Ant and Dec thank fans for their support after hosting Saturday Night Takeaway without live audience

‘It was a privilege to be on air’: Ant and Dec thank fans for their support after hosting Saturday Night Takeaway without live audience… as live shows are AXED going forward

Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have thanked viewers for their support after presenting their first Saturday Night Takeaway show without a live audience amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Geordie duo, both 44, took to Twitter on Saturday where they revealed ‘it was a privilege to be on air’ amid a sea of praise for their performance on the live show.

It comes as they confirmed that future live installments of their popular ITV show will be axed, with the show now continuing with pre-recorded episodes.

Grateful: Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have thanked viewers for their support after presenting their first Saturday Night Takeaway show without a live audience amid the coronavirus pandemic

Grateful: Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have thanked viewers for their support after presenting their first Saturday Night Takeaway show without a live audience amid the coronavirus pandemic 

On their official Twitter account, Ant penned: ‘Wow! Overwhelmed by your lovely messages tonight. It was a privilege to be on air this evening. Stay safe everyone. Much love to you all. A.’

The tweet was soon flooded with hundreds of messages from fans congratulating them on a job well done.

At the end of the show, the pair told viewers that this will be the last live show they would be doing for the foreseeable future.

Dec said: ‘We will be back next Saturday at 7pm, we wont be live but we will be here with the finale of Men In Brown!’

No more: It comes as they confirmed that future live installments of their popular ITV show will be axed, with the show now continuing with pre-recorded episodes

No more: It comes as they confirmed that future live installments of their popular ITV show will be axed, with the show now continuing with pre-recorded episodes

The news was then confirmed via the Saturday Night Takeaway Twitter account, which said: ‘Thank you all for joining us tonight! Sadly that was our final live show of the series. We hope it sparked some joy when we all need it most.

‘We’ll be back next week with something a bit different. Stay safe everyone!’

Meanwhile, the special End Of The Show Show with Olly Murs left viewers in tears as it was accompanied by audience members, including NHS workers and the elderly, dancing along to the star’s song.

Thankful: The Geordie duo, both 44, took to Twitter on Saturday where they revealed 'it was a privilege to be on air' amid a sea of praise for their performance on the live show

Thankful: The Geordie duo, both 44, took to Twitter on Saturday where they revealed ‘it was a privilege to be on air’ amid a sea of praise for their performance on the live show

No live shows: The news was then confirmed via the Saturday Night Takeaway Twitter account, which said: 'Thank you all for joining us tonight! Sadly that was our final live show of the series

No live shows: The news was then confirmed via the Saturday Night Takeaway Twitter account, which said: ‘Thank you all for joining us tonight! Sadly that was our final live show of the series

In line with government guidelines to practice social distancing in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus, the pair were forced to keep the spirits up with just a handful of crew in support.

As they did their usual opening segment, the camera zoomed out to show a sea of empty seats in the studio.

Commenting on the lack of audience, Dec said ‘it’s a little weird’, while Ant was quick to praise their ‘smaller but still amazing crew’.

However, it was business as usual for the pair as they carried on with true professionalism.

Moving: The special End Of The Show Show with Olly Murs left viewers in tears as it was accompanied by audience members, including NHS workers and the elderly, dancing along to the star's song

Moving: The special End Of The Show Show with Olly Murs left viewers in tears as it was accompanied by audience members, including NHS workers and the elderly, dancing along to the star’s song

The episode featured plenty to keep viewers smiling including a hilarious prank on Bradley Walsh, the latest Ant vs Dec challenge and appearances from Joel Dommett, Stephen Mulhern and Andi Peters.’

But it was the End Of The Show Show which was particularly poignant for fans at home as it featured video clips of audience members dancing along to Olly’s hit track Dance With Me Tonight.

And as well as several families, the clips included several key workers that have kept the country going during this difficult time, including NHS workers, teachers, paramedics and supermarket workers.

Empty: Ant and Dec opened their ITV show without a crowd, with the scaled back crew stepping in to provide the cheers and applause instead

Empty: Ant and Dec opened their ITV show without a crowd, with the scaled back crew stepping in to provide the cheers and applause instead

All gone: As they did their usual opening segment, the camera zoomed out to show a sea of empty seats in the studio

All gone: As they did their usual opening segment, the camera zoomed out to show a sea of empty seats in the studio

Also featured were care home workers, the elderly, children and animals.

The touching scenes, along with Olly performing with Ant, Dec, Joel, Andi, Stephen and Bradley acting as backing dancers, left viewers at home reaching for the tissues.

Fans shared their reactions on Twitter, with one writing: ‘ Well done and thank you @itvtakeaway the end of the show show bought tears to my eyes and especially the last message from you guys!!’

Sweet: It was the End Of The Show Show which was particularly poignant for fans at home as it featured video clips of audience members dancing along to Olly’s hit track Dance With Me Tonight

Dance along: The touching scenes, along with Olly performing with Ant, Dec, Joel, Andi, Stephen and Bradley acting as backing dancers, left viewers at home reaching for the tissues

Dance along: The touching scenes, along with Olly performing with Ant, Dec, Joel, Andi, Stephen and Bradley acting as backing dancers, left viewers at home reaching for the tissues

Wonderful: And as well as several families, the clips included several key workers that have kept the country going during this difficult time, including NHS workers, teachers, paramedics and supermarket workers

Wonderful: And as well as several families, the clips included several key workers that have kept the country going during this difficult time, including NHS workers, teachers, paramedics and supermarket workers

While another declared: ‘That brought tears to my eyes wow that was so amazing, thank you ant and dec for making the nation smile, this is exactly what we needed,’

‘I’m not entirely sure why but #SaturdayNightTakeaway just made me feel super emotional… Seeing everyone inside but still happy and smiling – definitely cheered me up!’ messaged a third watcher.

A fourth fan gushed: ‘Dancing and crying my eyes out to the end of the show show!’

With another adding: ‘Why am I getting abit emotional seeing everyone at home dancing???? Why??????’

Moved: Fans shared their reactions on Twitter, with one writing: ' Well done and thank you @itvtakeaway the end of the show show bought tears to my eyes and especially the last message from you guys!!'

Moved: Fans shared their reactions on Twitter, with one writing: ‘ Well done and thank you @itvtakeaway the end of the show show bought tears to my eyes and especially the last message from you guys!!’

Elsewhere, despite things being eerily quiet throughout the show, fans at home were quick to heap praise on Ant and Dec for soldiering on and putting a smile on fans faces.

Taking to Twitter, one fan commented: ‘As always, ant and dec keeping the countries spirits high !! Xx’

While another declared: ‘Feels weird watching the show without an audience! Great work so far! Keep up the great work entertaining the UK.’

‘Even when there’s no studio audience and things are different Ant and Dec pull it off, they truly are the best’ wrote a third.

Lovely: Care home workers and residents enjoyed a fun dance to Olly's song

Lovely: Care home workers and residents enjoyed a fun dance to Olly’s song

Heroes: NHS workers took a break from their busy schedules to have some fun

Heroes: NHS workers took a break from their busy schedules to have some fun

With another adding: ‘Ant & Dec are absolutely smashing it – this is what we need, lifting the mood of the nation!.’

While a further person commented on the unusual circumstances, tweeting: ‘Watching Saturday Night Takeaway is like watching a post-apocalyptic world. Humanity is scarse, but a select few still remain.’

Meanwhile, formerly billed guest Tom Jones no longer appeared on the show and was instead replaced by his The Voice UK co-star Olly Murs.

It’s been advised that those who are over 70-years-old should self-isolate, so Olly stepped in to perform during a special End Of The Show Show.

Well done: And despite things being eerily quiet, fans at home were quick to heap praise on Ant and Dec for soldiering on and putting a smile on fans faces

Well done: And despite things being eerily quiet, fans at home were quick to heap praise on Ant and Dec for soldiering on and putting a smile on fans faces

Announcing the news on Friday’s This Morning: ‘Olly Murs is coming down, he’s going to perform with us and he’s going to sing Dance With Me Tonight.

 ‘Just because you’re in self-isolation we want you dancing, if you film yourself for a minute, in landscape, you can send us your videos and you will be on the screen at the end of the show show tomorrow night.’

Ant and Dec previously insisted they won’t be using canned laughter for their first Saturday Night Takeaway without a live audience.

Speaking on This Morning, Ant and Dec said they just hope to lift viewers’ spirits in a time of uncertainty as a majority of the country enters self-isolation due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Business as usual? Ant and Dec insisted that they won't be using canned laughter for their first Saturday Night Takeaway without a live audience

Business as usual? Ant and Dec insisted that they won’t be using canned laughter for their first Saturday Night Takeaway without a live audience

Speaking via live link from their Takeaway Studios, Ant and Dec insisted the show will be business as usual even without their audience.

They told Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford: ‘It’s going to be strange, we’re going to do the same as we always do but without an audience! We’ve got loads in the show it’s jam packed.’

‘We are just gonna see how it goes and bring some smiles to peoples faces.’

Big changes: The presenting duo will appear on screens again this weekend, but due to coronavirus fears the show will not have a live audience

Big changes: The presenting duo will appear on screens again this weekend, but due to coronavirus fears the show will not have a live audience

Worrying: Ant and Dec insisted their show will still be packed with content despite some of the changes, and said they hope to delight viewers in a time of uncertainty

Worrying: Ant and Dec insisted their show will still be packed with content despite some of the changes, and said they hope to delight viewers in a time of uncertainty

When asked whether they would use canned laughter during the live show, Ant and Dec insisted they had another plan up their sleeve.

This weekend’s show will also feature the long-awaited Undercover with Bradley Walsh on The Chase, 15 years after they first pranked the star.

Asked why they decided to continue filming despite the outbreak, Ant and Dec said: ‘We wanted to do the show to put a smile on peoples faces because it could be our last one.’

Funny: Elsewhere ahead of their Undercover on Saturday, Ant and Dec shared a hilarious clip on Instagram of their attempts to try on high heels

Funny: Elsewhere ahead of their Undercover on Saturday, Ant and Dec shared a hilarious clip on Instagram of their attempts to try on high heels

They also clarified that while they had scaled back their crew, anyone who was still working on the show had come into work of their own choice.

A day earlier, Ant and Dec appealed to fans to send in their dance videos for the End Of The Show Show, as ITV confirmed that their final three episodes of the series would be aired withhold a live audience.

The coronavirus gag scenes on Takeaway at the weekend left some viewers furious, as the comedy duo were joined by a 200-strong live studio audience in the London Television Centre for the night’s episode.

Fashion maven: Ant grabbed a pair of black slingbacks as he joked that the straps are slimming

Fashion maven: Ant grabbed a pair of black slingbacks as he joked that the straps are slimming

Ant also jokingly asked for some hand sanitiser before walking down the studio stairs to greet co-host Dec with a foot tap and an elbow bump to laughs from the crowd.

Taking a more serious tone, the pair then addressed the cancellation of the series’ finale episode in Disneyworld, Florida.

Ant said: ‘I’m sure like us you’ve all been following the news, and in the current climate nothing is more important than people’s health.

‘Absolutely,’ added Dec. ‘And because of this we unfortunately won’t be able to bring you the final show of the series from Florida.’

Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway continues on Saturdays at 7pm on ITV.

Model in the making: The display certainly left one crew member bewildered, as Ant strutted through the wardrobe section backstage in the heels

Model in the making: The display certainly left one crew member bewildered, as Ant strutted through the wardrobe section backstage in the heels

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