Holly Willoughby has been named ITV’s “number one choice” to replace Ant McPartlin on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! this autumn – and the show’s fans really aren’t happy about it.
Ant, who has presented the show with Declan Donnelly for the past 15 years, is currently in rehab being treated for depression and addiction issues, having become addicted to the prescription painkiller Tramadol following a long-term knee injury.
ITV bosses have reportedly offered Ant the chance to take a 12 month sabbatical once he completes his treatment. However, this leaves them with a dilemma – should Dec present I’m A Celeb alone, or be joined by a stand-in?
According to an ITV insider, Holly Willoughby is being lined up as Ant’s replacement. “She’s the nation’s favourite and already a huge fan of the show,” the insider told the Star on Sunday. “Building on-screen chemistry and relationships is what Holly does best, which is perfect for the jungle.”
Fans of the show took to their keyboards to vent their frustration at ITV’s apparent lack of imagination, with Entertainment Daily reader Valerie Williamson groaning, “Bloody ‘ell at least get someone new, sick to death of TV at the mo, it’s all the same old crowd, who let’s face it have made a bunch of dosh, let some new ‘talent’ have a go”.
“Nooooooo please not Holly she seems to be on everything sick of seeing her,” one viewer exclaimed.
Love Island presenter Caroline Flack, comic Leigh Francis, former I’m A Celeb winner Scarlett Moffatt and Take Me Out: The Gossip presenter Mark Wright are also reportedly in the frame.
However, the show’s fans have someone else in mind – Catchphrase and Britain’s Got More Talent presenter Stephen Mulhern, who has worked with the Geordie presenting duo on shows like Britain’s Got Talent and Saturday Night Takeaway for years.
“Stephen Mulhern is the perfect stand in if there has to be one,” one fan declared. “Stephen Mulhern would have been great,” another agreed. “They all get on so well and are so funny together… my opinion of course… but sounds like a no brainer to me.”
Holly’s reps have dismissed claims that Holly is set to join the show as “total nonsense”. We must admit we’re a little bit relieved – after all, who would replace her on the This Morning sofa? But with Ant’s spot in the jungle still vacant, it looks like the agonising wait to see who will step into his shoes is far from over…