Declan Donnelly preparing to present Britain’s Got Talent semi finals without Ant McPartlin for the first time ever

Tonight marks the night the BGT semi finals kick off, and they mark the first ever presented by a solo Dec.

Declan Donnelly will be taking to the live stage alone this week, as pal Ant McPartlin continues his recovery following his drink driving arrest.

He absolutely smashed it when he presented alone, so he has little to worry about.

The TV duo appeared together in the audition episodes as they were recorded before Ant stepped back from his presenting commitments following his charge and subsequent stint in rehab.

He was banned from the road for 20 months and fined £86,000 after pleading guilty to driving while more than twice the legal limit.

So tonight, for the first time in the show’s eleven-year history, Dec will step out on the stage on his own.

Britain’s Got Talent bosses confirmed he would be absent for the live shows before the series started, saying: ‘We send Ant all our love… and we know that Dec will do a brilliant job.’

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Ant, 42, also missed the final two episodes of his and Donnelly’s Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.

The duo have fronted BGT since its inception in 2007 and have a golden buzzer option on the show which allows them to send an act directly to the competition’s live semi-final.

The semi-finals will take place at the Hammersmith Apollo throughout next week before Sunday night’s grand final.

Dec recently opened up about how criticisms of his solo presenting have hurt him.

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He told The Sun: ‘You can’t do anything about live stuff once it’s done.

‘At times the criticism stings, but not often. Usually it’s a case of “Look at you with your 11 [Twitter] followers. You’re brave.”‘

He added that he hadn’t in a million years ever thought he’d be presenting alone.

Dec told the publication: ‘A couple of years ago our management said, “Have you considered key man insurance? Because if something were to happen to the other one, your income would probably stop. You’re not going to work on your own.”

‘We were like “What do you mean, not going to work on our own?!” Then someone went, “No, no… or it’s just for some money to come in while you decide what to do.” We preferred that version!’

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