Ant McPartlin beams with delight alongside co-presenter Dec Donnelly after finishing successful first day of BGT rehearsals following his time off
He returned to work with his long-time presenting partner Declan Donnelly after stepping away from his TV roles last year following a drink-driving arrest.
And Ant McPartlin was all smiles as he left the London Palladium on Friday with his BFF Dec as the pair celebrated a successful first day of Britain Got Talent auditions.
The Geordie star, 43, admitted to fans earlier in the day that he was ‘really really emotional’ but ‘thrilled’ to be returning to the ITV programme after missing out on the live shows last year, which saw Dec, also 43, host solo.
Beaming! Ant McPartlin was all smiles as he left the London Palladium on Friday with his BFF Declan Donnelly as the pair celebrated a successful first day of Britain Got Talent auditions.
Also appearing in high spirits following the show, were the Britain Got Talent judges; Simon Cowell, 59, Amanda Holden, 47, Alesha Dixon, 40, and 47-year-old David Walliams.
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Both Amanda and Alesha swapped their usual glamorous ensembles during the series for more low-key outfits and had their locks pulled back in easy-to-manage hair styles.
One notable absentee was Ant’s freelance make-up artist ex-wife Lisa Armstrong, who is no longer a part of the show after a 12-year stint.
He’s back! Ant returned to work with his long-time presenting partner Dec after stepping away from his TV roles last year following a drink-driving arrest
‘It’s good to be back’: The Geordie star, 43, admitted to fans earlier in the day that he was ‘really really emotional’ but ‘thrilled’ to be returning to the ITV programme
Time out: In August last year, Ant revealed he was taking a break from presenting with co-host Dec to focus on recovering from his painkiller addiction, months after his drink-driving charge
An insider told The Mirror last year: ‘Lisa has been axed to ensure his return to TV goes smoothly with no unnecessary distractions. Although everyone is very fond of Lisa, it was clearly untenable to carry on working together.’
However, Lisa ‘liked’ a post from on Twitter, wishing Ant and Dec luck on their first day back at work.
During the first day of filming, a ‘delighted’ Ant was cheered onto the stage after being introduced by Dec, who told the audience: ‘We’ve got the judges back, the golden buzzer is back, and someone else is back.
‘My co-host for the series, would you please welcome… Mr Ant McPartlin.’
Emotional: Ant was given a standing ovation by the crowd after being invited on stage by Dec
Shocked? Also appearing in high spirits following the show, were the Britain Got Talent judges, including Simon Cowell
Back to business: Britain’s Got Talent head judge Simon Cowell told McPartlin: ‘Ant welcome back. We missed you; it wasn’t the same.’
Taking to the stage, a nearly-tearful Ant said: ‘Hello everyone. Oh God, I’m really, really emotional now. I’ve missed you all. What a great show to come back to, I’m thrilled, I’m over the moon. Shall we move on before I cry?’
The crowd were reportedly quick to grant the host a standing ovation and an ‘extremely positive’ reaction, sources exclusively told MailOnline.
The source said: ‘Going back on stage was really emotional for Ant. He’s delighted to be back with Dec and excited for the BGT series ahead. The reaction from the crowd today was extremely positive. They gave him a standing ovation.’
Looking good: Amanda Holden wore a broad smile as she left the iconic venue on Friday
Working it: The judge flaunted her slim frame in a tracksuit, embellished with colourful stars
Radiant: The blonde bombshell highlighted her pretty features with a glamorous selection of makeup
In August last year, Ant revealed he was taking a break from presenting with co-host Dec to focus on recovering from his painkiller addiction, months after his drink-driving charge.
It was also revealed that ITV hit show Saturday Night Takeaway, presented by the pair since 2002, has been cancelled until 2020.
Ant also missed I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in November, with new dad Dec hosting the programme alongside This Morning’s Holly Willoughby.
Troubled presenter Ant first sought rehab treatment in June 2017 after becoming addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol following a botched knee surgery in 2015.
Stylish: Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon teased her toned abs in a crop top combo
Stunning: Piling on the layers, the singer looked effortlessly cool in a denim jacket
He entered rehab for a second time in March after he was involved in a three-car collision in Richmond and was discovered to be over the limit behind the wheel.
Ant pleaded guilty to drink-driving in April and he received a record-breaking £86,000 fine, as well as a 20-month ban from driving.
Ant’s divorce to wife of 12 years Lisa was finalised in October, and the star has since found romance with her former PA and pal Anne-Marie Corbett.
Dapper: David Walliams was his usual charming self in a formal suit and pink shirt
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