I’m A Celebrity: Dec jokes about Ant’s return to TV

Anthony McPartlin (left) and Declan DonnellyImage copyright PA
Image caption Ant (left) and Dec returned to screens on Sunday night

The latest series of I’m A Celebrity has kicked off – with presenter Dec Donnelly joking Ant McPartlin had been replaced following his stint in rehab.

The presenting duo were reunited on screen for the first time since McPartlin’s treatment for drug addiction over the summer.

Donnelly joked that he would have a new co-host on the show, saying: “It’s me and the gorgeous Holly Willoughby!”

McPartlin replied: “I’m back, my friend… it’s good to be back.”

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Media captionDec jokes about Ant’s return to I’m A Celeb

McPartlin entered rehab in June, having become addicted to alcohol and prescription painkillers following a knee operation in 2015.

Later in the programme, Donnelly presented a model of the camp and said he’d made it himself – but with no help from McPartlin.

He asked his friend: “Where were you all summer anyway, what were you doing?”

“Just stuff… just dead busy,” McPartlin replied with a smile, before swiftly trying to change the subject.

Image copyright ITV
Image caption The celebs looking fresh-faced before entering the jungle

This year’s contestants on I’m A Celebrity include boxer Amir Khan, ex-footballer Dennis Wise, Made in Chelsea’s Georgia Toffolo and Stanley Johnson – father of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

They are joined by Coronation Street actress Jennie McAlpine and Hollyoaks actor Jamie Lomas, along with comedian Shappi Khorsandi, footballer Jamie Vardy’s wife Rebekah, Saturdays singer Vanessa White and YouTube personality Jack Maynard.

This year’s show opener attracted 10.3 million viewers as it was aired, beating its nearest rival in the same time slot, BBC One’s Howards End, which was watched by 9.9 million.

It wasn’t the highest viewed programme on Sunday evening overall though, with both Strictly Come Dancing’s results show and Blue Planet II seen by 10.8 million each on BBC One.

Image copyright ITV
Image caption Maynard has apologised for offensive tweets

Maynard, 22, found himself in hot water over the weekend for some old Tweets he had posted in 2012.

He was accused of using homophobic and racist terms, as well as the term “retards”.

A spokesman for Maynard said: “Jack is ashamed of what he said in these tweets, many of which were deleted a long time ago and were sent in response to a neighbour who was bullying him.

“Jack was a lot younger when he posted them in 2012 but realises that age is no defence. He would never use that language now and realises that, as someone who was bullied himself, this kind of retaliatory, inflammatory, insulting language is completely unacceptable.”

An ITV spokesperson added: “Jack has deleted these tweets and has since issued a full apology.”

Image caption Johnson had to rummage in creature-filled holes to gain rewards

Sunday night’s show saw some of the contestants tackling a walk the plank challenge on the roof of a hotel in Australia, 334 feet up in the air.

Other tasks included one which saw Johnson, 77, and Vardy putting their hands into holes cut into the side of a wrecked wooden boat that were filled with rats, spiders and crabs.

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