On Saturday night, the pair fronted the last live episode in the current series of Saturday Night Takeaway, which went ahead without a studio audience for the first time, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sitting in the empty audience, Ant and Dec spoke of the importance of talking to one another, particularly while so many of us are spending a lot of time alone.
“Chances are you have just watched the show at home, a place we are all going to be spending a bit more time over the next few weeks,” Dec began.
Ant said: “Yes, now more of us will be apart or by ourselves than ever before, and it is going to be harder for some of us than it is for others.”
“Which is why it is more important than ever that we keep talking,” Dec continued. “Just hearing someone’s voice has been shown to reduce anxiety and distress.”
“So,” Ant added. “If there is someone you can’t be with right now, pick up the phone and show them you care. Reach out to the ones who need it most.”
The duo then encouraged viewers to “share a message with the nation”, posting videos on social media with the hashtag #BritainGetTalking, with the aim that ITV will show a handful on their channel over the next few weeks.
The Britain Get Talking campaign – supported by the organisations Mind and YoungMind – launched during last year’s Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions, encouraging people in the UK to talk more openly with one another.
ITV’s director of social purpose for Clare Phillips has said: “Physical isolation doesn’t have to mean social isolation.
“Britain has never needed to connect more, and through Britain Get Talking we want to use ITV to help people feel good, talk more and establish a feeling of unity through these challenging and unprecedented times.
“Hearing someone’s voice is a proven means of decreasing anxiety and stress so we want to encourage more talking and more connecting.”
Ant and Dec had planned to air this year’s Saturday Night Takeaway finale live from Disney World, but these plans were scuppered when the theme park closed its doors due to coronavirus.
Instead, a pre-recorded finale will air on ITV Saturday night, as was revealed during this week’s show.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: email@example.com
- Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.