The reality TV boss is launching the new series of Britain’s Got Talent, which will see co-hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly back on TV together for the first time in a year as McPartlin resumes presenting duties.
He has been in rehab following a conviction for drink-driving in 2018 in which he ended up driving down the wrong side of the road head-on into another vehicle. The conviction carried with it an £86,000 fine and a 20-month driving ban.
But his long-term colleague Cowell was interviewed by Dan Wootton on Lorraine and said of McPartlin’s return to the ITV show: “It’s like it never happened.
#BGT is back and with auditions well under way, @danwootton spoke exclusively to all four judges who shared their delight at Ant McPartlin's return to the show: 'It's the happiest I've seen him in a long long time.' #Lorraine pic.twitter.com/TL2cpm10w7
— Lorraine (@lorraine) February 11, 2019
“That’s when you know it’s comfortable, because we’re all back together again, we’re friends, these things happen.”
McPartlin took an immediate break from TV after the incident, leaving best pal Donnelly to host the BGT live shows alone, finish up live entertainment series Saturday Night Takeaway solo, and team up with Holly Willoughby for I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!.”
Cowell added: “Yeah, I really did miss him, and I felt for Dec last year because we really threw him out there.”
Fellow judges Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams smiled as Cowell talked, and Holden chipped in: “He looks really healthy.”
— David Walliams (@davidwalliams) February 8, 2019
During his year-long career break, McPartlin has also divorced his wife of 12 years Lisa Armstrong, and has said he has never been happier than in his new relationship with his former personal assistant Anne-Marie Corbett.
Cowell agreed: “He’s the happiest I’ve seen him for a long, long time.”
Geordie presenting duo Ant and Dec have hosted Britain’s Got Talent since it began in 2007 and this series will be their first job back together since McPartlin was suspended from TV.
The new series is expected to begin airing on ITV in May.