Entertainment

Ant and Dec reflect on first Saturday Night Takeaway as they kick off series 20

The series will be the last before the Geordie duo take a break from the show ‘to pause for a little while and catch our breath’.

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway returned to ITV
Ant and Dec Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway returned to ITV (Jay Brooks/ITV)

Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have kicked off the 20th series of Saturday Night Takeaway by reflecting on their first show over two decades ago.

Saturday’s episode of the live variety show sees the return of popular segments including undercover prank, with music mogul Simon Cowell set to be the first victim.

The Geordie duo will take a break from the show at the conclusion of the series, after saying the 20th “milestone” seemed like the “perfect time to pause for a little while and catch our breath”.

Donnelly opened the show, saying: “Hello and welcome to a brand new series of your Saturday Night Takeaway.”

After they were greeted by rapturous applause, McPartlin said: “You’re a brilliant audience – welcome to the show everyone and welcome to series 20.”

Donnelly added: “I actually can’t believe the first episode of Saturday Night Live was almost 22 year ago” before they showed a photo of the pair from June 8 2002 – their first show.

They also turned the tables on their audience, showing pictures from years ago of people sitting in the studio and at home watching the live show.

Before they started normal proceedings, they surprised a couple of Saturday Night Takeaway superfans with tickets to watch the show from the studio as it was kicking off.

The duo also revealed they handpicked every member of the 411-person audience, which was filled with foster parents and fundraisers.

As a thank you to the live audience, who they said had collectively raised £40 million for charity, they gifted them all a getaway prize.

Comedian and actor Stephen Merchant joined the show as the guest announcer for the week while presenter Stephen Mulhern made a dramatic return to the programme dressed as character Dr Evil from the Austin Powers film series.

The episode will also feature a special End Of The Show performance from Becky Hill.

The series previously took a pause in 2009, returning four years later in 2013.

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway continues on ITV.

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