Ant thanks fans after announcing he won't return to TV until 2019

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Ant McPartlin has thanked fans after announcing his departure from TV until 2019.

Ant stepped down from TV commitments earlier in 2018 and this week confirmed he would not be back on TV until next year.

It was previously announced in March that Ant was taking time off "for the foreseeable future" to seek treatment in rehab after pleading guilty to drink driving.

In a statement today (August 9), Ant 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.”

Dec added: “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.”

Taking to Twitter after the statement was released, Ant tweeted: "Thank you for all the messages of support. Ax"

Fans encouraged the Geordie TV host to take as much time as he needs to get better.

One wrote: "Sad news but the right news - take your time Ant. The love for @antanddec will be there whether it's 2020 or 2030!"

As well as missing out on I'm A Celebrity in the autumn, Saturday Night Takeaway will be rested and won't return to TV until 2020.

A statement posted on the pair's official website explained: "Production and filming for a ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’ series in February would normally have already started, and continue throughout 2018 and early 2019.

"Neither Ant & Dec nor ITV wanted to compromise the quality of the show and therefore felt it was better to rest the series next year. They will instead bring the show back in 2020, bigger and better than ever."

ITV say that plans for I'm A Celebrity will be revealed in due course.

The show typically launches in November on ITV.

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