Silver fox Phillip Schofield shares hosting duties on a variety of shows with some of the country’s hottest women, including Holly Willoughby and Christine Bleakley…
And he was recently named in the Top Ten of Most Unlikely Sex Symbols, an honour he shared with Jonathan Ross, Jeremy Clarkson, Fabio Capello, Trevor McDonald and Gordon Ramsay.
There has even been a spurt recently in sales of T-shirts bearing the words, ‘Mrs Phillip Schofield’ but despite being the thinking woman’s fantasy poster boy, Phillip reckons there’s only one woman for him; his wife of 19 years, Steph.
Speaking to the Daily Star about being something of a pin-up aged 50, modest Phil said, “It seems a million years ago that I was on some calendars as a pin-up, so people saying this now is really lovely.
“But a lot of people say I’m their ‘guilty pleasure’, as if they don’t want to admit it out loud!”
He added, “I know that I am a very lucky man to work with all these gorgeous women, but my wife isn’t jealous. She knows she’s the only woman for me.
“Steph’s fab. We met at the BBC in the mid 1980s when she was working as a production assistant.
“We knew each other for years before anything happened. I went away to film two series of Schofield’s Europe and Steph was moving out of her flat so I said, ‘Stay here’.
“She moved in as a sort of housesitter and never moved out. That was that. I made the first move, I think. She’d probably disagree.
“I love Steph. She’s wonderful. A great mate, a lovely person. Gorgeous. Very bubbly, very diplomatic.”
And of course, of all his “telly wives”, Holly Willoughby is the one who’s worked most closely with Phil, and their closeness and similar senses of humour have often rendered them both giggling wrecks when something amuses them as they’re presenting a live TV show.
Of his rapport with Holly, Phil said, “Holly and I are great mates. We know each other so well now.
“She knows when I’m in trouble on air and am going to laugh and I know what pushes her buttons.
“We make a dangerous combination. I adore Holly. We’ve had a terrific time together.
“She’s great fun and she’s got a brilliant sense of humour. Holly herself admits that it was a bit of a daunting task [taking over from Fern Britton on This Morning] at first.
“In fact she was terrified for the first week, but then she fitted beautifully into place and before we knew it we thought, ‘Oh my God, we could have been doing this for years’.
“I think the chemistry’s there because off screen we are firm friends.
“What’s lovely is that I know Dan, Holly’s husband and they know Steph.
“We’ve had some really lovely nights out together – and some fairly raucous ones, too!”
Those “raucous ones” may have been the result of the other love of Phil’s life – wine.
In fact, he reckons wine has become something of an obsession for him in recent years. He explained, “Two years later a friend persuaded me to join the Wine Society and the floodgates opened.
“After my family, wine is the biggest passion of my life… an obsession.”
Phil has now amassed more than 7,500 bottles of the rarest wines and most valuable vintages, which he stores in two purpose built cellars underneath the kitchen and garage of his house in Henley, Oxon.
Of his massive collection of vino, he added, “I’ve never bought a bottle I intend to sell.
“But the City boys are all going bust so their wine is flooding the market.
“They drove us into this mess so we deserve the pickings of their wine. If my world falls apart, my wine collection will be my pension.
“You’ve got to open your best bottles in the right frame of mind. Wine is so emotional.
“A friend of mine died and I thought ‘Sod it, I’m going to open something amazing’. I did, and it was dreadful. I may as well have had a coffee.
“Steph isn’t a red wine drinker though, so if I open a bottle during the week it’s going to be me drinking it.
“And I can’t remember the last time I re-corked a bottle and drank it the next day.”
Well Phil, if you can remember the bottle – never mind the re-corking – you’re doing ok.