Dermot O'Leary quits as National Television Awards host after 10 years amid 'spat' with Ant & Dec
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Dermot O'Leary quits as National Television Awards host after 10 years amid 'spat' with Ant & Dec

DERMOT O'Leary has announced he will no longer host the National Television Awards after a decade presenting the annual ceremony.

Taking to Instagram on Wednesday, the 45-year-old said it was a "tough decision" to step down but that "10 years feels about right".

His departure comes after he recently joked that the NTAs "may as well just chuck in the towel" if Ant & Dec won yet another award – sparking rumours of bad blood between O'Leary and the Geordie duo.

After the Britain's Got Talent hosts went on to win the Best Presenter Award for the 18th time in a row last month, prompting Declan Donnelly to wish O'Leary a "happy retirement" and Anthony McPartlin to hit out at his "foolish" comments.

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Speaking to The Mirror a week before 2019's NTAs in mid-January, O'Leary said he thought Graham Norton and Donnelly's I'm A Celebrity 2018 co-host Holly Willoughby were just as deserving of the award – especially as McPartlin sat most of the last year out to get sober.

"If they win it, we should just not do it anymore. If they win it, having not been on television, we may as well just chuck in the towel," O'Leary said at the time.

"With the greatest respect to the boys, I think Holly has had such a great year, and Graham."

McPartlin later told The Sun: "Dermot was kind of joking. I say kind of because it was one of those foolish things to say that’s going to be taken in a serious manner.

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"He said, 'Oh my God mate, I’m so sorry'. I challenged him to a fight in the school playground in my response, '3pm, schoolbags off'. Then I said, 'Look I get it, no worries'."

O'Leary went on to slam the original report featuring his remarks on Twitter, writing: "I wouldn't normally react to this, but... A) I said no such thing. I merely joked that if the boys win this year, we should all chuck in the towel. It was neither serious nor a 'rage'."

The X-Factor host, who also presents a slot on BBC Radio 2, said he was looking forward to passing on the NTAs baton.

Organisers of the annual ITV bash thanked him for his decade of service in a statement on Twitter.