ITV has backed Declan Donnelly to do a “brilliant job” hosting the Britain’s Got Talent live shows by himself.
The broadcaster also sent “love” to Dec’s telly partner Ant McPartlin, 42, who has returned to treatment and stepped down from TV commitments after a drink-drive charge in March.
Dec hosted the last two episodes of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway solo, following Ant’s decision to withdraw from the limelight.
And now it’s been confirmed that Dec will also host the Britain’s Got Talent live shows by himself.
The decision was confirmed at a preview screening of the programme’s first episode by ITV’s head of entertainment, Siobhan Greene.
She said: “We send Ant all our love … and we know that Dec will do a brilliant job.
“Dec will be hosting the live shows which, for the first time ever, are coming from the Hammersmith Apollo while Ant steps down from his TV commitments for now.”
Ant will still feature in the Britain’s Got Talent audition episodes, which start this weekend and were recorded in January.
The duo have fronted BGT since its inception in 2007 and have a golden buzzer option on the show which allows them to send an act directly to the competition’s live semi-final.
Last year there were six live episodes throughout one week, with the first live semi-final airing on May 29.
Fans have also been sending support to Dec ahead of his BGT solo stint.
News that Dec will present the BGT live shows solo comes days after Dec presented the finale of Saturday Night Takeaway alone.
Dec said the finale had been “tinged with sadness” due to the absence of his TV partner of almost 30 years.
He also asked for a round of applause for Ant, adding: “He’ll appreciate that.”
Dec previously said of his decision to continue fronting Saturday Night Takeaway solo: “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.
“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.”
Ant was charged by postal requisition on March 21 after allegedly being involved in a collision with two other cars while he was driving his Mini in Richmond, west London, on March 18.
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The TV presenter was due to appear at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on April 4, but the hearing was adjourned to April 16, a spokeswoman for the court said.
Britain’s Got Talent starts Saturday at 8pm on ITV.
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