Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield have finally addressed the news that their close friend Ant McPartlin was involved in a drink-driving accident on Sunday. The presenters had made no comment on Monday's This Morning, but after increasing pressure from viewers and Twitter users, Holly and Phil spoke about their close friend on Tuesday's show.
"This is difficult for us, we're talking about a friend here," Phil explained. "Like many people, we're shocked and saddened by Sunday's incident involving Ant. He's now gone back into treatment. He's clearly struggling. He loves Dec, he loves his career, he loves the shows they make together and he loves their fans. The overwhelming feeling has to be that no-matter who you are, if you get in the car and you've had a drink, the responsibility is yours."
"This is difficult for us, we're talking about a friend here," Phil explained
Holly added: "We can't say much more as the matter is still being investigated by the police, but we want to wish those shaken and upset by the collision a quick recovery and personally for Ant, we hope he gets some time and space to return to full health." She also read out ITV's official statement, which confirmed that Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway will not air this weekend. It also noted: "We very much hope that he gets the help that he needs."
ITV has since announced that the hit variety show will be replaced by The Voice UK, which will move from its usual 8.30pm slot to 7pm. That will then be followed by a repeat of Keith Lemon's Through The Keyhole, which will begin at 9pm.
On Monday, Ant's spokesperson confirmed that the TV star is going back into rehab and taking a step back from work commitments. These include presenting Saturday Night Takeaway, Britain's Got Talent and possibly I'm a Celebrity, which airs at the end of the year. Ant's return to rehab comes less than 12 months after he sought professional help to overcome an addiction to prescription painkillers. ITV stood by the star at the time, stating that he would be given "all the time in the world" to recover.