Declan Donnelly has backed Ant McPartlin to make a triumphant return to TV on Britain’s Got Talent in the new year.
Ant is planning to reignite his career with fellow Geordie Dec on Simon Cowell’s talent show after putting his drink and drug troubles behind him.
And referring to his best friend, Dec said: “It’s back to normal for BGT – fingers crossed it will be great.”
The duo, both 43, will be reunited on January 18 for six days of auditions at The Palladium in Central London.
They will then join judges including Cowell and Amanda Holden for further try-outs in Manchester.
It comes after Dec enjoyed record ratings on I’m A Celebrity this year alongside Holly Willoughby, who stood in for his old mate.
Yesterday, a fit and healthy looking Ant took his dog Hurley for a walk with girlfriend Anne-Marie Corbett in Wimbledon, South West London.
The star went on holiday at the start of the I’m A Celebrity series but is thought to have watched some episodes and reportedly stayed in regular contact with Holly, praising her work on-screen.
Speaking at the show’s wrap party in Queensland, Dec said of Holly: “There is nobody I would have preferred to have stood next to.”
He added: “We were thrilled with the ratings, they are absolutely great. Holly has been fantastic too, just brilliant. She was the one I wanted and I am thrilled she did it.”
Dec also took time out to discuss jungle king Harry Redknapp, the first male winner for five years.
Dec said: “Harry was absolutely a worthy winner. He has been fantastic all the way through.
“He has been brilliant at keeping the camp spirits up, his stories were amazing and it is lovely to have a king of the jungle again.
“He is such a worthy one, but also an older guy who has shown that he’s still got plenty to offer and plenty of life in him and plenty of fun and plenty of stories. So I am thrilled for him.”
The contestants flew home from Australia yesterday, with most –including Harry and runner-up Emily Atack – due to land in London today.
The Mirror revealed this week that Ant’s ex-wife Lisa Armstrong was axed as a make-up artist on Britain’s Got Talent because it was “untenable” for her to work with him again.
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