Declan Donnelly has said he’s “hugely grateful” to Holly Willoughby for agreeing to co-host the new series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
ITV confirmed on Tuesday that Holly, 37, will fly to Australia to front the entertainment show with Dec, 42, while his usual telly partner Ant McPartlin, 42, continues to take a break from work.
In a statement following Holly’s new role being announced, Dec said: “I am hugely grateful to Holly for agreeing to accompany me to Australia this year.
“She was at the top of my list and I’m thrilled she said yes.”
Dec went on to say: “It will be a different kind of series but we will try our best to ensure it is no less fun and eventful for our loyal viewers.”
He also quipped: “I am also pleased to hear Holly is scared of everything. I am almost stupidly excited at the thought of watching her during the eating trials!”
Holly referenced her fears in her own statement about joining I’m A Celeb, joking she’s “scared of everything that moves”.
She also said: “I couldn’t be more excited to have been asked to stand alongside Dec for the next jungle adventure. I love Ant and want to send him my best wishes and support for a continued recovery. These are big shoes, not to fill, but just to keep warm for a little bit.
“Honestly, I’m a huge fan of I’m A Celebrity and actually feel like I’ve won a competition to go and hang out on my favourite show!”
Dec and Holly have been friends for years, both being familiar faces to ITV audiences.
On last year’s I’m A Celebrity, Dec even joked about Holly coming in to replace Ant that series, amid speculation Ant would miss the 2017 show over issues in his personal life.
Ant took a break from the spotlight in 2017 after revealing issues with alcohol and prescription painkillers stemming from a painful knee surgery.
There had been rumours he wouldn’t be well enough to join Dec on I’m A Celeb 2017 but that proved not to be the case as the two men co-hosted together as usual.
However, they couldn’t resist joking about the situation when Dec opened the 2017 series by saying: “Welcome to Australia we are back and we are here for the next three weeks, your hosts with the most, me and the gorgeous Holly Willoughby.”
Ant interrupted to ask what was going on, prompting Dec to quip: “Guys, that is the wrong script. You have put the wrong script on the screen. Nobody was sure if you would make it or not. We didn’t know if you would be here.”
This year around, however, Ant definitely won’t be in Australia.
He released a statement earlier this month confirming plans to remain off TV until 2019 as he continues to focus on his recovery and well-being following a drink-drive incident in March.
It means he won’t co-host I’m A Celeb with Dec and Saturday Night Takeaway won’t return to screens until 2020, as work on the 2019 series would already have started by now.
Dec has said he’s “sad” that Ant won’t be joining him but he’s “fully supportive” of his decision.