Ant McPartlin ends two year absence from I’m A Celeb

Ant McPartlin RETURNS to I’m A Celeb as he attends production meeting after year away from show … and former stand in Holly Willoughby admits she’s ‘so excited’

  • The presenter confirmed his return to the hit show in an Instagram post shared with followers on Thursday  
  • Ant will fly to Australia for the nineteenth series of the hit show when it returns to British TV screens in November 
  • The star was absent in 2018 after stepping down from all presenting duties in the wake of a road collision near his home  
  • He was charged with drink driving, banned from the road for 20-months and given a British record £86,000 fine after colliding with two vehicles
  • In August 2018 the presenter confirmed he was taking an unspecified amount of time away from work in  order to focus on his rehabilitation 

Ant McPartlin was welcomed back into the fold on Thursday afternoon as he attended his first production meeting ahead of the forthcoming nineteenth series of I’m A Celebrity… Get me Out Of Here!

The 43-year old was joined by presenting partner Declan Donnelly as they talked through the new series, which returns in November, during a visit to ITV studios.  

Taking to Instagram, the pair shared a shot of themselves seated at a table littered with coffee mugs, water bottles and open laptops bearing an I’m Celeb screensaver. 

Welcome back: Ant McPartlin was welcomed back into the fold on Thursday afternoon as he attended his first production meeting ahead of the forthcoming series of I’m A Celebrity… Get me Out Of Here!

Captioning the snap, they wrote: ‘At @itv having meeting about &imacelebrity. Finding out what’s in store and this years celebs.’ 

Sitting alongside his presenting partner, Ant looked thrilled to be back on the show after missing its eighteenth series following his rehabilitation for prescription drug and alcohol issues.

And This Morning’s Holly Willoughby – who stood in for Ant during his absence – admitted she couldn’t wait to see him back in the jungle.

Commenting on the post, she wrote:  ‘How exciting!!!!!’  

Jungle fever: Ant will return to the show with Dec when it airs its nineteenth series in November 

Delighted: Holly Willoughby, who stood in for Ant last year, and Susanna Reid both commented after Ant and Dec shared a photo from an I’m A Celeb production meeting 

Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid also shared a message, joking: ‘Are you taking Piers Morgan off my hands?’ 

The meeting marks another step back into the busy production schedule Ant retreated from in order to focus on his personal issues in 2018. 

His presenting duties were originally suspended by ITV in March after he was arrested following a road collision with a green Mini and a maroon BMW. 

Ant later pleaded guilty to driving under the influence at Wimbledon Crown Court. He was banned from driving for 20-months and fined a British record £86,000 for drink-driving. 

Controversy: Speaking in August, the presenter confirmed he was taking a temporary break from all presenting duties in order to focus on his recovery from prescription painkiller and alcohol dependency (pictured outside Wimbledon Magistrates Court) 

Ant McPartlin’s turbulent year – a timeline 

  • June 2017 – Ant checks himself into residential rehabilitation to overcome a growing dependency on prescription painkillers and alcohol
  • August 2017 – The presenter leaves rehab after a two month spell and returns to work 
  • March 18 2018 – Ant is involved in a road collision close to his south west London home. He was subsequently arrested for driving under the influence
  • March 19 2018 – ITV suspend his presenting duties, among them Britain’s Got Talent and Saturday Night Takeaway
  • March 21 2018 – The presenter is interviewed under caution before being formally charged with drink driving 
  • April 2018 – He pleads guilty to the offence during a hearing at Wimbledon Magistrates Court. He is subsequently banned from the road for 20-months and receives a British record £86,000 fine  
  • August 2018 – Ant confirms he is taking an extended break from all TV commitments until 2019 in order to fully focus on his recovery
  • January 2019 – After five months away from TV Ant returns to work for the Britain’s Got Talent auditions in London  

 

Speaking in August, the presenter confirmed he was taking a temporary break from all presenting duties in order to focus on his recovery.  

In a statement, he said: ‘My recovery is going very well and for that to continue having spoken to Dec and ITV, I have made the decision to take the rest of the year off. 

‘I’d like to thank both Dec and ITV for their continued support and I look forward to getting back to work in the new year.’   

Ant’s abrupt absence resulted in Dec presenting the live Saturday Night Takeaway finale, which took place in Miami, with the assistance of Scarlett Moffatt and Stephen Mulherne. 

He was later joined by Holly Willoughby for that year”s I’m A Celeb, with the This Morning star drafted in as a temporary replacement. 

It had been reported that ITV bosses wanted Holly to host I’m A Celeb with both Ant and Dec next year after the show received its highest ever viewing figures, with a whopping 12.6 million tuning in to watch the star’s first week.

At the ITV show’s after-party in December 2018, Dec said of Holly: ‘There is nobody I would have preferred to stood next to.

‘We were thrilled with the ratings, they are absolutely great. Holly has been fantastic too, just brilliant. She was the one I wanted and I am thrilled she did it.’

In the midst of Ant’s absence, Dec also confessed he debated going solo. 

Trouble: His presenting duties were originally suspended by ITV in March after he was arrested following a road collision close to his London home

New presenter:  Declan Donnelly was joined by Holly Willoughby for that year”s I’m A Celeb, with the This Morning star drafted in as a temporary replacement 

He said: ‘I’d be lying if I said the thought hadn’t crossed my mind. Of course I thought about it. Ant went away, and he had a lot of work to do on himself…

‘He had a lot of thinking to do. Equally, I did. I thought about every eventuality and every permutation…

‘Ultimately, the number one thing I wanted to happen was that Ant came back and he was healthy and happy, and we got our relationship back on track and we carried on. That’s the thing that makes me the happiest, working together’.

After five-months away Ant returned to work for the Britain’s Got Talent auditions in January. 

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