The TV star is back to work after almost a year off…
The loveable TV presenter received a standing ovation from the audience on Friday at the London Palladium, confessing to the crowd that he was feeling ‘really really emotional’.
But fans were thrilled to see Ant back where he belongs, and reunited with his BFF and TV sidekick Dec, who appeared delighted as he introduced Ant to the eagerly waiting crowd.
‘We’ve got a bunch of acts backstage who are eager to get out here and perform for you,’ Dec said.
‘The judges are back, the buzzers are back… and someone else is back.
‘My co-host for this series, would you please welcome – Mr Ant McPartlin!’
Clearly moved by his introduction and the warm reception from the crowd, Ant said: ‘Oh god, I’m really, really emotional now. I’ve missed you all’.
Hugging Dec, he said to his best pal: ‘As for you! I’ve missed you.’
Continuing, he added: ‘What a lovely welcome. What a great show to come back to. I’m thrilled; I’m over the moon.
‘Shall we crack on before I cry?’
His boss and BGT judge, Simon Cowell, even offered up some sweet words.
Simon said: ‘Ant welcome back. We missed you; it wasn’t the same. I mean even though Dec was brilliant, it still wasn’t the same.
‘It would be like me not being with David, I would be happy, but not happy – if that makes sense. So on behalf of all of us, welcome back, we’re family’.
Ant has been missing from our TV screens since March 2018 after he decided to take a break from his work commitments to focus on his health.
The Geordie favourite was convicted of drink-driving following a three-car collision, later checking into rehab.
Earlier on Friday, Ant and Dec shared their first selfie in a while as they posed in the back of a car on their way to the BGT auditions.
Sharing the snap to their 2.8 million followers on Instagram, the duo can be seen grinning from ear-to-ear.
‘#BGT 2019. Audition day 1. The boys are back in town!’ they captioned the photo.
Good to have you back, Ant.