Last night, Ant McPartlin made his much-anticipated return to TV just five months after he entered rehab for an addiction to prescription painkillers and alcohol.
The star was joined by his co-host Declan Donnelly as the pair kicked off the new series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, and viewers were delighted when the Geordie stars acknowledged the massive elephant in the room.
Together, Ant and Dec made light of his time in rehab – and the consequent speculation that Ant might not be healthy enough to return to Australia and host the ITV reality show.
Introducing last night’s episode, Dec said: “Welcome to Australia we are back and we are here for the next three weeks, your hosts with the most, me and the gorgeous Holly Willoughby.”
Ant replied: “What? Sorry, what?”
Dec quipped back: “Guys, that is the wrong script. You have put the wrong script on the screen,” turning to Ant he added: “Nobody was sure if you would make it or not. We didn’t know if you would be here.”
Embracing his best friend, Ant responded: “Unbelievable. I was always going to make it. Come on, I’m back my friend.”
Ant and Dec then returned to their usual jokes as they got on with the rest of the show, however, Dec couldn’t resist taking another swipe at his co-star later in the show.
After Ant slammed a small model of the celebrities’ camp on their desk, Dec joked: “That took me all summer to make that. On my own.
“Where were you all Summer? What were you doing?”
A sheepish Ant replied: “Just stuff. I was busy. Roll VT.”
Needless to say, fans were delighted by Ant’s return and took to social media to praise the way his rehab stint had been handled:
— N A D I N E (@Nadinee_Call) November 19, 2017
— Lowri Buckley (@LowriBuckley) November 19, 2017
so much love and respect for ant for getting help and being able to laugh and make jokes about it. ain’t no one better than ant and dec #ImACeleb
— lucy (@Iucybrown) November 19, 2017
‘I was always gonna make it! C’mon, I’m back my friend!’ This was truly the most emotional and heartwarming moment on television of the year ❤️ hats off to @antanddec for this part, you’ve got the whole U.K. full of happy tears!! #ImACeleb pic.twitter.com/ypsqKHQrOr
— dani (@ohitsdani_) November 19, 2017
How nice is it to see Ant and Dec back man specially after everything’s ants been through. Absolute national treasures #imaceleb
— Victoria Hughes (@victoriahughes_) November 19, 2017
How many people feel even a LITTLE bit better about their own #mentalhealth problems when they see Ant and Dec, totally normal boys next door, openly addressing it with a little humour? I know it makes ME feel good about going forward in removing the final stigmas. #ImACeleb
— Vittoria Gallagher (@Vitt2tsnoc) November 19, 2017
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! continues on ITV tonight.