Holly Willoughby 'favourite to join Dec on I'm A Celebrity this year'

Holly Willoughby

Holly Willoughby is reportedly the favourite at ITV to join Dec on I'm A Celebrity this year.

Dec's usual co-host Ant stepped down from TV commitments earlier this year and recently confirmed he would not be back on TV until 2019.

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 (on 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.”

ITV say plans for I'm A Celebrity "will be made in due course."

According to the Daily Mirror newspaper, Holly is the favourite behind the scenes to join Dec.

"Holly is very close friends with Ant and Dec and both she and Phil have been backing Ant since his troubles," an insider claimed. "Ant and Dec both love her and I am sure they'd be thrilled if she got the job.

"They share a management company so Holly already knows what being in the Jungle for weeks entails."

Although Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway co-star Stephen Mulhern has been rumoured, sources say producers are keen for a woman to join Dec.

A source explained: "Producers feel like whoever replaces Ant needs to be a woman to make a difference to the show, otherwise it would just look like a like-for-like replacement. That would risk it falling short for viewers."

I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here typically launches in November on ITV.

Get the latest news

Subscribe on YouTube