Declan Donnelly to host Saturday Night Takeaway without Ant McPartlin

Declan Donnelly will host Saturday Night Takeaway without his partner Ant McPartlin when the show returns on Saturday March 31.

Wednesday, 21st March 2018, 1:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st March 2018, 1:10 pm
Declan Donnelly.
Declan Donnelly.

An ITV spokesman said: "We can confirm that Saturday Night Takeaway, presented by Declan Donnelly, will return to ITV on March 31, and the series finale will be taking place at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida a week later."

McPartlin, 42, was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving on Sunday and has taken a step back from his TV commitments in order to return to rehab.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The variety programme, hosted by McPartlin and Donnelly as TV duo Ant and Dec, was previously confirmed to not be airing this coming Saturday. ITV has changed the schedule and pulled forward an episode of The Voice UK to fill the slot.

Donnelly wrote in a statement on the duo's official Twitter page: "Whilst I never thought I'd be in this position, after much discussion and careful consideration we've decided that the remaining two shows of this series of Saturday Night Takeaway will go ahead."

Referring to the winners who are flown out to Florida for the final episode of the series, he added: "We made a promise to take hundreds of deserving winners to Florida to watch the series finale, and we will honour that.

"Everyone at ITV and the Takeaway team feels we owe it to the audience to complete the series."

On Monday, it was confirmed that McPartlin is taking a leave of absence from his TV work and will go back to rehab. He was first treated last year after struggling with an addiction to painkillers following a knee operation in 2015.

McPartlin's publicist said in a statement: "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. As such, Saturday Night Takeaway will not be going ahead this Saturday."

And ITV spokesman said on Monday they were "reviewing options" for the remaining two episodes of the series, which will now air as scheduled but without McPartlin.

McPartlin was involved in a collision with two other cars while he was driving his Mini in Richmond, west London, and was arrested at around 4pm on Sunday after failing a roadside breathalyser test.

He was later released after being taken to a south London police station for questioning and was "released under investigation", a Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said.

Police previously confirmed that a number of individuals were treated at the scene for minor injuries, and a child passenger from one of the cars was taken to hospital to be checked as a precaution.

It marked the latest in a string of personal setbacks for the star, whose admission to rehab last year was followed, several months later, by the announcement that his marriage of 11 years to his wife Lisa had ended.