Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway final two episodes will go ahead with just Dec

'Everyone at ITV and the 'Takeaway' team feels we owe it to the audience to complete the series'

Declan Donnelly has spoken publicly for the first time since presenting partner Ant McPartlin was arrested for “drink-driving” over the weekend, confirming the final two episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway will go ahead without McPartlin.

“Whilst I never thought I’d be in this position,” the personality wrote in a statement posted to Twitter, “after much discussion and careful consideration we’ve decided that the remaining two shows of this series of Saturday Night Takeaway will go ahead.”

“We made a promise to take hundreds of deserving winners to Florida to watch the series finale, and we will honour that,” he added.

“Everyone at ITV and the Takeaway team feels we owe it to the audience to complete the series.”

Donnelly was recently reported to have been debating whether to proceed without McPartlin, having insisted they would never “be on our own out there” in the 2010 autobiography Ooh! What A Lovely Pair.

The first of the final two episodes, now with only Declan Donnelly featuring, will air on the 31 March, followed by the series finale on the 7 April. The final episode of Takeaway will unite its series of competition winners for a huge episode to be filmed in Orlando, Florida.

​McPartlin recently cancelled all work commitments for the “foreseeable future” so he can return to rehab. Last year, he entered rehab after struggling with an addiction to painkillers following a knee operation in 2015.

In January, McPartlin confirmed that he and his wife Lisa were separating after 11 years of marriage. At the National Television Awards a few days after the split, McPartlin referred to his “tough year” while picking up the presenting prize with Donnelly which the duo have won for 17 years in a row.

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