Saturday Night Takeaway axed for 2019 as Ant McPartlin takes year's break from TV and pulls out of I'm A Celebrity 2018

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Joanna Partridge

Ant McPartlin is to take a break from television for at least a year, and will miss the next series of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! while the next series of Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway has been axed.

In a statement, the 42-year-old said he would not return to I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! - which is expected to return to ITV in November or December - until at least 2019, and he has agreed to postpone next year’s Saturday Night Takeaway until 2020.

In April, the TV presenter was fined £86,000 after admitting driving while more than twice the legal alcohol limit.

He has been undergoing rehab since March.

McPartlin said that his "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.”

Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have won a host of TV presenting awards. Credit: PA

McPartlin has ruled himself out of the 2019 series of Saturday Night Takeaway, as pre-production work is scheduled to start soon, and he did not want this to interfere with his recovery.

ITV, McPartlin and his presenting partner Declan Donnelly have agreed that Saturday Night Takeaway will return to TVs in February 2020.

The Sun also reported that Donnelly, will still host I'm A Celebrity later this year, but added that a decision has not yet been made over whether he will host the programme single-handedly or with a guest co-host.

Dec explained: “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 Director of Television Kevin Lygo added that the television company was "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."

In an exclusive interview with ITV News in July, ITV Chief Executive Carolyn McCall said that McPartlin should take as much time as he needed to recover before returning to the channel.

Ms McCall said she "wished Ant well", adding that he "won't come back a moment too soon.

"So I mean he will come back when he's well and when he is ready to come back and ITV will not be putting him under any pressure to come back unless he's well and fit enough to come back."

When pressed if the presenter would definitely return, Ms McCall confirmed "as far as I know, that is true".