Where does Phillip Schofield go now?
I don’t mean career-wise, clearly: the gods of showbiz will see to that. I don’t mean spiritually, either, the TV presenter’s coming out being, of course, a sensitive and private matter, too. No, I mean where does Phillip literally go, aged 57, as a newly minted gay man? If fluidity is the thing these days, and stereotypes are stale, I can still humbly suggest a few London routes. Phil, ‘welcome to our beautiful rainbow family!’, to directly quote H from Steps.
1. Phil ramps up into a classic old-school TV gay. He invests in snazzy suits in assorted jewel colours plus funky ties. Thick-rimmed specs add heft as he negotiates a moving docuseries about how private shame has impacted his relationships, not least with Gordon the Gopher.
2. Phil becomes a gym bunny, dotting between GymBox, SweatBox and Tesco Express, where he is forever buying cooked chicken breasts at 10pm. The abs are to die for, but this is above all a spiritual journey, chronicled by daily Instagram selfies complete with thesis-long posts. ‘The Coronavirus has got me thinkin’’ (sic), the post starts. ‘I have been really focusing on my mental health, mostly by 3×15 sets of burpees and kettle-bell swings…’ The hashtags climax in the usual delirium of #instaboy #instagay #gaylove. Gok Wan loses his shit in the comments.
3. Phil gets into art, buying interesting sculptures, mid-century chairs and photographs which, weirdly enough, feature an awful lot of hot naked men. It’s okay, though: the latter are by ‘queer artists’ who, whenever they take a picture spread-eagled, butt-naked on a carpet, are in fact ‘interrogating performing the body via a post-gender lens’. Still, Phil gets a shock when he recognises an arse on one of the waiters at his favourite restaurant.
4. Phil settles into something age-appropriate over in west London, with a new partner who, like him, has a royal name, as all gay couples there do (Charles-William, Harry-Edward et al). They set up a discreetly luxurious interior decor business, flogging wallpapers, antiques and ceramics — they truly are daft for Delft! The stock is topped up by regular expeditions to Brazil, which tend to bring back the odd ‘lodger’, too.
5. Finally, Phil starts a podcast. Over several long, blithely unedited hours, he tells all kinds of fabulous, colourful, diverse stories, which somehow all end up sounding like his own.