It’s been a tradition for the last 15 years: Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly heading to Australia for the best part of six weeks so they can joke, giggle and banter about a bunch of shrieking celebs who are terrified of spiders, snakes, crocodiles and starvation.
But this year’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! could look very different, as Ant and Dec are in line to be replaced by fresh talent.
According to the Daily Star On Sunday, ITV bosses are considering the impossible by scrapping the popular duo and getting in some other presenters to freshen up the format.
It would mark a huge change in the show as the Geordie pair have fronted I’m A Celeb since its very first series in 2002, and their faces are just as familiar to audiences as witchetty grubs and kangaroo anuses.
But with Ant taking time away from the screen to recover from his drinking problem, it’s believed show chiefs aren’t wholly sure about letting Dec present by himself.
“There’s a very real possibility that Ant won’t be available to present the next series of the jungle,” an insider told the newspaper.
“Production staff who work on the show were worried that meant it may not go ahead and they’d be out of a job. A lot of crew members were in tears.”
It’s reported that higher-ups have told everyone involved in the show that it will go ahead no matter what.
“While Ant and Dec are a big part of the show, they aren’t bigger than the show. They are confident it would still work without them,” the source continued.
“If their return is going to be a problem, producers aren’t afraid to axe them from the format and get new presenters in.”
Despite their popularity with the public, bosses are thought to not want just one of the two presenting a show alone – “they would rather have neither”, the Star’s source added.
Ant and Dec’s spokesman refused to comment when approached by Mirror Online.
As it happens, this could work out well for both Ant and Dec.
As reported last night, Dec is said to be expecting his first child with wife Ali Astall , who is thought to have just passed the 12-week mark in her pregnancy.
Ali, 40, is reported to have fallen pregnant shortly after Dec’s return from the jungle in December 2017, meaning she’ll be due in September – two months before her husband would normally be packing his cases to head back Down Under.
If the announcement is true – Dec, Ali and their people are yet to confirm the happy news – the new dad could be happier at home getting to know his little arrival rather than working nearly 10,000 miles away from his family.
Ant, meanwhile, has cancelled all his upcoming work commitments and privately those close to him are wondering whether he’ll be in full health by the time I’m A Celebrity rolls around.
It’s expected that he won’t be part of the presenting team when Britain’s Got Talent returns to screens this spring, and ITV has already decided he won’t be working on the final two episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway – instead, Dec will present alone.
So who could replace the beloved two for I’m A Celebrity?
Former Queen of the Jungle Scarlett Moffatt has already won over fans with her work on SNT, while ITV stalwarts Holly Willoughby and Dermot O’Leary will presumably be top of any list the TV channel writes.