Dec sends message to Ant as he misses I’m A Celeb birthday

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor
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Dec sends message to Ant as he misses I’m A Celeb birthday

Ant McPartlin has for years been in Australia when his November 18 birthday comes around.

Declan Donnelly has sent a birthday message to Ant McPartlin, who is missing marking the day in Australia for the first time in years while absent from I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!.

Donnelly shared a picture of himself and McPartlin dressed as characters from The Simpsons – he as Marge, and McPartlin as Homer – on social media hours before the new series kicks off.

He wrote: “Happy Birthday Homer. Love, Marge Xx.”

McPartlin is usually Down Under with his long-time presenting partner and best friend to celebrate his birthday, as the programme coincides with the late November date.

This is the first series of the ITV reality show that McPartlin has not hosted since it began in 2002, as he takes time away from TV commitments following a drink-driving conviction.

He was banned from the road for 20 months and fined £86,000.

Holly Willoughby is joining Donnelly as co-presenter for the new series, which will see the likes of football boss Harry Redknapp, DIY SOS host Nick Knowles, ex-EastEnders star Rita Simons and entertainer and actor John Barrowman compete to be crowned King or Queen of the Jungle.

Shortly after his birthday message to McPartlin, Donnelly tweeted fans that he was heading to bed before an early wake-up call to host the first episode.

He wrote, adding an emoji of the Australian flag: “Bedtime in Oz. Can’t wait to welcome you here later.”

I’m A Celebrity starts at 9pm on Sunday on ITV.