Entertainment & Arts

Ant McPartlin: Fans wish TV host well as he stays off TV

Ant and Dec Image copyright ITV
Image caption Dec is going solo for I'm a Celebrity... this year

Ant McPartlin has thanked fans "for all the messages of support" after next year's series of Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway was postponed.

On Thursday, the host said he'd continue to take a break from all TV presenting until 2019.

Most responses were positive, with one fan saying: "So proud of you Ant. We can't wait to see you back on our TV."

The star has had treatment for addiction after admitting drink driving following a car crash in March.

Another viewer wished him well but commented on "the devastation drink driving can cause".

McPartlin was fined £86,000 and given a 20-month driving ban in April.

Many fans said they understood he should take as much time off his TV work as he needs.

McPartlin went into rehab in June 2017, but returned to host I'm A Celebrity... in November.

TV critic Caroline Frost told BBC Radio 5 Live that Ant had probably returned to TV too early last year.

"You can draw the equivalent of perhaps a star footballer who got back on the pitch too early," she said. "Ant came back last year to the adulation of his many fans and it all went wrong again.

"Clearly Ant and all the people around him have learnt their lessons."

Following the crash in March, McPartlin pulled out of the last two episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway and didn't present the live shows of Britain's Got Talent this year.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Donnelly (right) has co-hosted the show with McPartlin since 2002

The pair have now said Takeaway won't return until 2020, and Declan Donnelly will front November's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! alone.

Frost added that Ant and Dec's "superpower" is "the chemistry between the two".

"What Ant left behind, Dec was able to pick up. I don't think they can sustain that on its own for another series of Takeaway, so they've taken the right decision to park it for a series.

"It's an enormous headache for ITV bosses and the challenge is now on for how to fill that gap."

Iain Lee, who appeared as a contestant on I'm A Celebrity... last year, told Good Morning Britain it was wise for Ant to take a long break.

"I think good for him, he's decided his recovery comes first," he said.

"Some things are more important than television, and his sobriety is more important than television."

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

More on this story