And as she clings to him, Ant tells five-year-old Emily: “I missed you too.”
Ant, 43, is back on TV tomorrow for the first time in a year as BGT starts a new series.
The presenter took off most of 2018 to focus on his addiction problems after he pleaded guilty to drink-driving and was fined £86,000 last April.
After spending most of last year working solo, Declan Donnelly is finally reunited with Ant.
Later emotions run wild when The Flakefleet Primary School from Fleetwood, Lancashire – dubbed “the happiest school in Britain” – take to the stage to perform their version of Queen’s hit Don’t Stop Me Now.
Led by headmaster Dave McPartlin, no relation to Ant, the children get a rousing reception.
Judge David Walliams sobs, telling them: “You made our hearts soar.”
As they leave the stage, Ant grabs little Emily and jokes: “Right. I’m keeping one!”
And she cries: “I missed you.”
Then, when she keeps holding him tight, Ant says: “Come on, you’ve got to let go now.”
When she finally does, he tells her: “Love you lots.”
Yesterday head judge Simon Cowell said: “It’s the happiest I’ve seen him for a long, long time.”
• The show is on ITV tomorrow at 7.15pm.
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