Ant McPartlin pulls out of I'm A Celebrity as he continues recovery

Ant McPartlin will not host I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! for the first time since the show began in 2002.
Ant McPartlinAnt McPartlin
Ant McPartlin

The TV presenter, 42, has announced he will be taking a break from television presenting duties until 2019 and added that he and presenting partner Declan Donnelly had made a "joint decision" not to present a new series of Saturday Night Takeaway next year.

The past few months have seen McPartlin step back from TV commitments and public appearances following a drink-driving charge earlier this year.

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He was banned from the road for 20 months and fined £86,000 after pleading guilty to driving while more than twice the legal limit.

McPartlin said in a statement: "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."

Donnelly said: "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.

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"I'm looking forward to us both being reunited on screen in 2019."

Donnelly hosted the final episodes of ITV series Saturday Night Takeaway without McPartlin earlier this year.

But the duo said "they will instead bring the show back (Saturday Night Takeaway) in 2020, bigger and better than ever".

Donnelly also hosted the live shows of Britain's Got Talent without his long-time TV partner, although McPartlin appeared in the pre-recorded auditions.

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The duo have fronted Britain's Got Talent together since 2007.

ITV director of television Kevin Lygo said: "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.

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