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I’m a Celebrity 2018 finalists welcome Ant's return to TV: 'We're all so happy he's back on his feet'

Harry Redknapp, John Barrowman and Emily Atack are delighted Ant is back – but full of praise for his replacement Holly

I'm a Celeb finalists, NTAs (Screenshot)
Published: Wednesday, 23rd January 2019 at 1:45 pm

The 37-year-old stood in during the 18th series of the show last year, after Ant McPartlin took a step back from hosting duties following an arrest for drink-driving.

While Willoughby has since made it clear she was only filling in for the TV star for one year, I’m a Celeb 2018 finalists John Barrowman and Emily Atack lavished praise on the This Morning presenter, saying it was her “new blood” on the show which made it such a ratings success.

Speaking to after picking up the Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award at the National Television Awards for I’m a Celeb, Barrowman explained, “I think Holly was a great host of the show.

“Holly had big shoes to fill, but she did it, she landed on it. With Holly’s new blood into the show, alongside Dec, it made it a huge success.”

Atack added, “Ant and Dec has always been everyone’s jungle experience up until now, and they’ve done the most incredible job.

Holly Willoughby and Declan Donnelly in I'ma Celebrity Get Me Out of Here

“We love Ant and Dec as they are, always, but for us, Holly and Dec were our experience. We love both duos, but Holly and Dec were our personal experience and we loved her, it was great.”

It was an emotional night for McPartlin and co-host Donnelly, after they won the National Television Award for Best TV Presenter for the 18th consecutive year in a row despite McPartlin's hiatus from TV work.

“We were all so happy Ant is back on a journey, getting back on his feet. For someone to own what they’ve gone through – the respect goes from all of us for that,” added Barrowman.

Meanwhile, current King of the Jungle Harry Redknapp admitted he’s not been hugely changed by his jungle experience.

The self-proclaimed Mr Pasty said that beloved wife Sandra still does everything for him.

“I wish I could say I was [a changed man],” he said. “But no, I’m still useless.”

“We love Harry the way he is!” said Atack. “We don’t want him to change. He won that competition because everyone loved him for who he was.”


I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! returns to ITV later this year

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