Ant and Dec are no stranger to weekend television schedules so the return of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway last night (Saturday 24th February) was a welcome one – but it has now been revealed that the new series has smashed some pretty major ITV records.


The beloved entertainment show returned to our screens with a peak of 5.6 million viewers, averaging 4.9 million. This makes Saturday Night Takeaway the biggest overnight audience of the year on the channel and the biggest entertainment show on the channel this year.

The pair have been at the helm of the series for the past 20 series, having hosted it on and off since 2002 and looking back on the previous series, the show has reached a staggering 52 million viewers. While that certainly sounds like a lot of people, to put it into perspective that makes up 90% of the UK population.

Last night's live show was not only an exciting return to form for the duo with plenty of entertaining segments, the premiere episode also boasted the biggest audience giveaway in British TV history.

In the heartfelt opening segment to the show, Ant and Dec were about to announce the major giveaway and cut to going round the country to find the lucky winner. But in a surprise twist, they announced that the 411-person audience was actually made up of amazing fundraisers who had been handpicked to sit in the studio audience.

More like this

Each lucky audience member got a Takeaway Getaway, a holiday abroad that they can redeem at any time. You can watch the moment below.

Saturday Night Takeaway has been a mainstay on weekend television schedules for a long time now, but hosts Ant and Dec previously announced that they would be taking a break after this new season.

Speaking to FAULT Magazine, Ant said: "I feel like it’s a nice time to turn the page, and it will give us time to reflect. You can’t think of a different version of Saturday Night Takeaway while Saturday Night Takeaway is on air. You need to be away from it."

Read more:

Dec added: "I think what happened when we took a break last time [was] we started to miss it. We started coming up with lots of ideas and going, 'Oh, that would be amazing.'

"We want to give ourselves that same opportunity this time to miss the show and just see how we feel and where that takes us."

The new episode of the show saw the duo reveal their younger counterparts, 'Little Ant and Dec' as well as pranking Simon Cowell in an undercover mission, reminiscent of their very first Undercover where they pranked Cowell in Los Angeles while he was judging America's Got Talent.

Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway continues next Saturday on ITV1 and is available to watch on ITVX.

Check out more of our Entertainment coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what else is on.


Try Radio Times magazine today and get 10 issues for only £10 – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.