Saturday Night Takeaway: Dec Donnelly SNUBS Stephen Mulhern with brutal swipe

Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway

Ant McPartlin is taking time away from television after his arrest for drink-driving.

Declan Donnelly presented tonight's (March 31) episode of Saturday Night Takeaway without his longtime co-host and best pal Ant McPartlin.

It's expected that Ant will remain in treatment for some time and miss his usual presenting slots on Britain's Got Talent and I'm A Celebrity...

He wrote: "Back in studio today preparing your #SaturdayNightTakeaway for tomorrow night".

There had been much speculation over potential replacements for McPartlin, but ITV have confirmed that Donnelly will be going it alone with a Twitter post.

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He will appear in court on April 4.

Dec made brief mentions to Ant's absence throughout, remarking how he has to do "twice the work" during the opening segment.

A source told The Sun newspaper: "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".

A third suggested: "Good luck @antanddecofficial Dec, you will smash it as always".

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"They want to be respectful to people involved in Ant's vehicle accident, while not bringing down the mood of the show".

"Takeaway is all about having fun and they fear a sombre start may seriously effect the quality of the output".

At the moment, the ITV entertainment programme is called 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway,' but now viewers are demanding that Ant's name is removed from the titles altogether.

Show bosses are said to have decided the two sketches with Joanna Lumley, Emilia Fox and Michael Sheen would be aired as they have been a much-loved part of the series. "Everyone at ITV and the "Takeaway" team feels we owe it to the audience to complete the series".

Dec will be the only live presenter in this weekend's Saturday Night Takeaway.

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