Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield reported on their friend Ant McPartlin’s drink drive arrest on Tuesday, a full 24-hours after the incident made national headlines.
Following a backlash for deliberately ignoring the story on Monday’s This Morning, the hosting duo admitted that they ‘found it hard’ to address the news.
Holly and Phil, who are well-known personal friends of the ITV star, said they felt ‘shocked and saddened’ after it was revealed that the 42-year-old had decided to go back to rehab and take some time off from his presenting work.
Shocked: Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield finally addressed the news about Ant McPartlin on Tuesday morning, a full 24 hours late (pictured)
While Holly read out an official statement from ITV at the top of the show, Phil said: ‘This is difficult for us, we’re talking about a friend here. Like many people we are shocked and saddened by Sunday’s incident involving Ant.’
He went on to say: ‘Ant has now gone back into treatment, he’s clearly struggling; he loves Dec [Donnelly], he loves his career, he loves the shows that they make together and he loves their fans.’
Phillip added: ‘The overwhelming feeling has to be that no-matter who you are, if you get in the car and you’ve had a drink the responsibility is yours.’
Holly concluded: ‘We can’t say much more because the matter is still being investigated by the police.
‘But we want to wish those shaken and upset by the collision a quick recovery and personally for Ant we hope he gets some time and space to return to full health.’
Double standards: Holly and Phil are long-term friends of TV presenter Ant
Health: Ant (here with his co-presenter Declan Donnelly, right) have decided to take Saturday Night Takeaway off the air this weekend on ITV, while Ant returns to a treatment facility following his arrest on suspicion of drink driving on Sunday
This Morning viewers blasted show bosses and the hosts for ignoring Ant’s arrest on on Monday.
Fans of the weekday stalwart accused the presenters of choosing to ignore his headline-making accident, which happened overnight, despite their ITV colleague Lorraine Kelly speaking favourably about him earlier in the morning.
Ant collided with two other cars after taking his dog for a walk in Richmond Park, south westLondon, just before 4pm on Sunday and had been arrested by police investigating the crash.
As a result of the incident, his popular weekend show Saturday Night Takeaway – on which he stars with Declan Donnelly – will not broadcast this coming weekend, while a decision has yet to be taken about the remaining episodes in the series.
Firm friends: This Morning’s hosts have a long-standing friendship with comedy double act Ant & Dec (pictured here in May 2017)
History: Ant and Dec (right) have also regularly been invited onto This Morning as guests (here in 2011)
Trouble: Fans of the show accused the presenters, who are pals of 42-year-old Ant, of choosing to ignore his headline-making accident on Monday (Pictured with BGT judges Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden, Simon Cowell, David Williams and co-host Declan Donnelly)
A representative for Ant and Dec told MailOnline: ‘Ant has decided to go back into treatment and step down from his current TV commitments.
‘He has spoken with Dec and ITV today and asked for time off for the foreseeable future. As such Saturday Night Takeaway will not be going ahead this Saturday.’
An ITV spokesman confirmed: ‘ITV has taken a joint decision with Ant and Dec’s team not to broadcast Saturday Night Takeaway this weekend.
‘We will be reviewing options for the last two episodes of the series (March 31 and April 7) which would not feature Ant who is taking time off to seek treatment. We very much hope that he gets the help that he needs.’
‘Saddened’: Holly and Phil made the decision to wait until the story developed further
Hitting out: This Morning viewers have blasted show bosses as well as hosts on Monday (pictured) for ignoring Ant’s arrest on suspicion of drink-driving
Viewers were very quick to acknowledge Holly and Phil’s sincere well-wishings to their friend with a mixed response.
‘Finally ITV realise they can’t ignore it much longer,’ one viewer said, while others tried to explain why the duo might have ignored it previously.
‘I’m glad Holly and Phil acknowledged what happened with Ant,’ said one fan. ‘Maybe they were waiting today to have the right information first that was probably why they didn’t talk about it yesterday.’
With high praise one fan commented: ‘Lovely words. It must have been hard speaking about them but it was the right thing to do! Get better soon, Ant!!’
Sad faces: Viewers were quick to criticise the duo for their ‘sad faces’ as if ‘someone had died’
Warranted? While others felt like the matter was treated very sensitively
Though others called the act ‘damage control’ after some many viewers noticed their dismissal on Monday.
One said: ‘I would respect them if they just said, Ant is our friend and we are not speaking on it. If not give the same energy you give to all stories like this.’
Though there was fair criticism too, with one fan writing: ‘So the other day they were slamming Jamie Carragher for spitting out of his car window.
‘Yes the incident was disgraceful but nothing in comparison to what Any did and they’re so sympathetic and sad faces today with their brief mention of the accident.’
Grievance: Viewers were quick to praise, and chastise, the presenting duo for the way that they reported on the incident
The troubled presenter, who has had a difficult year with an addiction to painkillers and the breakdown of his marriage, spent 10 hours in police custody and was released ‘under investigation’, returning to his Chiswick home shortly before 3am.
Initially, in the wake of the investigation, angered fans of This Morning took to Twitter to slam Holly and Phil, who share the same management company as Ant, as well as show bosses for not mentioning the arrest, despite it being acknowledged on Good Morning Britain and Lorraine.
Some viewers questioned why the mid-morning stalwart would discuss Jamie Carragher being suspended from Sky after being filmed spitting at a 14-year-old girl but not mention Ant’s name.
A fan wrote: ‘Still no comment on Ant McPartlin’s drink driving?! If it was any other non ITV celebrity it would of been breaking news and probably a call segment added to the program too about alcohol/mental health- double standards right?!’
Anger: In the wake of the investigation, angered fans of This Morning took to Twitter to slam Holly and Phil, who share the same management company as Ant, as well as show bosses for not mentioning the arrest, despite it being acknowledged on Good Morning Britain and Lorraine
Discussion: Some viewers questioned why the mid-morning stalwart would discuss Jamie Carragher being suspended from Sky after being filmed spitting at a 14-year-old girl but not mention Ant’s name
Another shared: ‘Last week, This Morning ran a poll on Jamie Carragher & whether he should be sacked from his job at Sky. I look forward to seeing what Holly & Phil (both same agents as Ant) do regarding Ant McPartlin.
‘Oh, that’s right! No mention. Because spitting at a car is way worse than DUI.’
A disappointed viewer wrote: ‘@thismorning will you be posting a similar poll to last weeks ‘Should Jamie Carragher lose his job after his spitting’ about Ant McPartlin drink drive incident in which a car with a 3 year old in it was hit?’
A furious user shared: ‘Good morning Britain did report on ANT MCPARTLINS CAR CRASH why are this morning not mentioning it?’
Weighing in: Viewers took to social media to discuss
While the pair didn’t weigh in on the reports, they opened the show discussing how the ‘Beast from the East’ has forced some schools to close, ignoring the biggest showbiz story of the day.
The radio silence on the matter, which is being investigated, Lorraine Kelly showed her support for friend Ant and insisted that he would be back on this weekend’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
She said: ‘He will be there on Saturday night though, a lot of people are speculating that he won’t be there for Saturday Night Takeaway. He will.
‘I would be astounded [if he wasn’t on the show] because he’s such a professional.’
Talk: While the pair didn’t weigh in on the reports, it was obvious that the news had been skipped
Support: The radio silence on the matter, which is being investigated, Lorraine Kelly showed her support for friend Ant and insisted that he would be back on this weekend’s Saturday Night Takeaway
While the Geordie star’s arrest was also discussed on Good Morning Britain with footage of him arriving back to his West London home was shown.
Although Lorraine had hoped Ant would be returning to his hosting duties this week, the presenter – who underwent treatment for prescription drug and alcohol addiction last summer – has checked into a treatment facility following his arrest on suspicion of drink driving on Sunday.
Ant – who split from wife Lisa Armstrong earlier this year after 11 years of marriage – was arrested at 4pm on Sunday after allegedly hitting two cars in his black Mini sports car while driving with his mother in Richmond, south west London.
One onlooker, Jake Spencer, said the Britain’s Got Talent star was argumentative towards cops when they tried to put him in a police car after he failed a breath test.
Treatment: And as a result, his popular Saturday evening show Saturday Night Takeaway will not broadcast this coming weekend, while a decision has yet to be taken about the remaining episodes in the series
He told The Sun newspaper: ‘Ant looked in a right state and was acting argumentatively toward a policewoman. I couldn’t believe it when I saw who it was.
‘The woman was trying to arrest him and get him in the police car but he clearly wasn’t having it. He was not making it easy for her and he seemed to be trying to wriggle out of her clutches. He was not in a good way.
‘Eventually she got him in the police car. There were about six or seven police cars in total.’
It is thought Ant veered into the wrong lane after coming round a sharp bend, hitting a green Mini before crashing into a BMW X5. A three-year-old girl was taken to hospital to be checked over as a precautionary measure.
Focus: Ant – who split from wife Lisa Armstrong earlier this year after 11 years of marriage – was arrested at 4pm on Sunday after allegedly hitting two cars in his black Mini sports car while driving with his mother in Richmond, south west London