Dec says this year’s I’m a Celeb will be “tinged with sadness” thanks to Ant’s absence

He also revealed he couldn't present the ITV jungle series with "another guy"

ITV Pictures, SL

I’m A Celebrity host Declan Donnelly has said this year’s jungle competition is “tinged with sadness” with the absence of Ant McPartlin.

Advertisement

However, Dec – who had hosted the reality show with Ant since its first series in 2002 – ­revealed he expected his usual presenting partner to return “stronger” after his extended absence from screens.

“As always I’m incredibly excited to be heading to Oz for I’m A Celebrity,” he told The Sun.

“It is obviously tinged with sadness that Ant won’t be coming this year, I’m going to really miss him, but it’s only for one series and he’ll be back stronger next year.”

Dec also revealed new co-host Holly 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 Willoughby would 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.

Advertisement

Unfortunately for Willoughby, she doesn’t have much time to prepare herself: the new series starts on Sunday 19th November (9pm) on ITV.