Ant's absence acknowledged as Dec praised for first solo Saturday Night Takeaway

Ant Mc Partlin and Dec Donnelly

Ant Mc Partlin and Dec Donnelly

Taking to Twitter, Dec wrote: 'Thanks for all your lovely messages tonight, they are VERY much appreciated, I'm glad you enjoyed the show.

Tonight's show is the first to air since Ant checked into rehab, following his arrest for drink driving last Wednesday.

But he will feature in the episode as part of the duo's pre-recorded Saturday Knight Takeaway sketch after it was decided they should be broadcast.

TV presenter Declan Donnelly joked that he had "twice the amount of work" as he fronted Saturday Night Takeaway without sidekick Ant McPartlin for the first time.

Show regulars Scarlett Moffatt and Stephen Mulhern will also take on greater presenting roles.

Declan Donnelly - revealed on Twitter that he had been rehearsing solo.

McPartlin will appear in court on April 4.

Dec Donnelly
ITVSaturday Night Takeaway Dec Donnelly opened the ITV show alone

An earlier photo showed the studio being prepared for tonight's show, along with the caption: "It's a studio day today, which means we're back on your telly tonight!" Finally, the show's producers may opt to avoid mentioning Ant's absence entirely.

Ant became convinced his co-presenter Dec was a mole after talking to Joanna Lumley, who also featured in the series, and gave Dec an almighty telling off.

An insider from the show has revealed to The Sun that explaining the 42-year-old's absence has been the most hard aspect of planning for this week's show.

"Takeaway is all about having fun and they fear a sombre start may seriously effect the quality of the output".

Fans twetted: "It's Davina and Decs #saturdaynighttakeaway by the look of things!'; '@antanddec @ThisisDavina Dec and Davina I'm in tears"; "Ah yes, I love that show called Davina and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway"; '#SaturdayNightTakeaway so its Dec and Davina (oh Ant)'. "But Dec is professional and is determined to do a good job".

It refers to a competition that has been running throughout the series, which has given viewers a chance to win tickets to the show's finale at the Universal resort in Orlando.

Opening the show this evening, Dec addressed Ant's absence from the show as he joked with guest announcer Stephen Merchant, who was promoting his new film Sherlock Gnomes.

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