This Mornings Phil and Josie group hug Phil Vickery as they return to kitchen

Phil Vickery warmed This Morning viewers' hearts today after he was pulled into a heartwarming group embrace with Phillip Schofield and Josie Gibson to celebrate the hosts were finally allowed to return to the live studio kitchen for the first time in two years.

The TV chef, 60, was introducing his 'Pimp My Chips' cooking segment on the popular ITV show when he was interrupted by Phillip Schofield, who said: "Can I just say? This is the first time we've stood in the kitchen for two years!"

"So we can do this, can't we?" chef Phil asked before leaning over and throwing an arm around the presenter's shoulder.

The show's host, who was joined by Josie Gibson after Holly Willoughby tested positive for Covid-19, beamed with excitement at not having to social distance from his co-stars anymore and replied: "I assume we're allowed to do that!"

Josie then dragged the pair into a giggling huddle with Phillip Schofield exclaiming: "Group hug!" and chef Phil joking: "We'll all be off next week!"

Prior to this, covid-19 restrictions meant that the show's hosts were forced to keep a safe distance away from the studio kitchen, as well as from the guest chefs who joined them to show off their culinary skills.

The presenters were becoming used to being perched on the This Morning sofa watching the cooks whip up delicious delicacies from several metres away, with tasters being passed over to them to try.

However, finally, with the last number of social distancing restrictions being removed, Phillip and Josie were permitted to stand alongside chef Phil in the kitchen, watching keenly as he taught viewers the special 'formula' to the perfect chip butty.

Last month, This Morning hosts and real life best friends Phillip and Holly were overjoyed to have their first on-screen hug since the start of the pandemic two years prior.

To celebrate the fact they no longer have to social distance or sit two metres apart from one another on the show’s famous sofa, Holly told viewers: "Welcome back. Now, with global travel restrictions coming to an end, it's set to be the year of the long haul holiday."

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Her co-host Phillip then put his arm around best mate Holly's shoulder, while continuing: "Also the [perspex] screens came down on Dancing on Ice last night… And this is the closest we've been on the telly."

The pair then embraced and cuddled one another tightly, as Holly revealed her excitement, saying: "Look at that!"

She told viewers: "We've had a few little cuddles off set, we have. But this is the first time on screen that we're allowed, so that was nice."

"It feels very nice," Phil agreed, as the pair jokingly rubbed shoulders, showing they could now stand next to each other.

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