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Ant McPartlin breaks silence on Holly Willoughby replacing him on I'm A Celebrity

The TV personality is in the UK this year instead of Australia, where he has been each November since 2001

Hanna Fillingham

It was a bitter-sweet day for Ant McPartlin on Sunday, as he celebrated turning 43 in the UK, rather than Australia, where he has marked his birthday since 2001 while presenting I'm A Celebrity. But Ant wanted to make sure that his replacement, Holly Willoughby, and best friend Declan Donnelly, have a great start to the series, which commences on Sunday night. Taking to Ant and Dec's official Twitter account, Ant wrote: "All the very best of luck little fella and @hollywills for the show tonight. Lots of love from the big fella! A. I'm A Celeb. X." Fans were delighted to see Ant's post, and were quick to respond in the comments section. One wrote: "Will miss seeing you on I'm A Celeb but your recovery is much more important," while another said: "Come back fighting Ant."

Ant McPartlin sent his best wishes to Declan Donnelly and Holly Willoughby at the start of the new I'm A Celeb

Earlier in the day, Dec had marked Ant's birthday from the other side of the world, also on their joint social media pages. The TV star had shared a never-before-seen photo of the pair dressed up as Homer and Marge Simpson, and wrote: "Happy Birthday Homer. Love, Marge x." In the picture, Ant was dressed as Homer, complete with a hat with his face on it and a T-shirt with Homer's body on it. Dec, meanwhile, wore a yellow T-shirt with Marge's face on it, completing his outfit with a blue wig. Ant later responded to the message, simply writing: "Doh!!! Thanks kidda. A x."

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Holly and Dec will be kick-starting the new series on Sunday night

It was revealed in September that Holly would be filling in for Ant on this year's I'm A Celebrity while he continues to take time off from presenting. Holly – who is good friends with both Ant and Dec – promised to keep Ant's shoes warm, and has been excitedly sharing photos of her time in Australia so far since landing there last weekend. The TV presenter has taken her three young children out with her, along with tutors and her parents, while Dec's wife Ali Astall has also travelled over there with the couple's baby daughter Isla.

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The full celebrity line-up was revealed last week, with big names including Jamie Redknapp, Rita Simons, Nick Knowles, John Barrowman and Fleur East set to move into the famous I'm A Celebrity camp on Sunday night. Ahead of the show, a new teaser clip was released of Dec and Holly, in which Dec jokes to Holly: "The wait is almost over and the adventure of a lifetime is about to begin for ten familiar faces… sorry 11 familiar faces. You’re in the jungle." She then replies, "I know, how did I get here? Help me!"

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Ant and Dec in 60 seconds

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