Why Ant and Dec almost said no to hosting 'stupid' I'm A Celebrity

Ant and Dec

Ant and Dec almost said no to fronting I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here when it first launched.

This year another group of celebrities have swapped luxury for life in the I’m A Celebrity Jungle for the next three weeks.

They are TV presenter Nick Knowles, actor and entertainer John Barrowman MBE, Hollyoaks star Malique Thompson-Dwyer, popstar James McVey, football manager Harry Redknapp, actor Rita Simons, TV’s ‘The Governess’ Anne Hegerty, comedy actor Emily Atack, Corrie star Sair Khan, broadcaster Noel Edmonds and singer Fleur East.

It's the eighteenth series of the show to air since its premiere in 2003 having become of the UK's biggest TV series - but it almost didn't make it to air.

In an extra from their autobiography, Ant and Dec reveal how they were originally sceptical of the idea.

"Even as they were explaining the show, I couldn't stop thinking about the title and how long and strange it sounded," Ant wrote in their book Ooh! What A Lovely Pair! Our Story. "I just kept thinking, 'It sounds stupid - and that title's far too long.'"

It seems that Dec was the driving force behind giving it a go, explaining: "We've got to do this because, if it works, it'll be brilliant and, if someone else does it and it's a big hit, we'll be gutted."

Ant went on to say that the first series proved a "struggle".

"Aside from giving out phone numbers and going into camp to announce the results, it felt like we were just there to say, 'This is what's just happened, here's what happened next.'" he recalled. "We didn't know whether to play it for laughs or be straight. It seems a funny thing to say now because the show is ridiculous (but in a brilliant way, obviously."

Ant has stepped down from the show this year, replaced by guest co-host Holly Willoughby.

On signing up for the show earlier this year, Holly said: “I couldn’t be more excited to have been asked to stand alongside Dec for the next jungle adventure. I love Ant and want to send him my best wishes and support for a continued recovery. These are big shoes, not to fill, but just to keep warm for a little bit... "

Dec added of the news: “I am hugely grateful to Holly for agreeing to accompany me to Australia this year. She was at the top of my list and I’m thrilled she said yes. It will be a different kind of series but we will try our best to ensure it is no less fun and eventful for our loyal viewers."

I'm A Celebrity 2018 continues nightly on ITV.

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