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Phillip Schofield: how the TV presenter gave a fresh spin to Putin’s propaganda

Name: Phillip Schofield.

Age: 60.

Appearance: The face of Vladimir Putin’s war on the west.

Really? I guess I was thinking of a different Phillip Schofield. No, no, it’s the same one.

The former children’s TV presenter and host of The Cube and Dancing On Ice? That’s him.

How did he get involved with Putin? Through his work as co-presenter of ITV’s This Morning.

With Holly Willoughby? Correct. This week the pair started fronting a regular “Spin to Win” competition for viewers, featuring a big wheel and prizes.

Don’t tell me: Putin called in and won. No, but along with cash prizes, the wheel now offers viewers a chance to have their runaway energy bills paid for four months.

Didn’t they used to give away luxury holidays and stuff? With the average energy bill set to crack £3,600 by this winter, this is the new luxury prize: being warm.

Can ITV afford it? The bad publicity may be worse than the payout, with various commentators likening the competition to something from a Black Mirror episode.

It does seem a bit dystopian, now you mention it. And that’s how Schofield became the face of Putin’s war on the west. The end.

Hang on – the stunt may be crass and ill-judged, but it’s still a long way off taking Putin’s side. Unfortunately, Russia’s Kremlin-friendly news outlets have seized on the story as propaganda.

Those bastards. The host of Russian state television’s morning show, Olga Skabeyeva, reported that UK viewers were being offered heating as a prize. “Apart from that, one could win £1,000 or even £3,000,” she said, “but judging from soaring energy prices that have gone up 80% in one go, it’s clearly much better to win payment for your energy bills.”

She’s not wrong. Anyway, This Morning has already made an attempt to address the controversy.

How? It has adjusted the game slightly, so the top prize now covers the cost of living generally. “So that could be your mortgage, petrol, food, your energy,” said Schofield on Tuesday. “You decide, we’ll pay your bills until the end of the year up to a value of £3,000.”

That isn’t better! Apart from anything else, it’s still not enough! It might be if you cut back on eating and wear a coat in the house.

Do say: “Let’s not panic until we’ve heard Liz Truss’s energy plan. Then let’s panic.”

Don’t say: “Come on Phillip and Holly, Bradley on The Chase is giving away bags of coal.”

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