The TV host, 42, said while he feels disappointed he’s also tremendously proud of co-star Ant for overcoming his demons – and is “fully supportive” of his choice.

Following on from Ant’s statement today that revealed he would not be returning to the jungle series this year, Dec said he will undoubtedly miss being without his close friend in Australia.

He revealed: “Whilst I am obviously sad at the thought of being without my best friend in Australia this year, I am proud of the work Ant has been doing privately and I am fully supportive of his decision.

“I’m looking forward to us both being reunited on screen in 2019.”

In his statement Ant thanked Dec and ITV for their “continued support” – and said he is looking forward to getting back to work in the New Year.

He said: “My recovery is going very well and for that to continue having spoken to Dec and ITV, I have made the decision to take the rest of the year off.

“I’d like to thank both Dec and ITV for their continued support and I look forward to getting back to work in the new year.”

The star has been undergoing rehab treatment since March after a relapse into alcohol addiction which saw him convicted of drink driving.

And in the next coming weeks Dec will still head to Australia to front I’m A Celeb without his partner for the first time, but a decision has not yet been taken over whether he will host the programme on his own or with a guest co-host.

As a result the duo and ITV have agreed Saturday Night Takeaway, one of the broadcaster’s most popular shows, will now not return to screens until February 2020.

Confirming the news, the presenters insisted they did not want to compromise the quality of the show and therefore felt it was better to rest the series next year, promising it would come back bigger and better than ever.

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