Declan Donnelly he refused to present the 2018 series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here with another man, after Ant took a break from TV duties in the wake of his drink-drive arrest.
Speaking in their candid new book Once Upon A Tyne, the presenter, 44, said longtime friend Holly Willoughby was ‘top of the list’ to fill in for Ant.
Dec also insisted there was ‘no way’ he’d have presented the show with Phillip Schofield despite rumours at the time, adding it was ‘very strange’ that he had to face the prospect of appearing on the show without his longtime hosting partner.
Right choice: Declan Donnelly has revealed he refused to present the 2018 series of I’m A Celebrity with another man, and insisted Holly Willoughby was ‘top of the list’
In an extract from their new memoir as reported by The Mirror, Dec said Holly was ‘top of his list’ to fill in for Ant on I’m A Celebrity.
He said: ‘Ant and I are both really good mates with Holly and she is a brilliant and accomplished presenter, but I had no real idea how she worked, not she me, and we knew that for the viewers there was a curiosity factor to it…
‘Holly did a superb job and was fantastic to work with and once we knew Ant wasn’t going to be a part of that series, she was top of my list to host alongside me.’
Nope! The presented added that there was ‘no way’ he’d have hosted the show with Phillip Schofield despite rumours at the time, after Ant took a break from his TV duties
Dec also addressed rumours at the time that Stephen Mulhern or Phillip Schofield could step in for Ant but he was adamant he couldn’t appear with another male presenter.
He added: ‘I didn’t want it to appear that another guy was stepping in to take Ant’s place because they weren’t and because no one ever could.’
Luckily Holly and Dec went down a storm with I’m A Celebrity viewers, and the show saw its highest ratings in years.
Reunited: Ant took a break from his TV duties in 2018 following his drink-drive arrest, but he and Dec reunited for I’m A Celebrity last year
Ant took a break from his presenting duties in 2018 after he was arrested for drink-driving, but returned to I’m A Celebrity last year.
The duo are expected to one again host the beloved ITV show this autumn, though due to COVID-19 restrictions it will be filmed in Wales.
Ant and Dec will also return to screens for the Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals, which will begin on Saturday after being delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Close pals: Dec admitted he was ‘strange’ presenting without longtime friend Ant. Luckily he and longtime friend Holly went down a storm with viewers (pictured with Phillip in 2017)