28/05/2018 20:57 BST | Updated 29/05/2018 10:35 BST

'Britain's Got Talent': Declan Donnelly Jokes About Ant McPartlin's Absence As He Kicks Off Live Shows Alone

Ant is currently taking time out of the spotlight following his conviction for drink-driving.

Declan Donnelly dealt with the absence of co-host Ant McPartlin like a pro as the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ live shows kicked off on Monday night. 

The presenter tackled the elephant in the room head-on with a quip about having to host solo, following Ant’s conviction for drink-driving earlier this year. 

Dec made a quip about Ant's absence as he hosted the first 'BGT' live show alone

Having arrived on stage from the ceiling during an impressive opening number choreographed by dance troupe Diversity, Dec referenced Ant while talking about the show’s move to the Hammersmith Apollo. 

“We may have a new home, but rest assured nothing else has changed,” he said. 

“The talent is as good as ever, the judges are exactly the same, and the presenters... well, probably best not to dwell on that. Let’s just get on with the show, shall we?”

However, that was a case of famous last words though, as just moments later, the show fell off air for over 10 minutes due to storms in west London. 

Dec opened the show from the ceiling during a routine inspired by 'The Greatest Showman'

As it finally returned, Simon Cowell joked that Ant may have been responsible. 

“Ant, you are coming back next year, you didn’t have to do that!” he laughed. 

PA Wire/PA Images
Ant was convicted of drink-driving back in March

Dec has been forced to present the rest of this year’s ‘BGT’ alone following Ant’s decision to step down from all TV commitments after his arrest in March.   

Taking to Instagram before the show, Dec revealed he had brought along his pet dog to keep him company in Ant’s absence. 

While it is the first time Dec has hosted ‘BGT’ by himself, earlier this year he hosted two episodes of ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’ alone, following Ant’s arrest. 

He was met with widespread praise from fans, but only made a passing reference to his co-host’s recent troubles.  

While Ant returned to rehab following his arrest, it is believed he has since completed treatment, as he and Dec were pictured in the gardens of a hotel together earlier this month

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