Britain's Got Talent: Dec to host live shows alone

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Image caption,
The pair met on BBC children's programme Byker Grove

Declan Donnelly will host the Britain's Got Talent live shows without Ant McPartlin, ITV has confirmed.

The broadcaster said Dec will host the live shows without his long-term co-presenter "while Ant steps down from his TV commitments for now".

Mr McPartlin was charged with a drink-driving offence last month following a three-vehicle collision in London.

He will still feature in the audition episodes of the upcoming series, as they were filmed in January.

Britain's Got Talent will return for its 12th series this Saturday.

In recent years, the talent show's live semi-finals and final have been screened nightly across one week, usually at the end of May, with the audition shows broadcast in the weeks running up to it.

In a statement released on Tuesday, ITV said: "We send Ant all our love. And we know that Dec will do a brilliant job."

Presenter Mr McPartlin, 42, who spent time in rehab last year for painkiller and alcohol addiction, announced after his arrest on 18 March that he was stepping down from his TV roles while he had further treatment.

He is due to appear in court on 16 April.

Following his arrest, his publicist said he was taking time off "for the foreseeable future".

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Image caption,
The presenting duo, from Newcastle, were set to host their 12th series of the talent show together

One episode of ITV's Saturday Night Takeaway was cancelled and the final two episodes were presented solo by Mr Donnelly.

After the live series finale on Saturday, Mr Donnelly, 42, told the audience the shows had been fun but "tinged with sadness".

He called for a round of applause for his presenting partner of almost 30 years, saying he was "back at home" and would "appreciate that".

Britain's Got Talent is one of ITV's most successful entertainment shows.

Last year's final was watched by an average of 8.2 million viewers - with more than 10 million people tuning in for the moment the winner was announced.

Acts who found fame on the show include dance group Diversity, Susan Boyle and George Sampson.

The show has won several National Television Awards including most popular entertainment presenter, awarded to Ant and Dec as a duo.

Most recently, the series has been nominated for the best entertainment programme Bafta award alongside Saturday Night Takeaway.