Ant & Dec notably absent from Britain's Got Talent official photos
Ant McPartlin checked into rehab last month following his drink-driving arrest
Britain's Got Talent is back! To launch the new series, judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, David Walliams and Alesha Dixon have posed for a high-glamour photoshoot at the London Palladium, alongside Britain's Got More Talent host Stephen Mulhern. But notably absent from the photoshoot were long-standing stars, Ant and Dec, who have presented the show since its launch in 2007.
Ant continues to seek treatment in rehab for his addiction to prescription drugs. He checked into a facility last month, after being arrested for drink-driving following his involvement in a car crash in Richmond. He was a no-show during the last two episodes of Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, which his best friend Dec was forced to present alone.
Ant and Dec were notably missing from the photos
Dec is said to have impressed ITV bosses on Saturday Night Takeaway so much that he will continue his solo streak on Britain's Got Talent. "After last weekend, the feeling is very much that Dec should take on BGT alone – he did a brilliant job," a source told the Sun. "The bosses at ITV loved him and want him back as soon as possible, and Simon Cowell totally agrees that he's the best man for the job rather than bringing in a new face."
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Amanda, wearing a Celia Kritharioti haute couture red taffeta dress, and Alesha sizzled in the new snaps
However, viewers at home will still catch glimpses of Ant when the series returns to TV this Saturday. Pre-recorded segments will see both Ant and Dec supporting contestants in the wings as they prepare to audition in front of the judges. The pair will be "getting up to more nonsense backstage," the press release notes.
MORE: Ant puts on a brave face for BGT auditions
David and Simon are returning to judge
Alongside the four judges and Dec, Ant did travel around the UK earlier this year carrying out auditions for the show. The troubled TV star, who announced his split from wife Lisa Armstrong in January, was pictured having a heated conversation with judge Amanda backstage. Amanda later took to Instagram to quash the rift reports, sharing a photo of the group laughing. "Loving #Manchester @bgt #fabulous #first #day up here – loads of fun. Too much #laughter," she wrote. Ant's representative also dismissed the reports, saying: "Ant and Amanda were not having any form of argument. They were literally having a conversation."