Ant McPartlin announced plans to take an ‘extended break’ from TV following his drink drive conviction in March.
His best friend and showbiz partner Declan Donnelly bravely fronted the remainder of Saturday Night Takeaway alone, and has now headed out to presented I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here without Ant for the first time in the show’s history.
But before setting off for Australia, they were spotted looking tense as they left a meeting at their management’s office, reportedly on the topic of Ant’s TV comeback.
Both brought their partners along for support, with Dec accompanied by wife Ali Astall and their newborn daughter Isla, and Ant with his new girlfriend and former PA, Anne-Marie Corbett.
“Ant’s wellbeing is at the forefront of everyone’s minds and he’s in a great place,” a source told The Sun of the star, who was earlier this week ‘told off’ by the courts for not attending a hearing about his divorce from Lisa Armstrong.
“But now they are trying to work out how his comeback will plan out and how everything will work,” the insider added.
But body language expert Judi James believes the pictures of the ‘grim-faced’ pair tell a different story, suggesting that something is simmering between the once inseparable duo…
“We’re so used to seeing Ant and Dec grinning together like schoolboys that they appear almost unrecognisable in these grim-faced photos as they emerge from what have been described as crisis talks over their future together.
“The fact they took their partners should have implied a bit of a friendly family atmosphere and a desire to restore all those old industrial-strength bonds but there’s no sign from any of their body language that the meeting was anything other than difficult.
“Dec’s body language signals hint at silent anger, frustration or anxiety.
“His features are contorted into a frown with deep lines etched at the sides of his mouth which is partially open with what look like clenched teeth and a slight lower jaw jut hinting at displeasure.
“Even his hands fall into an awkward, truncated-looking gesture that suggests confused thoughts.
“At one point they seem to be positioned at the front of his legs, touching his sides to suggest a need for a barrier or a self-comfort touch.
“Eventually he stuffs them into his pockets and by then his lips are sucked in to form a gesture normally associated with regret or suppressed emotions.
“His eyes are down in a cut-off gesture as though keen to avoid showing his emotions to the cameras.
“Ant looks equally miserable here but his facial expression and body positioning hints at something a bit more hang-dog or contrite.
“His head is down but his brows are raised and his eyelids droop slightly, while his lips are closed in what looks like an expression of regret.
“When he walks he seems to try for a breezy march with this arm out but there’s no sign of upbeat confidence in his facial expression.
“His partner Anne-Marie emerges looking very grim-faced here, frowning with her lips clamped together and the way both her hands are balled into fists suggest suppressed tension.
“Ali gazes into the pram but even she is looks unsmiling and downcast.”