Dec ‘to Deliver Emotional Message’ to Partner Ant on TV

Declan Donnelly is expected to deliver an emotional message of support to his friend and erstwhile co-host Ant McPartlin on tonight’s Saturday Night Takeaway.

The show will begin with Donnelly addressing what insiders have described as the “elephant in the room”, a source told the Daily Express.

ITV said it has no comment on the claim but what will be said during tonight’s show will be finalised during the afternoon’s script meetings.

ITV said McPartlin would not take part in the last two episodes of the hit show after he was charged with drink-driving.

The 42-year-old is due to appear in court on Wednesday over a road traffic collision in Mortlake, southwest London, on 18 March.

Police said he was charged with drink-driving following the crash which involved two other cars and resulted in a child in one of the vehicles being taken to hospital as a precaution.

The child is believed to be a three-year-old girl. Others involved were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

ITV suspended Saturday Night Takeaway for a week as result of the police investigation.

McPartlin’s publicist then said the star would be taking time out from his TV commitments, while the remaining episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway would be hosted solo by Donnelly.

Donnelly said in a statement that part of the motivation to air the last two episodes was to “honour” a promise made to take “hundreds of deserving winners to Florida” for the series finale.

ITV and the AntandDec Twitter account have been tweeting to inform viewers that guests on Saturday will include comedian Stephen Merchant, Paloma Faith and The Script.

Industry insiders say the show could have some of its biggest viewing figures ever as millions tune in to see how Donnelly handles the situation.

In January, McPartlin announced he was divorcing wife and Strictly Come Dancing make-up boss Lisa Armstrong after 11 years of marriage.

Donnelly, meanwhile, and his wife Ali Astall announced on Monday they were expecting their first child.