Holly Willoughby defended by ITV co-star after year from hell - 'She's had a tough ride'

Holly has been defended by her co-star
Holly has been defended by her co-star -Credit:Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

There's no doubt about it - Holly Willoughby has had a bit of a tough year. Her former This Morning co-star Phillip Schofield sensationally stepped down after 20 years following an affair with a younger male colleague, then Holly herself quit the show amid an alleged kidnap plot against her.

So, when OK! caught up with the 43 year old's pal Leigh Francis - also known as Keith Lemon, and who Holly starred alongside on Celebrity Juice - we were desperate to find out how Holly was really feeling about her upcoming debut on Netflix.

He also explained that Holly is "happy" but he still doesn't understand what she "did wrong" during such a turbulent year.

"As long as Holly’s happy, I’m happy. She seems excited about it. I think she had a tough ride, in the end. When you read everything online, I don’t really understand what she did wrong. But yeah, last time I saw her she seemed happy," Leigh said.

Holly Willoughby left This Morning last year
Holly Willoughby left This Morning last year -Credit:Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Since leaving This Morning, Holly has kept a relatively low profile, but it was announced that the TV presenter is set to present a Netflix show in which adventurer Bear Grylls hunts down celebrities in the jungle, called Bear Hunt.

And Leigh, 51, was keen to weigh in on what viewers can expect when the show hits the streaming giant. He said: "I were nearly in it. Then I changed my mind.

"I phoned her and said, ‘Are you hosting this show?’ and she went ‘Yeah, are you?!’ I went, ‘No, they’ve asked me to be in it. I said no I don’t think it’s my thing."

Leigh said Holly is 'happy'
Leigh said Holly is 'happy' -Credit:Getty Images

Leigh continued: "I thought it was doing stuff with Bear Grylls like he’s done with Obama and Bradley Cooper - you know, have a chat and he shows you how to light a fire? But it’s more like a reality show and a competition, which I would fail at straight away - so there’s no point. I’ve got no survival skills. It’s funny, Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen called me the other day and was like, ‘You were nearly in Costa Rica weren’t you?!’ Nearly, but not quite. He’s doing it."

Bear Hunt, which has been billed as being similar to I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! is set to launch on Netflix, and will see a group of British celebs being dropped into the jungle to face survival expert Bear Grylls.

The working title of the show is 'Bear Hunt' and will see the former This Morning host journey into the jungles of Central America. It is being produced by Bear's own company, The Natural Studios, and two co-producers.

Holly is set to make her Netflix debut
Holly is set to make her Netflix debut -Credit:(Image: GETTY)

The show will see Bear test the celebrity's survival skills and those who don't impress will have to endure the "bear hunt" where he will hunt them down. If they're caught, they're out of the game. It's yet to be announced which celebrities will be taking part.

This will mark Holly's first brand new show since her departure from This Morning last year. After a brief hiatus from TV, Holly returned to host Dancing on Ice alongside Stephen Mulhern, who had replaced her former co-star Phillip Schofield. It will also be her first foray out of mainstream TV and onto a streaming service.

Leigh Francis spoke to OK! at the opening night for Fawlty Towers Play at the Apollo Theatre.