I’m A Celebrity 2017 returned tonight for a brand new series of testicle munching, spider avoiding and snake handling.
But aside from the various critters that call the Australian Outback home was one large elephant in the room: that of presenter Ant McPartlin’s drug addiction.
The Geordie was reunited on screen with his presenting pal Declan Donnelly for the first time since Ant was admitted to rehab to battle his drink and drug addition.
And the friends made two awkward references to his time away as they slid back into normality.
At the start of the show, Ant joked that it was “good to be back”.
The pair referenced Ant’s prescription drug addiction and knee problems as they kicked off the show and poked fun at reports he could be replaced by Holly Willoughby.
Dec said: “Welcome to Australia we are back and we are here for the next three weeks, your hosts with the most, me and the gorgeous Holly Willoughby.”
Ant replied: “What? Sorry, what?”
And Dec added: “Guys, that is the wrong script. You have put the wrong script on the screen.
“Nobody was sure if you would make it or not. We didn’t know if you would be here,” he told Ant.
Ant then said: “Unbelievable. I was always gonna make it. Come on, I’m back my friend.”
The pair then hugged and Ant said: “It is good to be back, you’re still a nice cuddler, ain’t you?”
The pair then resumed with their usual gags, joking that Boris Johnson would be watching his dad Stanley Johnson on the show.
Dec said: “Do you think he is watching? I bet he is watching. Evening, the bloke who wants to be Prime Minister.”
Earlier on ITV in an advert shortly before the series started, Ant said on the voiceover: “I’m ready for I’m A Celebrity…are you?”
Later in the show there was another gag aimed at Ant’s troubles.
The pair were talking about a small model of the camp on their desk which Ant said was rubbish.
Dec joked: “That took me all summer to make that. On my own.
“Where were you all Summer? What were you doing?” he demanded to know.
Looking sheepish, Ant said: “Just stuff. I was busy. Roll VT.”
Fans reacted positively to the pair returning to the screen for the first time since the Britain’s Got Talent final on June 3.
On Twitter, Love Island winner Amber Davies said: “Oh I’ve missed you Ant and Dec.”
Her boyfriend Kem Cetinay added: “Ant and Dec are just the guys.”
This content was originally published here.