Ant McPartlin steps down from TV shows and seeks treatment

Presenter Ant McPartlin has stepped down from his TV roles following his arrest on suspicion of drink driving.

His publicist said McPartlin, who spent time in rehab last year, was taking time off “for the foreseeable future” and would have further treatment.

ITV’s Saturday Night Takeaway will not air this weekend and the final two episodes, scheduled for 31 March and 7 April, won’t feature McPartlin.

The star was involved in a collision in south-west London on Sunday.

His decision to step down comes following talks with his presenting partner Declan Donnelly and with ITV.

Orlando finale

The final episode of ITV’s award-winning Saturday Night Takeaway was due to be broadcast live from Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, with 200 fans of the show flying out in a specially-chartered plane.

Star guests have also been lined up for the finale. It follows last year’s series final, filmed at Disneyworld in Florida.

McPartlin’s publicist said in a statement: “Ant has decided to go back into treatment and step down from his current TV commitments.

“He has spoken with Dec and ITV today and asked for time off for the foreseeable future. As such, Saturday Night Takeaway will not be going ahead this Saturday.”

McPartlin was driving his Mini in Mortlake on Sunday afternoon when he was involved in a collision involving two other cars. The 42-year-old was arrested after failing a roadside breathalyser test.

A child passenger in one of the cars was taken to hospital for a check-up as a precaution, the Metropolitan Police said. A number of people were treated for minor injuries.

McPartlin was taken to a south London police station for questioning before being released under investigation on Monday.

‘Reviewing options’

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.”

McPartlin, who co-hosts several ITV shows with Donnelly, including I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Britain’s Got Talent, confirmed in January he was divorcing Lisa Armstrong, his wife of 11 years.

The Bafta-winning star spent two months in rehab last year after admitting to a painkiller and alcohol addiction. He said the addiction stemmed from a painful 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.

He and Donnelly have established themselves as one of Britain’s most popular TV double acts over the course of their careers and, for the 17th consecutive year, were voted by viewers as TV’s best entertainment presenters at the National Television Awards in January.

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