Ant and Dec make Saturday Night Takeaway return following hiatus
Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly’s Saturday Night Takeaway has returned to TV screens after a two-year break.
The programme last aired in 2018 and a new series has not been broadcast since McPartlin was arrested for drink driving in March of that year.
Neither mentioned McPartlin’s time away from the spotlight as they kicked off the show on ITV.
McPartlin told the live studio audience: “It is so good to be back with a brand new series but we have been very busy since we last did this show.”
Donnelly added: “We have barely stopped, Ant. We have done I’m A Celebrity, Britain’s Got Talent, we found out we were related. We have moved into this brand new studio.”
Donnelly had to present the show without his long-standing partner following McPartlin’s arrest.
Soon after, McPartlin announced he was temporarily stepping back from his presenting duties.
Pop star Camila Cabello played the role of announcer during the episode, which also saw appearances from Mark Wahlberg and the Pussycat Dolls.
Donnelly stumbled over his words during one segment, before quipping: “It’s been a while.”
One skit saw McPartlin and Donnelly ask the Pussycat Dolls to “tone down” their risque style for their “family friendly” show.
The group’s comeback performance during the final of X Factor: Celebrity received 802 complaints over its sexualised content.
However, the five-piece ignored their request and the flustered pair’s attempt to use signs and a “censor button” to stop the show failed.
Presenter Stephen Mulhern also returned to pit the presenters against each other in a Viking-themed Ant vs Dec challenge, which featured axe-throwing and wood-chopping.
Stars including Hugh Bonneville, Emily Atack, Amanda Holden, Richard Ayoade, Amber Gill, Paddy McGuinness and Simon Cowell will appear in the new series.