UPDATED with show being pulled: ITV has pulled its hit show Saturday Night Takeaway this coming weekend after co-host Ant McPartlin was involved in a suspected DUI yesterday. The presenter will now return to rehab, the broadcaster said.
No decisions have been made about the final two episodes of the show, due to be broadcast on March 31 and April 7, but they will not feature McPartlin, whose publicist said he was taking time off “for the foreseeable future.”
The final episode of the award-winning game show series, which scored a massive 9 million viewers just two weekends ago, was due to be broadcast live from Universal Orlando Resort, with 200 fans of the show flying out in a specially chartered plane. Star guests are understood to have been lined up for the finale.
An ITV spokesman said: “ITV has taken a joint decision with Ant and Dec’s team not to broadcast Saturday Night Takeaway this weekend. We will be reviewing options for the last two episodes of the series (March 31 and April 7) which would not feature Ant who is taking time off to seek treatment. We very much hope that he gets the help that he needs.”
PREVIOUS, 8:39 AM: UK TV presenter Anthony “Ant” McPartlin, co-host of such hit ITV shows as I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! and Britain’s Got Talent, has been arrested on suspicion of DUI after a crash involving three cars Sunday afternoon in London. A number of people were treated for minor injuries, including a child who was taken to a local hospital as a precaution. McPartlin was taken to a South London police station for questioning before being released today under investigation.
The BAFTA-winning star, one half of popular double act Ant and Dec, spent two months in rehab last year after admitting to a painkiller and alcohol addiction. The addiction reportedly stemmed from a troubling knee operation in 2015.
McPartlin said he was clean from drugs and alcohol in August and returned to presenting duties in November on I’m a Celebrity, but this latest incident could cast doubt over his employment on the hit ITV shows including Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, which is in the middle of its run and next due to air Saturday. We’ve reached out to ITV for comment but haven’t heard back.
The UK presenter’s ITV colleague Lorraine Kelly today said on her TV show Lorraine, “He will be there on Saturday night. … Poor guy … a lot of people are speculating he won’t be there for Saturday Night Takeaway. He will.”
For the 17th consecutive year, McPartlin and fellow host Declan Donnelly were voted by viewers as UK TV’s best entertainment presenters at the National Television Awards in January. In January, McPartlin split from his wife of 11 years.