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Ant McPartlin confirms he will not return to work until 2019

Dec Donnelly said he would be sad to present I'm a Celeb without Ant

Emmy Griffiths

Ant McPartlin has confirmed that he won't return to television until 2019 so that he can focus on his recovery. Posting a statement on Ant and Dec's website, the presenter wrote: "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."

Ant is focusing on his health

Dec added: "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." The pair confirmed that they wouldn't air Saturday Night Takeaway until Ant was back, with the statement reading: "In addition Ant and Dec have made the joint decision not to present a new series of Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway in Spring 2019. Production and filming for a Saturday Night Takeaway series in February would normally have already started, and continue throughout 2018 and early 2019. Neither Ant & Dec nor ITV wanted to compromise the quality of the show and therefore felt it was better to rest the series next year. They will instead bring the show back in 2020, bigger and better than ever."

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Ant has taken a break from his television career after he was charged with drink driving back in April. The 41-year-old had been travelling with his mum when he crashed the car, leaving several people with minor injuries. Since then, he has since stayed out of the limelight to focus on his recovery, while Dec has presented their shows solo.

READ: Ant McPartlin breaks Twitter silence with heartwarming message

Dec said he was sad to be in Australia without his best friend

ITV 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. An announcement on I'm A Celebrity plans will be made in due course." Ant previously took a break from television to enter rehab back in 2017 after becoming addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol after a failed knee surgery left him in constant pain.

READ: Ant McPartlin makes rare public appearance as he stops to pose with a fan

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