After a summer of pottering around in the garden and spending more time with her family, Fern Britton should be bouncing back on to our TV screens happier than ever.
Instead, her career’s hanging in the balance – and her misery’s compounded by the success of her replacement Holly Willoughby on This Morning.
Ratings have rocketed to over one million since Holly joined Phillip Schofield on the sofa in September – 200,000 higher than Fern’s days.
Meanwhile, Fern’s first job since This Morning, quiz show As Seen On TV, has been axed after just one series.
‘Fern’s loved spending more time with her kids, but she’s been fretting about her career and is desperate to get more deals in place,’ a source tells Now.
‘She wants to do more one-off primetime shows, but the offers are hardly flooding in. It’s a kick in the teeth that Holly’s doing so well and has even been allowed to carry on with her clothing range for Very when TV bosses blocked Fern from launching a plus-size range.’
Friends fear that Fern, 52, is picking the wrong types of shows to boost her career. Her latest project is BBC1 series Fern Britton Meets… about faith.
Our source says: ‘She’s always been interested in spirituality, but choosing such a niche subject won’t help her land top TV gigs. She wants to be more like Fiona Phillips, who can pick and choose her TV work.’
Fern’s also revealed that she’s on antidepressants and HRT to keep her on an even keel after the menopause.
‘I still take a small amount of antidepressants every day,’ she said.
‘This summer when I finished work, I thought: “I’ll ease myself off it and see what happens. Perhaps I’ll be fine now.” And I wasn’t fine.’
Our source adds: ‘If Fern gets her wish to be on TV a lot more, the stress on her will only increase. It’s a dilemma.’