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Declan Donnelly receives standing ovation after presenting Saturday Night Takeaway alone

It's the first show to be aired since Ant McPartlin cancelled all work commitments for the 'foreseeable future' to return to rehab following his arrest 

Clarisse Loughrey
Sunday 01 April 2018 08:17
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Declan Donnelly presents Satuday Night Takeaway without Ant McPartlin

The latest episode of ITV’s Saturday Night Takeaway saw Declan Donnelly take to the stage solo.

It was the first edition of the variety show to be aired since longtime co-presenter Ant McPartlin cancelled all work commitments for the “foreseeable future” to return to rehab following his arrest for “drink-driving”.

Donnelly was introduced to the stage by guest announcer Stephen Merchant; Paloma Faith chimed in with a rendition of “Til I’m Done”, as Donnelly descended the set’s stairs alone, handing the audience high fives while giving thanks for such a warm welcome.

Though McPartlin’s absence wasn’t directly addressed, Donnelly noted quickly: “I’ve got twice the amount of work to do, so we’re going to crack on.” He then transitioned into the usual spiel of explaining what the episode had in store. By the end of the episode, the audience gave him a standing ovation for braving it alone.

It marked the first time Donnelly has appeared on TV without McPartlin since their television debut in Byker Grove in 1989, with the duo becoming the faces of many major British shows, including I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here and Britain’s Got Talent.

McPartin was arrested on 18 March after losing control of his vehicle at a roundabout in Richmond, south-west London, crashing into two cars, and failing a roadside breathalyser test. The host had previously entered rehab last year after struggling with a painkiller addiction following a knee operation in 2015.

Ant McPartlin charged with drink-driving

Last week’s episode of Saturday Night Takeaway was pulled from the air as a result of the arrest, with ITV1 airing The Voice in its place.

Donnelly will also host, presumably alone once more, the final episode in this series of Saturday Night Takeaway when it airs 7 April.

In a statement released on the pair’s official Twitter account, Donnelly had previously written: “Whilst I never thought I’d be in this position, 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.”

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

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