Saturday Night Takeaway to film with studio audience despite coronavirus fears

Ant & Dec's long-running variety show will be going ahead as usual tonight - but the series finale in Florida has had to be scrapped

Saturday Night Takeaway

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is beginning to severely impact just about every aspect of everyday life – but one thing that won’t be affected is tonight’s episode of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.

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The popular duo’s variety show is set to go ahead as normal complete with a live studio audience – a different approach from that used by many shows in the US, several of which have filmed without an audience.

According to Variety the decision has been made to continue with the show in front of a 200-strong audience despite an internal memo being sent round asking producers to begin preparing alternative approaches for shows where members of the public were present.

The decision reportedly follows a full day of discussions between ITV bosses, in which a number of different options were weighed up.

An ITV spokesperson explained the decision in a statement, saying, “Our priority is the well-being and safety of all our people and everyone who works with us on our shows and across our business

“We are in a developing and dynamic situation so we’re complying with the guidance from Public Health England and the World Health Organization to make sure we keep everyone as safe and secure as possible.

“All of our audience-handling agencies are sharing the updated advice from the NHS site with audiences prior to attending our shows and we continue to work with them to update advice as and when it changes.”

Although tonight’s show hasn’t been affected by the virus, there is less good news when it comes to the series finale – which had been due to take place on 4th April at Disney World Florida with 300 fans being flown out for the extravaganza.

With the theme park now closed due to the pandemic those plans have had to be shelved – and it is believed the production team are currently working on an alternative finale to take place in London.

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Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway airs tonight at 7pm on ITV