HE was hotly tipped to step in for Ant McPartlin on I’m A Celebrity last year – but Stephen Mulhern admits he could never have carried the baton for his friend.
In an exclusive interview at our Bizarre HQ, the Britain’s Got More Talent presenter says show bosses simply “couldn’t have gone with another guy”.
Stephen was joint favourite with Ant’s eventual stand-in Holly Willoughby to co-host the ITV show with Declan Donnely.
But he says of her appointment: “It was the best possible choice, you couldn’t have gone with another guy.
“It had to be a female host and Holly was perfect. Holly and Dec worked a treat.
Stephen presents segments on Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and his role was stepped up when Ant pulled out of the last series’ final two episodes when he went into rehab last year.
Ant’s stand-in Holly Willoughby with Dec on I’m A Celebrity[/caption]
Stephen says: “When we were in Florida for Takeaway last year there was talk about me doing a lot more stuff on the show.
“But you can’t replace Ant. I’m not going to step into a friend’s shoes. I couldn’t do as well as him and I’m just pleased he’s back.”
But Ant and Dec have also helped Stephen create his own Saturday Night Takeaway spin-off gameshow In For A Penny, which launches on ITV this Saturday at 7.30pm.
He jokes: “Ant came up with the idea, they are my bosses — that really annoys me. The fact is, I have to answer to them.
The Britain’s Got More Talent presenter at our Bizarre HQ[/caption]
Stephen says ITV could never have replaced Ant with another male presenter[/caption]
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But when we made the series, Ant phoned me and said: ‘Listen, we’ve both watched it and this could be the best thing on TV.’”
It’s a bold claim but, having seen the first episode, I’d say Ant and Dec aren’t far off.
Eric spills all on Simon
STEPHEN’s used to juicy backstage gossip from the judges on Britain’s Got More Talent but it seems Simon Cowell’s son Eric is the one to watch.
In deleted scenes from the ITV2 spin-off, the five-year-old tells all about his dad’s strange sleeping habits.
Stephen revealed Eric told him “Daddy only gets up in the afternoon”.
And the presenter added: “Simon said ‘You’re going to get the truth out of him’.”
Stephen's set on America
STEPHEN has his sights set on America after the success in the States of Gavin And Stacey star James Corden.
He said: “I would love In For A Penny to hit America. And it works. We did In For A Cent, In For A Grand on Saturday Night Takeaway.”
Stephen will need to be a bit more careful where he stands though . . . a recent blunder during filming left the word “cent” appearing like a much ruder word.
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