Saturday Night Takeaway viewers react as show airs without audience for first time

Susannah Alexander
Photo credit: ITV

From Digital Spy

Tonight's (March 21) edition of Saturday Night Takeaway marked a first for the ITV entertainment giant, as hosts Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly hosted the live show without a studio audience for the very first time.

Sadly, the audience element of the show had to be removed for tonight due to the social distancing measures currently required by the Government due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

ITV previously explained their decision to go ahead with the show without an audience, saying: "Our priority is safeguarding the well-being of everyone involved. The show will be made with a reduced production crew and in accordance with the latest guidance from Public Health England."

Photo credit: Kieron McCarron/ITV/Shutterstock

Related: Ant and Dec end Saturday Night Takeaway with mental wellness campaign amid coronavirus pandemic

Considering that Takeaway features a significant amount of audience participation, this made for a very strange viewing experience and viewers were quick to take to Twitter to talk about just how odd they were finding it.

"Looks soooo odd with no studio audience," one wrote, while another added: "They may have no audience, but time to have no worries for the next 90 minutes. Over to you @antanddec".

But despite the lack of audience there were a lot of viewers who were very relieved to enjoy a bit of normality in the shape of Ant & Dec on our screens - and the show was still fantastic entertainment without the audience participation:

A big highlight of tonight's show for viewers was Bradley Walsh being pranked by Ant and Dec. After they tricked him for the first time in 2005, Bradley vowed that they would never get him again and so of course the duo had been very busy preparing to do just that.

In fact they claimed that they'd been planning their next prank for three years!

Ant and Dec infiltrated the studio of Bradley's game show The Chase and did their utmost to mess with the presenter, hiring actors as contestants and feeding them lines that were guaranteed to rile him.

Photo credit: ITV

He was clearly getting more and more agitated, much to Ant and Dec's delight, and his face when he realised that he'd been had was priceless.

The skit was everything viewers had been hoping for:

In more good news, the pair confirmed that they will be returning for another live show next Saturday, so we can all look forward to another evening of silliness to take our minds off the outside world for a little while.

Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway continues next Saturday (March 28) on ITV.

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