“Ant McPartlin today announces he will continue to take a break from all television presenting roles until 2019,” the statement from the duo reads. “Ant will not present I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here in November this year. In addition Ant and Dec have made the joint decision not to present a new series of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway in Spring 2019.
The next series of I’m a Celebrity is expected to begin on ITV in late November, with no word yet on whether Donnelly will present solo, as he did on this year’s Britain’s Got Talent live shows, or whether he will be joined by a new on-screen partner.
Saturday Night Takeaway will return for a new series in 2020. As the statement explains: “Production and filming for a Saturday Night Takeaway series in February would normally have already started, and continue throughout 2018 and early 2019.
“Neither Ant & Dec nor ITV wanted to compromise the quality of the show and therefore felt it was better to rest the series next year. They will instead bring the show back in 2020, bigger and better than ever.”
McPartlin’s arrest came towards the end of Saturday Night Takeaway’s 2018 run, with Donnelly hosting the final two shows of the series by himself, with help from Scarlett Moffatt and Stephen Mulhern.
But his absence from the forthcoming series of I’m a Celeb will mark the first time in the show’s 16 years on screens that the pair have not presented together from the jungle Down Under.
McPartlin explained that his recovery is going “very well” but “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 – who is expecting his first child with wife Ali later this year –added: “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. I’m looking forward to us both being reunited on screen in 2019.”
ITV’s 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.”