Ant McPartlin's drink-drive arrest could put Saturday Night Takeaway live finale in trouble

Ant McPartlin's drink-drive arrest could put Saturday Night Takeaway live finale in trouble

Offshore Technology International -
The US visa rules can be VERY strict if you've been arrested

The finale of Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway could be in jeopardy after Ant McPartlin's arrest on suspicion of drink-driving.

The entertainment duo are supposed to be filming the finale to the fifth season in Universal Orlando Resort in Florida on Saturday April 7, but strict rules around the issuing of visas mean Ant could be prevented from entering the USA

The beloved entertainment duo were scheduled to film the fifth season finale live in, the Mirror reports .

He and Declan Donnelly are due to take 200 fans on a specially chartered Virgin Atlantic flight to Florida, where the lucky competition winners will spend seven days experiencing the marvels of the theme park resort.

SNT's executive producer Pete Ogden recently boasted that this year's season finale would be bigger and better than ever, telling Radio Times : 'We're going to do our biggest audience giveaway ever.

'We are doing our finale from another really exciting place and we’re going to be taking more audience than ever,' he went on.

'It really is [difficult to top last year] but I think we have, if I'm honest. Disneyworld [the location of 2017's series finale] were so incredible and it was a British television first – it was challenging and massive and exciting.'

Pete added: 'There are an army of people behind the scenes that have to go and find the passports, we have to apply for the winners' ESTAs, which is like a mini visa – and some of them only win two or three days before we fly, so there is literally an army of people going, 'Passports, tickets, money!'

But Ant's arrest means he might not even be allowed to join his colleagues as they celebrate wrapping the 2018 series.

Usually British citizens can apply for the Visa Waiver ESTA (electronic system for travel authorisation) in order to travel to the States for business or leisure.

But anyone who has been arrested - even if they weren't charged, or went to court and got acquitted - is advised not to apply for a visa waiver as they may be stopped at the border and sent back to the UK.

Traffic offences are dealt with slightly differently, in that people who commit minor offences that do not result in an arrest or conviction can still travel visa-free under the waiver programme.

After losing control of his Mini and colliding with three cars in Mortlake, south-west London, Ant was arrested at 4pm on Sunday March 18 - 20 days before the series finale is due to air - and taken into police custody for 10 hours of questioning.

He was released in the early hours of Monday morning and was seen arriving back at his west London rental home at 2.40am.

Neither he nor his rep has yet issued a public statement about the crash, which saw a young girl being taken to hospital for a check-up after Ant's Mini collided with her parents' green car.

Ant was breathalysed at the scene of the crash and arrested.

Police confirmed that he has been released under investigation, which means no charges have been filed.

It means this coming Saturday's episode of SNT could be the first one without Ant at the helm if ITV decide to pull him temporarily from the show.

There's been no word yet from the TV channel, whose bosses are believed to be locked in crisis talks this morning over Ant's future.

Lorraine Kelly has said that Ant WILL return to Saturday Night Takeaway following his 'drink-drive' arrest.

The presenter said she'd be 'astounded' if her fellow ITV star wasn't back on the show this weekend, calling him a 'professional'.

As Lorraine discussed the weekend's events on her show this morning, she said: 'I would be astounded [if he wasn't on the show] because he's such a professional.

'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.'

You can write your opinion

  • 19.3.2018 18:56:33 Anita Mills UK

    Surely, its not about whether he is a professional or not, its about whether he should be allowed to be part of the finale. He has just been arrested for drink driving, he has smashed up someone else's car and injured the occupants. One of which was a small child. He is lucky he didn't kill someone. He has been through a lot this past 12 months but maybe he wasn't ready to come back when he did. If he is allowed to brush this under the carpet and carry on as though nothing has happened.. well it doesn't set a very good example to all of his followers. I love Ant and Dec but maybe Dec has to do the finale without Ant. Its just one show.

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