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Coronavirus: 'Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway' to film without an audience

Albertina Lloyd
Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway will film without a studio audience to limit the spread of coronavirus. (ITV)

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway is to go ahead this weekend – without a studio audience.

Due to government guidelines against public gatherings in an aim to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) hosts Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly will present the entertainment show live from an empty studio.

ITV said in a statement: “Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway will go ahead this weekend without a studio audience.

Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway usually relies heavily on its live audience. (ITV)

“Our priority is safeguarding the well-being of everyone involved. The show will be made with a reduced production crew and in accordance with the latest guidance from Public Health England. 

“The team are looking forward to bringing our viewers a brilliant show on Saturday evening.”

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The Saturday night entertainment show is based around games and prize giveaways for audience members, along with some live video linkups to viewers watching at home.

One regular segment includes McPartlin and Donnelly making an example of people who have chosen to go out on a Saturday night rather than staying home and watch the show.

The TV presenting duo also perform comedy sketches throughout the show, sometimes with celebrity guests, and take part in pre-recorded pranks on unsuspecting members of the public.

Saturday Night Takeaway is the latest in a string of shows to lose its live audience due to coronavirus.

Read more: Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway kiss sparks complaints

ITV daytime chat show Loose Women and Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine On 5 show have been filming without an audience since Monday 16 March.

Keith Lemon apologised to the Celebrity Juice audience for sending them home. (AP)

Earlier this week ITV2 comedy quiz show Celebrity Juice was cancelled after filming had already begun and the audience were sent home.

The BBC has cancelled all audiences for TV and radio shows, including political panel show Question Time.

A spokesman for the BBC said: “In line with government guidance, at this current time we will no longer host audiences for recordings of any BBC programmes. We are recommending that independent producers also follow government advice and adopt a similar approach.”