For the first time in the show’s history, the latest edition of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway went without an audience, relying on video submissions and a laughing production crew as the COVID-19 pandemic meant the Geordie duo had to forgo their usual cheering crowd.
Despite the difficulties the show went off well, with viewers praising the pair’s resilience and 9.5 million fans tuning in from home (nearly half of everyone watching TV on Saturday 21st March), the highest ratings the series has ever had – but now it’s been revealed that the live edition of the series will be cancelled going forward, with a prerecorded edition taking its place next week.
“Join us next week, when we won’t be live but we will be back on your screens with the conclusion of Men In Brown for our grand finale,” Dec told viewers at home at the end of the episode, hinting that any future shows in the series will primarily rely on pre-filmed segments and their ongoing alien-themed narrative series.
Previously, the pair had hinted that they weren’t sure if the show would continue at all, but it was later confirmed on social media that fans had more to look forward to.
“Thank you all for joining us tonight!” the show’s team said on their Twitter account. “Sadly that was our final live show of the series. We hope it sparked some joy when we all need it most.
“We’ll be back next week with something a bit different,” they added. “Stay safe everyone!”
RadioTimes.com has contacted ITV for comment, but currently it’s unclear exactly what this “different” version of the show will entail, given that the audience-less live show roughly followed the same format as usual (albeit with contestants playing games with a video link rather than live in the studio).
Will it be entirely pre-recorded skits? Will Ant and Dec still be in the studio, recording links? Or will it be some new combination of old and new?
For now, we’ll just have to wait to find out. But it’s good to know that we still have at least one more Takeaway to look forward to.
Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway concludes its current series on Saturday 28t March. Want something to watch before then? Check out our best of Netflix list or our full TV guide