Popular British television host Ant McPartlin pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of drunk driving in connection with a three-car crash in London last month that left several people injured. The presenter was fined £86,000 ($123,200) and banned from driving for 20 months, the BBC reported.
“I am truly sorry for what happened,” McPartlin, 41, said on the steps of Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court. “Higher standards are expected of me. I expect them of myself. I let myself down; I let a lot of people down. For that I’m truly sorry. I’d like to apologize to everybody involved in the crash, and I’m just thankful nobody was seriously hurt.”
McPartlin, who is half of presenting duo Ant and Dec for U.K. broadcaster ITV, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving March 18 after a collision in the London neighborhood of Richmond. Several people had to be treated for minor injuries, and a child was sent to the hospital for examination.
McPartlin, 41, was reported to have failed a police breathalyzer test, with the court being told Monday that his blood-alcohol level was more than double the legal limit. One of the other drivers involved in the accident told the court that he and his wife “could have died” because of McPartlin’s reckless driving, the BBC said. In a letter read out in court, McPartlin accepted “full responsibility” for his part in the collision, saying he was “ashamed and mortified.”
After canceling an episode of “Saturday Night Takeaway” following McPartlin’s arrest, ITV resumed the series for its final two installments – including a finale filmed at Universal Orlando in Florida – with McPartlin’s co-host, Declan Donnelly, presenting solo for the first time. The broadcaster also announced that it was putting on hold a one-off feature-length genealogy documentary, “Ant and Dec’s DNA Journey,” which saw the pair use DNA to trace their family histories. The show was in production, but filming was incomplete when the announcement was made March 29.
McPartlin and Donnelly are among the best-known presenters on British TV, fronting primetime entertainment formats for ITV such as “Saturday Night Takeaway,” “Britain’s Got Talent” and “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!” The pair have worked together since first appearing in acting roles in 1990s British youth series “Byker Grove.” They have won numerous awards in their long careers, including three BAFTA Television Awards and 15 National Television Awards.
McPartlin underwent rehab last summer for addiction to painkillers and reportedly returned to rehab earlier this month for prescription-drug and alcohol problems.