Declan Donnelly gets news I’m A Celebrity co-host
ANT MCPARTLIN will be replaced when I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! returns later this year — despite the fact his co-host Declan Donnelly (pictured above) has previously indicated the idea was unthinkable.
A new co-host has been chosen to replace Ant, ITV’s director of television Kevin Lygo told the Edinburgh TV Festival — but he stopped short of revealing who it would be.
The decision has been made following Ant’s decision to take the rest of the year off after a drink-driving conviction earlier this year, which saw him banned from the road for 20 months and fined £86,000.
But in their 2010 joint autobiography, Ooh! What A Lovely Pair, Ant wrote: ‘We made an agreement — whatever happened, we’d be mates forever, and neither one of us would ever be on our own out there.’
Arguably, today’s announcement isn’t breaking this promise — though we’re not sure it quite honours the spirit of the boys’ deal.
The duo have presented the programme in the Australian jungle together since it began in 2002.
Although Lygo wouldn’t reveal who Dec’s new co-star might be, he teased the festival audience with a few jokey suggestions.
‘It’s going to be Piers Morgan. No, I don’t know, it could be Jeremy Corbyn. I can’t say,’ he said.
Speaking about Ant’s health, he said: ‘The good news is that he’s doing really well, he’s doing everything he should be doing to get better.
‘We collectively thought, let’s give it a good amount of time off, this is a slow procedure, that’s what we’ve decided to do.
The duo’s other show Saturday Night Takeaway will not air next year while Ant takes his break.
Lygo said: ‘With Takeaway, it’s not coming back because we do an enormous amount of work for it now before it airs in February and March, and it’s a lot of work and I think it was important for Ant, from his point of view, to not worry about doing any work.
‘They’re so amazing and honest and professional and fastidious about their shows.’
Lygo reckoned Ant and Dec’s favourite show is Saturday Night Takeaway: ‘They’re so proud of it and they want it to be perfect and bigger and better.’
Author: Anna Thomson