ITV has responded to claims that Holly Willoughby could be replaced on I'm a Celebrity as a co-presenter before the series ends. In a statement to HELLO!, a spokesperson said the reports were "absolute rubbish", adding: "We are very happy with Holly presenting alongside Dec." Holly made her debut on the show on Sunday night, opening the 2018 series with regular presenter Declan Donnelly.
And while there was a mixed reaction to Holly as Ant McPartlin's stand-in, the first episode scored incredible ratings. I'm a Celebrity hit a peak of 11.9 million viewers, making it the show's highest rated launch in the past five years. It was also the biggest overnight rating of 2018 outside of World Cup matches.
Holly is standing in for Ant this year
Before the start of the show, Ant tweeted his support for Holly and Dec, writing: "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."
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Holly also shared her "relief" at making it through the first broadcast with no problems. Joining Scarlett Moffatt, Joel Dommett and Joe Swash on the spin-off show Extra Camp, the This Morning presenter was asked how she was feeling. "Relieved, like massively," said Holly. "It's just so overwhelming this show, you walk in and you're here, like you've watched this on TV, it's been part of my life for years and now I'm here. It's surreal."
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Meanwhile, Dec revealed what it's been like to work with Holly instead of Ant, who has co-presented the series with him for the past 16 years. "It's really nice for me seeing it through someone else's eyes as well, going round everything like 'Oh my God'. I've been here a long time now," Dec said. "The first day we went down and showed Holly the camp and I said, 'This is where we stand' and then I looked round and she wasn't there. She was at the entrance of the camp and just looking up and little tears in her eyes and she said, 'It's beautiful!'"
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