The ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’ team will be a couple of members down when it returns later this month, as bosses have announced Little Ant and Dec will be leaving the show.
ITV has confirmed to Digital Spy that Ant and Dec’s (even more) miniature sidekicks will no longer appear on the hit entertainment series after – quite literally – outgrowing the role.
The pair – real names Neil Overend (Ant) and Haydn Reid (Dec) – will be focusing on their education, with Neil moving up to senior school this year, and Haydn about to sit his SATs exams.
Is has also been reported there are no plans to replace them.
HuffPost UK has contacted an ITV spokesperson for additional comment and is awaiting a response.
Neil and Haydn were the second iteration of Little Ant and Dec, with James Pallister and Dylan McKenna-Redshaw being the original miniature Geordie duo from 2003 to 2007.
James and Dylan returned to the show as adults in 2013, when they helped launch the hunt to help Ant and Dec find replacements in an ‘Apprentice’ style sketch.
While Little Ant and Dec will not be returning, both Scarlett Moffatt and Stephen Mulhern are expected back on the show when its 15th series kicks off on 24 February.
It will also mark Ant’s first series since checking himself into rehab last year for an addiction to painkillers, which was a result of a botched knee operation.
While he has since made a full recovery, the presenter has suffered heartbreak in recent months, after announcing he is to divorce wife of 11 years, Lisa Armstrong.
Ant’s rep recently slammed speculation he had subsequently begun a relationship with former Scarlett Moffatt, calling the rumours “bullshit”.