Who is This Morning producer Martin Frizell?
ITV producer Martin Frizell found himself in the middle of "toxic culture" claims at This Morning.
Daytime entertainment show This Morning has been in the midst of a storm after news broke that long-time host Phillip Schofield was having an affair with a much younger production assistant.
Schofield, 61, admitted to an “unwise, but not illegal” relationship with a younger male colleague who worked on the show while he was still married to his wife earlier this year.
Though the veteran host has now left This Morning, there have been wider claims of a “toxic culture” within the show - with Scottish producer and editor Martin Frizell at the centre of trouble. The events have led ITV to commission an external review into the affair.
Who is Martin Frizell?
Originally from Glasgow, the 64-year-old producer and editor has had a long career within the news industry.
Frizell attended Hillhead High School, before attending Edinburgh Napier University, where he gained a qualification in journalism.
Throughout his thirty year career, the producer has worked a number of different roles, beginning his professional career researching for the BBC.
He has previously worked as a correspondent for news agency Thomson Reuters, and Australian breakfast show Channel 7 Sunrise.
Frizell spent 10 years as an editor for GMTV, and was its Scotland correspondent before that, but left after ITV bought the channel out.
He said at the time: “I've had a blast but it feels like this is a natural time to move on.
“We have achieved all that we set out to do, have won awards and made the sofa the institution that it has become.”
Since he joined the show in 2016 it has won a number of awards, including several National Television Awards.
Who is Martin Frizell married to?
Frizell is married to journalist and broadcaster Fiona Phillips, who formerly presented GMTV. The couple have been married since 1997 and have two children together; Nat aged 24 and Mackenzie who is 21.
In July, 62-year-old Phillips announced that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
Speaking to The Mirror, she said: "This disease has ravaged my family and now it has come for me. And all over the country there are people of all different ages whose lives are being affected by it - it’s heartbreaking. I just hope I can help find a cure which might make things better for others in the future."
Regarding her diagnosis, which the couple initially thought was menopause, Frizell said: “I just felt sick. We both sat in silence. There was no funny line to make this go away. Nothing smart to say. Nothing.
"And then the doctor said he’d leave us in the room alone for a bit to digest it all. We just looked at each other and said: ‘S**t. What are we going to do?”
Phillips is currently facing the early stages of the disease and is taking part clinical trials run by the University College Hospital in London to treat Alzheimer’s.
What has been said about Martin Frizell’s behaviour?
Following Schofield’s departure from the show, a number of people who worked on the show have spoken out about its toxic culture.
The Sun’s Showbiz Editor Clemmie Moodie shared her opinion about what goes on behind the scenes at This Morning.
Moodie claims Frizell is well known within the industry for his “bullish, antiquated ways” and that ITV executives “enabled” his behaviour.
What did Martin Frizell say about aubergine?
Questioned by Sky News about the current claims surround This Morning and its toxic work environment, Frizell instead talked about aubergines.
“I’ll tell you what’s toxic [what] I’ve always found it toxic. Aubergine. Do you like aubergine?”
When the reporter repeats herself, he again dismisses questions regarding This Morning.
"But do you like aubergine? Because I don't like aubergine. It's just a personal thing."
During a Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing SNP MP John Nicolson labelled the remarks as "outrageously dismissive and flippant on camera about an immensely serious issue".
Celebrity chef Gino D'Acampo made reference to Frizell's comments during a segment on the show which has been shared on social media. Interacting with hosts Holly Willoughby and Dermot O'Leary, D'Acampo said he had been planning to cook melanzane parmigiana but added that he had been told he wasn't allowed to use aubergines on the show.
What did Dr Ranj say about Martin Frizell?
In a statement on Twitter, Dr Ranj Singh – who worked on This Morning for 10 years – claimed he was phased out of the show after raising concerns about bullying.
"I was on the show for ten years and I genuinely loved and valued working there. However, over time, I grew increasingly worried about how things were behind-the-scenes and how people, including myself, were being treated.
"I didn't know the truth about what was going on with Phillip, but I do know the issues with This Morning go far beyond him.
"It takes more than one person to create a culture. So I did what I thought was right and, as ITV confirmed last night, I raised my concerns about Martin Frizell's behaviour (and the environment at This Morning) with Emma Gormley - especially given that my job is to look after people's wellbeing, and I had been heavily involved in diversity, anti-bullying, and mental health projects across the channel.
"But then I found myself being used less and less."
Dr Ranj’s statement continues, with the presenter sharing that he took his concerns to the top of ITV and was “managed out” as a result.
“"That was two years ago, and frankly, it still hurts. The whole process was pretty heart-breaking and even affected my mental health.
“But I'm happy to say that I've found my feet again…”
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