Ant McPartlin announces he will not return to TV until 2019 - as future of I'm A Celeb and Saturday Night Takeaway hang in balance
Entertainment

Ant McPartlin announces he will not return to TV until 2019 - as future of I'm A Celeb and Saturday Night Takeaway hang in balance

ANT McPartlin has announced he will not return to television presenting until 2019, as he continues to battle his demons following a conviction for drink-driving and stint in rehab.

Ant, 42, will not host the next series of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! in November - the first time in the show's 15-year history that he will not present alongside sidekick Declan Donnelly from the jungle.

Furthermore, in an unprecedented move, Ant & Dec have decided to completely scrap the next season of Saturday Night Takeaway - with the show expected to return sometime in 2020.

"Ant McPartlin today announces he will continue to take a break from all television presenting roles until 2019," a statement released on the duo's behalf read.

"Ant will not present ‘I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!’ in November this year.

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"In addition Ant and Dec have made the joint decision not to present a new series of Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway in Spring 2019," it continued.

"Production and filming for a Saturday Night Takeaway series in February would normally have already started, and continue throughout 2018 and early 2019.

"Neither Ant & Dec nor ITV wanted to compromise the quality of the show and therefore felt it was better to rest the series next year.

"They will instead bring the show back in 2020, bigger and better than ever."

Year from hell

Ant was part way through filming the last series of Saturday Night Takeaway when he was arrested in March following a drink-driving crash that left a four-year-old girl needing hospital treatment.

The Geordie favourite, who previously checked into rehab for an addiction to painkillers in 2017, subsequently reentered treatment - leaving Dec to host the remainder of the series alone.

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And Ant has now revealed he will not be ready to return to work until next year as his recovery continues.

"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," he said.

"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."

Dec, 42, threw his support behind his childhood friend's decision.

"Whilst I am obviously sad at the thought of being without my best friend in Australia this year, I am proud of the work Ant has been doing privately and I am fully supportive of his decision," he said, adding that he was "looking forward" to linking back up with his pal next year.

ITV bosses also gave Ant their blessing, with Director of Television, Kevin Lygo, adding: "ITV is completely supportive of Ant taking as much time as he needs in his recovery and of this mutual decision to rest Takeaway in 2019.

"Ant is clearly making good progress and we wish him all the very best and look forward to him returning to ITV next year.

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"An announcement on I'm A Celebrity plans will be made in due course."