As troubled Geordie star Ant Mc Partlin is in rehab currently seeking help with his much-discussed mental health and addiction problems, ITV has announced today that all of his remaining television commitments for 2018 will be met by another North East star, ex-footballer Alan Shearer.

This sets up the mouthwatering prospect of viewers being treated to the debut of Al ‘n’ Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, as the former Newcastle and England striker will co-front the popular programme this weekend.

McPartlin’s showbiz partner, Dec Donelly, although very concerned for the welfare of his longtime sidekick, is said to be excited by working with one of his heroes.

Talking to Piers Morgan on GMB he said: ‘We’re all deeply worried about our marra Ant, but he’d be the first to say ‘The show must go on’ and we’re all very excited to have a legend like Alan stepping in at such short notice.’

However critics aren’t so sure that the idea will work. Online media Journalist Will Gomez says: ‘The thing about Ant is that he’s a really vibrant bright and breezy, ‘up’ sort of guy, whereas if you look up the word glum in the dictionary there’s a picture of Alan Shearer. I just don’t see the chemistry working at all.’

And Shearer’s regular TV partner on Match of the Day, Gary Lineker, agrees. ‘Look, Alan’s a great guy but I think to pair him up as Dec’s new partner will be a real car crash.