Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby fail to appear at start of This Morning as they make VERY awkward return | The Sun

THIS Morning fans were baffled today when the show began – and hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield were nowhere to be seen.

Many fans tuned in to see if the pair would address the ongoing turmoil during the ITV daytime show.

But instead the programme opened with a man playing the piano after the credits rolled.

Reports of a growing rift between long-running presenters Holly and Philip were first revealed by The Sun last week.

And many viewers were confused when instead of the pair fronting the beginning of This Morning, the programme opened with live music instead.

One This Morning fan joked: "Not me thinking they refused to present so they got some one to play the piano last minute to pass time."

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Another tweeted: "That’s it, let’s have a bit of piano music to distract the viewers."

However, the pair were later revealed to be standing together, just out of shot, applauding as the music came to a close.

Others have called the hosts' interactions "awkward", especially during the paper review where they discussed the big stories of the day.

One tweeted: "Phil and Holly did not mention the story that has been on front pages of every paper this weekend and trying to act like everything is fine. It just looks awkward."

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There had been doubts over whether the pair would host today, but a source explained: "Holly and Phil are professionals and they can turn it on like no one else.

“Although behind the scenes their relationship is nothing like it was, they are both dedicated to This Morning and keeping it together for viewers.”

Earlier, The Sun told how Phil has hired a lawyer after being “blindsided” by how public their fall out has become.

Phillip appeared stony faced when he emerged from his home this morning.

It came amid reports the star feared he would be axed by ITV after it emerged Holly, his TV partner of 14 years, was prepared to strike out alone on the show.

An insider told The Sun yesterday: “Phil has instructed a lawyer to help keep his reputation intact.

“They are overseeing stories relating to ITV and his role on This Morning and are ensuring Phil is protected.

“Phil has done absolutely nothing wrong and doesn’t have a PR team guiding him.

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"He and ITV felt he needed someone, officially, in his corner to ward off stuff that isn’t true. Phil doesn’t want this to get beyond his control.”

Holly and Phil – who front This Morning from Monday to Thursday – will be on screen together until late July and then take a six-week summer break.

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