If, like me, you grew up watching SMTV Live, thinking Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly were brothers who literally couldn't appear in a room without each other, you'll be thrilled to know that the duo are set to carry on working together next year. In light of Ant's recent drink driving conviction, fans were worried about the future of his TV career, wondering will Ant be back on Britain's Got Talent next year? Well, fear not. Simon Cowell, aka the man who is basically the final word in British TV and entertainment, has spoken and decreed the show will go on. Yes, on Monday night, the music mogul confirmed both Ant and Dec will be back on BGT in 2019.
Simon's big announcement was made live on Britain's Got Talent, during the first instalment of the show's week-long live semi-final. The episode marked the first time the programme had been presented by Dec on his own as Ant continues with his recovery. Awkwardly though, it didn't go off without a hitch as the show was pulled off air for several minutes due to technical difficulties. An ITV voiceover told viewers at the time: "I’m sorry for the interruption... We’re trying to solve the problem and will return to the show as soon as possible."
When the programme finally resumed, Cowell teased that Ant was behind the technical issue. He quipped: "Ant, you are coming back next year. You didn't need to do that." Plenty of fans on social media made the same joke but were thrilled with the news that both Ant and Dec will be returning to presenting duties next year.
As the BBC reports, Ant was fined £86,000 and given a 20-month driving ban after pleading guilty to drink driving in April. Speaking outside Wimbledon Magistrates' Court at the time, he said he was "thankful" nobody was hurt in the three-car collision he was involved in, which happened in London on March 18. "But I let myself down, I let a lot of people down," the BBC reports he said. "For that I'm truly sorry." The presenter hasn't performed on air in a live capacity since, though he did feature in the pre-recorded audition stages of Britain's Got Talent, which were shot back in February.
According to Radio Times, Ant knew he needed a break from the spotlight following the accident. In a statement, his spokesperson said: "Ant has decided to go back into treatment and step down from his current TV commitments. He has spoken with Dec and ITV today and asked for time off for the foreseeable future."
Rather than avoid the elephant in the room on Monday night, Dec referred to his current solo presenter status in a quip live on BGT. As reported by the Mirror, he said: "The talent is as good as ever, the judges are exactly the same, and the presenters... well, probably best not to dwell on that. Let’s just get on with the show, shall we?" While Dec did a brilliant job presenting by himself, Cowell's confirmation that his best pal will be welcomed back next year will undoubtedly be great news to his ears. After all, the pair have been BFFs for almost 30 years, ever since meeting on the set of Byker Grove back in 1990.
Like all great double acts, these two perform seamlessly together and their jokes work better when bounced off each other. There's just nothing quite like the Geordie chappies, who are reportedly in close communication away from the cameras, according to the Mirror, and as close as ever despite being apart on-screen. So bring on the reunion.
The rest of the Britain's Got Talent live semi-finals will run every night this week at 7.30 p.m. until June 1, with the final scheduled to take pace on Sunday June 3 at 7.30 p.m.