Dec cracks Holly Willoughby gag as Ant makes his comeback on I'm A Celebrity 2017

Geordie duo on top form in Ant's first TV appearance since his well-documented troubles

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Ant and Dec returned to I'm A Celebrity last night and viewers couldn't get enough.

Ant McPartlin made his first TV appearance since leaving rehab on the new series of I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! last night - with his presenting partner Dec Donnelly cracking a hilarious Holly Willoughby joke to welcome him back.

Ant checked in to a recovery facility following Britain's Got Talent in June, after publicly admitting to problems with alcohol and prescription drugs.

The move triggered speculation over whether he'd be able to host I'm A Celebrity this year, with one report claiming Dec would instead front the show with Holly Willoughby.

Eventually, Ant left rehab after a two-month stay, and following several further weeks of rest and rehabilitation, he and Dec finally returned to our screens on Sunday on the ITV jungle show.

Proving that the Geordie duo are still on top form, Dec introduced its launch episode with a cheeky dig at all the rumours.

"Good evening, welcome to Australia, we are back," he said. "We're here for the next three weeks, your hosts with the most, me and the gorgeous Holly Willoughby!"

Feigning surprise, Ant replied: "What? Sorry, what?"

"Guys, that's the wrong script! You've put the wrong script in the thing!" Dec exclaimed. "Nobody was sure if you would make it or not, we didn't know if you'd be here!"

"Unbelievable, I was always gonna make… come on, I'm back my friend, come on! It's good to be back!" Ant grinned.

The lads made another joke about the situation later on, when Dec demonstrated a replica of the show's camp that he'd supposedly spent "all summer" making.

"All summer that took me, no help from this one," Dec said. "Where were you all summer anyway? What were you doing?"

"Just stuff, I was dead busy. Ooh, kangaroo! Go to VT!" Ant laughed.

Viewers loved the duo's return, with one tweeting: "5 minutes in and Ant & Dec are already the best thing that’s happened to TV this year"

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Another declared: "Literally nobody in England dislikes Ant & Dec."

I'm A Celebrity is one of Ant and Dec's most successful shows, helping them win a whopping 16 Best Presenter gongs at the National Television Awards.

The new series continues nightly on ITV for the next three weeks.

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