Holly Willoughby under fire: calls for star to quit amid fierce backlash

Has TV’s golden girl lost her touch?

holly willoughby

by Shereen Low |

She’s enjoyed huge success throughout her career, but Holly Willoughby’s Midas touch could be coming to an end as her latest show hit a new low. Ratings for The Games, hosted by her and Freddie Flintoff, were mediocre despite bright beginnings. The launch show attracted an impressive 2.1million watchers, but dropped by about 500k to 1.5million the following day. If that’s not bad enough, audience members walked out on the live opening night before filming ended.

TV viewers spotted spectators queuing up to leave the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, as stewards tried to usher them back inside until the closing credits rolled. One crowd member said, “Quite a few people just started getting up, even though we were asked to wait until the end. The show was still going on. It wasn’t just a handful, it was noticeable.”

holly willoughby the games
Hosting The Games with Freddie Flintoff ©shutterstock

The Games – a reboot of the Channel 4 series, which ran from 2003 to 2006 – saw 12 celebs, including model Christine McGuinness, Mel B’s daughter Phoenix Gulzar-Brown and former Strictly dance pro Kevin Clifton, competing in Olympic-style events such as weightlifting, diving and gymnastics. Love Island star Wes Nelson and singer-songwriter Chelcee Grimes were crowned champions for getting the most points over the week-long programme.

While The Games’ future remains up in the air, with a second series as yet undecided, it had been suggested that the drop in the show’s viewership was partially due to its clash with another of Holly’s programmes – Freeze The Fear With Wim Hof, which was on BBC One and produced by her husband, Dan Baldwin. People were thought to have switched over to watch it instead. But others complained about The Games being too long, not having enough content, and denigrated the calibre of the celebrities. The Mirror’s TV critic Ian Hyland noted that, if it wasn’t for her wellness site Wylde Moon, things might not be looking so good for Holly.

Freeze The Fear with Wim Hof,12-04-2022,Holly Willoughby, Lee Mack,*GENERAL RELEASE* *EMBARGOED for publication until 00.01hrs 5th April 2022* Picture shows: Holly Willoughby, Lee Mack,Hungry Bear Media,Pete Dadds

He said, “It’s Holly Willoughby I’m most concerned for. This revamp of a format that Channel 4 ditched in 2006… has continued a recent run of worrying flops for TV’s golden girl. It’s a good job her new moon-themed candles, claptrap and crystals website is doing quite well…Not that you can really blame Holly, or Freddie, for this one.”

But Holly, 41, received a fierce backlash from commenters online accusing her of being responsible for her own downfall, blaming her for taking on too much work. In addition to hosting This Morning, The Games and Freeze The Fear, she co-presents Dancing On Ice with Phillip Schofield. Away from TV, she runs her Wylde Moon site with her sister, has ranges with Marks & Spencer and Dunelm, and is an ambassador for L’Oréal.

Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock (12942125z) Holly Willoughby, Phillip Schofield 'This Morning' TV show, London, UK - 16 May 2022

“Little Miss Greedy – always all about the money, constant over-exposure,” said one online commenter, with another remarking, “She’s such a money grabber. She won’t turn anything down.” A third said, “Holly has lost all her TV appeal. She should quit now or face losing her legacy,” while another noted, “Time is up for Holly’s career. Over-exposed and now we’re so bored of her.”

However, others were quick to support her, noting she was a “huge talent” and saying they “really enjoyed” the show. Some said the programme was “fun and enjoyable” and proclaimed that Holly and Freddie had
great chemistry, too.

Having won awards for hosting This Morning, this latest setback must surely be a shock blow to Holly. In recent years, the mum of three has become more selective in her career, choosing her work carefully so she can continue to spend quality time with her husband and their kids – Harry, 13, Belle, 11, and Chester, seven.

“I love my career but sometimes, when you are spinning all of these plates, you forget to stop and just be still, and work out who you are in the middle of all of this craziness, and this bit that is going on,” she has said.

“I don’t really want to do more, I just want to pause everything and keep everything as is. Work is in a really lovely place and I’m really happy with This Morning. My main focus over the next few years is churning out three very grounded, normal, happy, content children, teenagers and adults, eventually,” she added.

Describing motherhood as “a challenge” but the “greatest job I’ll ever do”, she admitted to suffering from mum guilt. “That’s the biggest challenge. I’ve been riddled with guilt about getting that part wrong. You love them so much and you don’t want to mess them up,” she said. She revealed she “hated” missing Harry and Belle’s first days of school due to her filming commitments on This Morning.


“I didn’t do the drop-off because I was working. I hate that I wasn’t there because those memories you can’t get back,” she recalled.

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Luckily, her job on This Morning allows her to greet her children after school and see them at the weekends, yet she fears her hectic working schedule might give the wrong impression to others. “I think the problem with working mums is that I’m feeling guilty because I’m not there to drop my kids off in the morning, because I have to go to work,” she said last year.

“What I’m feeling guilty about is that in some way, I’m telling myself I clearly don’t love my kids because I love my career more than my children.”

Holly added, “I know that’s not the case. I know I love my kids more than anything on this planet.”

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