ENTERTAINMENT
31/03/2018 19:33 BST | Updated 31/03/2018 19:41 BST

Declan Donnelly Makes Light Of Ant McPartlin's Absence During Solo 'Saturday Night Takeaway'

This marked the first time Dec had ever hosted a show by himself.

Declan Donnelly kicked off this week’s ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’ with a brief reference to the absence of his regular co-host Ant McPartlin.

For the first time in their career, Declan - who makes up one half of presenting duo Ant and Dec - hosted Saturday’s (31 March) show without Ant, following the news that he has returned to treatment, after being charged with drink-driving earlier in the month.

While last week’s ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’ was cancelled, Dec went solo when the show returned for the penultimate episode of the series.

ITV
Declan Donnelly

The show opened with a performance from Paloma Faith, after which Dec headed onto the stage alone, shaking hands and high-fiving with excited audience members.

An emotional Dec then said: “Thank you for that very warm welcome, I really appreciate it. Welcome, again, to your ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’.”

Alluding to Ant’s absence, he added: “We’ve got a lot to cram in… and I’ve got twice the amount of work to do, so we’ve got to crack on.”

Guest announcer Stephen Merchant commented on the “little bit of stage” next to him that wouldn’t have usually been there, offering to fill in for his missing co-host.

Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
Ant and Dec at the TV Baftas in 2017

Stephen also made reference to the news that Dec is to become a father, noting: “I can’t wait to come to your house and hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet… that’ll be you when you come to the door.”

Dec later made light of the situation, commenting that he would have to take over the ‘End Of The Show Show’ preparations himself, “like everything else this week”.

Despite Ant’s absence, it was business as usual during this week’s ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’, including the pre-recorded recurring comedy mini-series ‘The Honoured’, a take-off of Davina McCall’s series ‘This Time Next Year’ and, of course, the show’s famous ‘Win The Ads’ quiz segment.