'Saturday Night Takeaway' lands ratings record after Ant and Dec present without studio audience

Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, winners of the Best TV Presenter award, pose in the winners room at the National Television Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on January 28, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Coronavirus

Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway had its biggest ever audience on Saturday night, viewing figures have revealed.

As the programme filmed without a studio audience for the first time due to the coronavirus, it had an average of 9.5 million viewers with a peak of 11.1 million.

Numbers from ITV show that the series, which is on its 16th run after launching in 2002, had almost half the TV viewership with a 45% share of the audience.

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It marks the biggest overnight audience on any channel for 2020 so far.

Ant and Dec in their Men in Brown spoof series for Saturday Night Takeaway. (ITV)

The news comes as it has been confirmed the next edition of the weekend favourite will be prerecorded.

It was confirmed by the presenters as Declan Donnelly shared: "Join us next week, when we won’t be live but we will be back on your screens with the conclusion of [ongoing alien spoof series] Men In Brown for our grand finale."

In a tweet, the show said they would be returning with "something a bit different" next week after the pair were joined by Joel Dommett, Stephen Mulhern, Andy Peters, Olly Murs and Bradley Walsh for the live show.

The ‘End of the Show Show’ saw Murs perform his hit Dance With Me Tonight while pre-filmed submissions of viewers dancing appeared on the screen, including many featuring NHS staff and emergency workers.

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The pair received praise for their efforts in the changed circumstances on Saturday night and in turn Ant McPartlin thanked fans.

He wrote in a tweet on their joint account: "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 #SaturdayNightTakeway."