Tonight Declan Donnelly took to the stage by himself at London Studios to present Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway as a solo act.
From the first minute it was plain to see just how weird it was that the Geordie presenter was without his best mate, but it goes without saying he did a sterling job.
Tonight’s show is the first to air since Ant checked into rehab, following his arrest for drink driving last Wednesday. Last week’s show was cancelled.
Guest announcer Stephen Merchant introduced the show as Paloma Faith sang us in with a lively rendition of ‘Til I’m Done’. Dec then descended the staircase alone, giving members of the audience high fives, before thanking everyone for a warm welcome.
“I’ve got twice the amount of work to do, so we’re going to crack on,” Dec said, before moving on quickly to explain what tonight’s show has in store.
As Dec made his entrance the crowd gave him a standing ovation for going at it alone.
A show insider told The Sun that SNT bosses have been ‘torn’ in regards to how to address Ant’s absence.
They said: “Explaining Ant’s absence has been the hardest part of planning.
“The bosses are torn in regards to how they can hit the right tone.
“They want to be respectful to people involved in Ant’s car accident, while not bringing down the mood of the show.”
The source added that producers are worried that a ‘sombre start’ will affect the show, as it is all meant to be about having fun.
It had also been reported that bosses are toying between three different options – Dec to apologise for Ant’s absence and referencing the drink-drive incident, send a goodwill message to his best mate in rehab, or not addressing it at all but joking about presenting on his own.
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