Dec sends Ant a special birthday message ahead of first I’m A Celebrity show without him

McPartlin will miss the series for the first time in 2018

(ITV, TL)

He may be hosting I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here 2018 with Holly Willoughby but that doesn’t mean Declan Donnelly has forgotten his long-term presenting partner Ant McPartlin.

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Dec, who has presented the series with McPartlin since it first aired in 2002, took a moment to wish his long-term friend and presenting partner a Happy Birthday ahead of the show’s first live broadcast.

“Happy Birthday Homer. Love, Marge x,” he wrote, sharing a snap of the pair dressed as the famous Simpsons couple.

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Happy Birthday Homer. Love, Marge x

A post shared by Ant & Dec (@antanddecofficial) on

Ant misses I’m A Celeb for the first time ever in 2018 as he continues his extended absence from screens and Dec told The Sun that his absence leaves the series “tinged with sadness”.

“I’m going to really miss him, but it’s only for one series and he’ll be back stronger next year,” he explained.

Dec also revealed that his new co-host, Willoughby, was his choice to step in. “I didn’t want to host this series with another guy so Holly was top of my list,” he said.

But Dec also said she’d have to “toughen up” when the series starts, with the This Morning presenter having an acute fear of I’m a Celeb’s creepy crawlies.

“I had heard Holly was a bit scared and then saw her doing a Bushtucker Trial on her last day on This Morning which involved a toy spider and some kittens and she nearly cried doing that,” he said.

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I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! airs on ITV from Sunday 18th November