On Friday, Ant was reunited with his usual co-host Declan Donnelly, after a long period out of the spotlight, following his arrest and subsequent conviction for drink-driving last March.
Welcoming his co-presenter back, Dec told the crowds at London Palladium: “We’ve got the judges back, the golden buzzer is back, and someone else is back. My co-host for the series, would you please welcome... Mr Ant McPartlin.”
Revealing he was feeling “really emotional”, Ant said: “I’ve missed you all. As for you [Dec], I’ve missed you. Thank you very much, what a warm welcome.
“What a great show to come back to, I’m thrilled, I’m over the moon. Shall we move on before I cry?”
Simon Cowell seemed similarly happy to have Ant back on the ‘BGT’ team, telling him: “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.”
‘BGT’ judge David Walliams also shared his joy at welcoming Ant back, with a picture of himself and the presenting duo:
Before arriving at the London Palladium, Ant and Dec marked the occasion by tweeting a photo of themselves on their official Twitter account, along with the caption: “The boys are back in town!”
Their reunion marked Ant’s first day back at work since he stepped down from all TV commitments after his arrest for drink-driving to re-enter rehab and focus on his recovery.
While on his hiatus, Ant was forced to miss the final two episodes in the most recent series of ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’, which Declan Donnelly subsequently presented alone.
Ant was last seen on-screen in May during the pre-recorded audition episodes of last year’s ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, with Dec also going on to host the live shows solo.
Ant was fined £86,000 and banned from driving for 20 months after pleading guilty to the drink-driving charge in court last April.
During the hearing, the court also heard how Ant was receiving treatment for “alcohol and emotional issues” at the time of the crash.
He was twice over the legal limit when he was involved in a collision with two other cars in Richmond, South West London on 18 March. One car was carrying a four-year-old girl who needed hospital treatment.
After the hearing, Ant told reporters outside court he is “truly sorry for what happened”.
“Higher standards are expected of me. I let myself down, I let a lot of people down, for that I’m truly sorry,” he said.
“I’d like to apologise to everyone involved in the crash and I’m just thankful no one was seriously hurt.”