05/04/2019 00:01 BST | Updated 05/04/2019 08:23 BST

Britain's Got Talent Edits Out Ant McPartlin's Emotional Return To Show As Bosses Gloss Over Absence

It will be the first time viewers have seen him on screen in nearly a year.

Britain’s Got Talent is set to gloss over Ant McPartlin’s absence from last year’s series as the show returns on Saturday night.

An early preview of the first episode seen by HuffPost UK has revealed there is no mention of Ant’s recent time out of the spotlight, as he reunites with co-host Declan Donnelly.

It will be the first time viewers have seen the pair on screen together in nearly a year, following Ant’s arrest and subsequent conviction for drink-driving last March.

Ant and Dec are reunited on Saturday's Britain's Got Talent

Despite making an emotional speech to the audience at the London Palladium during the first day of filming at this year’s auditions in January, Ant’s address has been left out of the final edit.

He said at the time he was feeling “really emotional” to return to the show, adding: “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?”

Judge Simon Cowell seemed similarly happy to have Ant back, 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.”

Instead, Ant will be seen simply appearing alongside Dec in an opening montage, in which he promises the new series will be “the most magical yet”.

Ant and Dec with the Britain's Got Talent judges at the first day of auditions in January

The only nod to Ant’s absence, which came after he checked into rehab and stood down from all TV commitments, came as a small child told him after one audition: “I missed you.”

While Ant featured in the audition episodes of last year’s Britain’s Got Talent, Dec went on to present the live shows alone.

He later teamed up with Holly Willoughby to present last year’s I’m A Celebrity, while a new series of Saturday Night Takeaway was pulled in order to give Ant enough time to work on himself.

Britain’s Got Talent returns on Saturday April 6 at 7.15pm on ITV.

Photo gallery Ant and Dec Through The Years See Gallery