This is why Dec Donnelly chose Holly Willoughby to replace Ant McPartlin on I'm A Celebrity

12 November 2018, 11:27 | Updated: 12 November 2018, 11:41

Holly Willoughby will co-host I'm A Celeb
Holly Willoughby will co-host I'm A Celeb. Picture: ITV

Dec confirmed that the presenting switch-up is just for one series, and promised fans that Ant will return next year.

Declan Donnelly has revealed why he chose Holly Willoughby to be his co-host for I'm A Celebrity... because she's a woman,

In an exclusive chat with The Sun, Dec confessed that he didn't want "another guy" stepping in to troubled co-host Ant McPartlin's shoes - presumably to prevent hurtful comparisons between him and the newbie and his telly partner of 20 years.

Touching down in Australia ahead of this weekend's series launch, the Geordie presenter thrilled fans by confirming Ant will definitely return.

Ant and Dec will reunite next year
Ant and Dec will reunite next year. Picture: Getty

Dec told The Sun: "It is obviously tinged with sadness that Ant won't be coming this year, I'm going to really miss him, but it's only for one series and he'll be back stronger next year.

Read more: Gino D'Acampo reveals the one thing he misses about the I'm A Celeb jungle

Dec added: "I didn't want to host this series with another guy so Holly was top of my list."

Fans got the first look at the new presenting line-up through a social media post on Ant and Dec's official Instagram.

Dec, 43, captioned the snap: "Ant's looking well don't you think!? I'm joking of course, Holly and I are looking forward to welcoming you to Australia next Sunday Night."

Read more: Lisa Armstrong 'to tell all about Ant McPartlin divorce' in tell-all TV interview

Dec Donnelly has advised Holly to 'toughen up' ahead of her time in the jungle
Dec Donnelly has advised Holly to 'toughen up' ahead of her time in the jungle. Picture: Getty

Dec also told The Sun how he had to advise Holly to "toughen up" ahead of entering the Australian jungle.

He revealed: "I had heard Holly was a bit scared and then saw her doing a Bushtucker Trial on her last day on This Morning which involved a toy spider and some kittens and she nearly cried doing that.

"She needs to toughen up fast."