agent Carla Speight says it was clear that Holly was “nervous” while courting journalists and during the ceremony at last night’s bash.

She told us: “Holly was nervous and looked uncomfortable even whenever the cameras flicked over to her.

“She’s desperately trying to continue a ‘business as usual’ approach and show ‘we’re leaving all of that behind us’.

“But I don’t know if it’s sustainable for her to continue in this way. I don’t think the public are buying it.

“They are in the middle of a s*** storm and while ‘business as usual’ seems to make the most sense, she has to find a way to reconnect with viewers.”

‘Undeniably bold move’

Holly didn’t shy away from tough questions last night including addressing allegations of a toxic work culture on This Morning. 

She told the Daily Mail: “I know there's been a lot of talk about things and for me personally, I don't want to speak on behalf of other people, it's a world I don't recognise.”

Celebrity PR guru Ed Hopkins says tackling the press “head-on was the correct decision” and “an undeniably bold move”.

He told us: “By engaging with the media and addressing any controversies or snubs directly, she gains some control over the conversation. 

“In an era where public figures are often criticised for being inaccessible, Holly's new willingness to face the media directly shows that she is now unafraid to address challenging situations head-on.” 

‘Eating humble pie’

Back in June, This Morning saw a 200,000 drop in viewing figures following Holly’s statement about Phillip’s affair with a young colleague. 

It has been claimed Holly is “eating humble pie” to salvage her career on the ITV programme – and according to Ed, that may work.

He says choosing to engage and being candid will help her to “build trust and rapport with her audience and fans” once again.

Ed told us: “In one of the interviews I heard she was asked about her summer, and she candidly replied with ‘it had its ups and downs.’ 

“This level of openness and vulnerability in her responses further underlines her commitment to transparency and authenticity.”

‘Low-key appearance’ 

Holly and This Morning left the awards ceremony emptyhanded – but our experts believe the star handled the heartbreak with “class” and “humility”.

This was highlighted when the show missed out on scooping the Best Daytime Show award, which they had previously won 12 years in a row. 

Body language expert Judi James believes Holly didn’t expect to win last night and tried to fly under the radar.

She told Metro: “It was an unusually low-key appearance from Holly.

“[She was] sitting rather low in her seat and rather eclipsed by the very charismatic Alison Hammond who can steal any scene with her laugh alone.

"Holly’s body language looked almost sweetly modest and apologetic, with a series of small shrugs to camera [and] a surprised expression when she was hugged by winner Jay Blades.

“Then some baby waves and baby clapping rituals seem to signal she had low expectations of getting any award this year.”

‘Sincerity win’

Ed believes Holly played it right at the NTAs and hopes it could pave the way for her to become the ‘Queen of daytime TV’ once more. 

He told us: “I genuinely hope that the public warms to her again because Holly Willoughby is not just a television personality.

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“She's someone who brings warmth and authenticity to our screens every morning. 

“She has a unique ability to make us feel like we're part of her world, and I believe that her openness and sincerity will continue to be appreciated by her fans and viewers.”

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