Anthony McParlin is best known as part of the star presenting duo Ant & Dec. The on-screen partners have gained fans across the nation for presenting SMTV Live, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. But Ant did not join his partner-in-crime Dec on the Australian jungle show last year in order to continue his recovery from drug addiction – instead Holly Willougby took over. But will she return in 2019?
Ant McPartlin rose to prominence as PJ in the CBBC series Byker Grove.
He met Declan Donnelly, who would go on to be his steadfast co-presenter, on this show.
The two actors formed a close friendship on the show, socially and professionally, launching their career which has for around 30 years.
They continued on in their roles until 1993 when they left the show.
In 2015, Ant went into hospital for an operation to treat his knee.
He was advised to take prescription drugs to combat the post-surgical pain after the operation was botched.
Over the next two years, Mr McPartlin became addicted to taking these painkillers, in addition to alcohol.
In June 2017, he checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic citing the reason as an addiction to prescription drugs.
After two months, he was released and returned to the screens.
However, his on-screen return was short-lived and in March 2018 Mr McPartlin was involved in a road traffic collision in London.
Mr McPartlin was arrested on suspicion of drink driving and was later fined £86,000 and given a 20-month driving ban as a result.
He was suspended from further presenting duties in order to return to rehab for further treatment.
In a statement issued by his publicist, he said: “My recovery is going very well and, 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.”
At that time, Dec said: “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.”
This led to Holly Willoughby stepping in as Dec’s co-host on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here in 2018.
She proved to be massively popular with fans, but is that the last fans will see of her in the jungle?
According to Dec, there are currently no plans for Ms Willougby to return to the jungle.
He told reporters: “That’s kind of down to her I suppose she was fantastic out there last year.
“She made it clear that she’s seen it as a one-year thing so I don’t think she’ll be back this year – but you never know, there’s plenty of time between now and then.”
Ant also supports this stance, previously telling The Sun: “No, it’s not going to be a trio. It’s back to us two (Ant & Dec) this year.
“That was the great thing about Holly. It was a one-year gig. That was the brief, a one-off.
“I was thankful that it was her because she was looking after my mate out there and looking after the show.
“And she doesn’t need the work – she can’t get off the telly!”