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McPartlin pulled out of last year’s Britain’s Got Talent live shows, as well as the remaining episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway and the 18th series of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, following a drink-driving conviction.
However, in the first episode of BGT very little fuss is made of McPartlin’s return. Instead, it’s business as usual as the presenter reunites with co-host Declan Donnelly with their famous chemistry fully intact.
The only reference to McPartlin’s absence is when one of the members of the Flakefleet Primary School choir tells the star she has “missed him”.
“I missed you too,” he replies, giving the child a hug.
While the opening episode of Britain’s Got Talent largely ignores McPartlin’s comeback, reports suggest that off screen his return on the first day of auditions was an emotional affair.
Co-presenter Donnelly introduced him to the stage at the London Palladium, telling the audience, according to Hello! Magazine, “We’ve got the judges back, the golden buzzer is back, and someone else is back. My co-host for the series, would you please welcome… Mr Ant McPartlin.”
Receiving a standing ovation from all four judges and applause from the crowd, McPartlin replied, “Thank you very much, what a warm welcome. What a great show to come back to, I’m thrilled, I’m over the moon. Shall we move on before I cry?”
Speaking about the return of McPartlin, judge David Walliams said, “It was lovely to see when they stepped back on the stage together in London how excited people were to see them together. It was really emotional and I was pleased for them. It was just how it always was.
“Ant and Dec are really nice blokes and they are ‘what you see is what you get’ type of people. It’s not like they have a persona that’s different to how they are on TV, that’s why people love them so much, they’re just so natural and themselves. It was nice being back together.”
Britain’s Got Talent returns to ITV on Saturday 6th April at 7:15pm