Star confirms he won’t return to work until 2019 – though his load for next year has been lightened somewhat.

The popular ITV presenter was convicted of drink-driving earlier this year after his car was involved in a collision.

As the Geordie star sought treatment for his prescription drug and alcohol issues, his presenting partner Declan Donnelly was left to deal with the fall-out on screen – going it alone on two editions of Saturday Night Takeaway and this year’s Britain’s Got Talent live finals.

Ant has now confirmed that he will not be a part of the jungle-based reality series’ upcoming eighteenth series either.

“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,” Ant told The Sun “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.”

The tabloid notes that Dec is expected to fly out to Australia to present the show as usual however a decision has yet to be taken on whether he will do it on his own, or with an alternative hosting partner.

Furthermore, Ant & Dec have agreed that there won’t be a series of Saturday Night Takeaway in 2019 – as they do not want to compromise the quality of the show.

“Takeaway airs in February, but many viewers may not realise that the filming for the sketches and the preparation begins six months earlier – which is too soon for Ant,” a source explained

It’s expected, though not confirmed, that Ant will be eased back into onscreen duties gently with the predominantly pre-recorded Britain’s Got Talent.

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