Simon Cowell on Ant McPartlin: It's the happiest I've seen him in a long time
Simon Cowell has said Ant McPartlin is the “happiest I’ve seen him for a long time” ahead of the presenter’s return to Britain’s Got Talent.
McPartlin stepped down from TV commitments last year following a drink-driving conviction, returning to work in January alongside his long-term presenting partner, Declan Donnelly, to film the show.
He will make his official return to screens in the first episode of the series on Saturday.
McPartlin, 43, took part in the pre-recorded part of last year’s series of Britain’s Got Talent, but Donnelly hosted the live shows alone.
Head judge Cowell said McPartlin’s absence now feels like a distant memory.
He told ITV’s Lorraine: “It’s like it never happened, that’s when you know it’s comfortable because it’s just like we are all back together again, we are all friends.
“These things happen. I really did miss him … it’s the happiest I’ve seen him for a long, long time.”
McPartlin was fined a record £86,000 and banned from driving for 20 months after he crashed his car in March last year while more than twice the alcohol limit.
As well as Britain’s Got Talent, McPartlin was absent from the final two episodes of his and Donnelly’s Saturday Night Takeaway, and I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!, which saw him replaced by Holly Willoughby.
Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams has said this year’s series sees him cry for the first time, along with the other judges and the audience.
Walliams said: “I was sobbing. I don’t think I’ve sobbed on this show before, ever. It takes a lot to make me cry.
“But there was just an act which was just so beautiful, so life-affirming, so joyous. It was one of those strange things where it’s like happy tears, but you are absolutely sobbing.”
McPartlin, Donnelly, Cowell and Walliams return to Britain’s Got Talent along with judges Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden on Saturday April 6 at 7.15pm on ITV.