Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway solo debut wins praise as he thanks fans for support

Reaction to presenter's first appearance without Ant was overwhelmingly positive

Dec Donnelly won praise for his solo presenting debut on Saturday Night Takeaway as he thanked fans for their support following Ant McPartlin’s recent controversy.

Takeaway returned to ITV after a week off air tonight, and Dec appeared without his right-hand man Ant for the first time in their two-decade career.

He was loudly cheered by the audience while cracking jokes about the unusual situation.

His upbeat performance went down well with viewers, earning overwhelmingly positive reaction on social media.

Twitter user @AntandDec18 wrote: “Dec was amazing tonight. He got into the swing of things really quickly and did so many people proud.”

@TV_reality93 said: “You were fantastic tonight Dec, you should be very proud.”

@swankyrags tweeted: “Loving Dec’s wit, he is a true showbiz professional. He had the nation behind him and did a fantastic job.”

@abipailing_ added: “I don’t think Britain has ever felt as much love for one person as they did tonight for Dec, absolute star.”

Some of Dec’s celebrity friends and ITV colleagues also offered words of encouragement.

Diversity frontman Ashley Banjo called him “a legend and a true pro”, while football icon Alan Shearer said he was “brilliant as usual”.

Presenter Kate Thornton added that he had given a “total masterclass in professionalism”.

Signing off at the end of the episode, Dec thanked fans for their well wishes after a turbulent two weeks.

“Most of all, thanks to you at home for watching. Thank you so much. Have a fantastic Easter, and thanks for all the support.”

Last week Ant withdrew from his TV commitments and checked in to rehab as he was charged with drink-driving.

Dec took the tough decision to continue Takeaway without him, saying: “We owe it to the audience to complete the series.”

However, regular co-hosts Stephen Mulhern and Scarlett Moffatt stepped in to help with new ‘expanded’ roles.

He also had ample support from special guests Davina McCall, Stephen Merchant and Paloma Faith.

Takeaway’s epic series finale airs live from Universal Studios in Florida next Saturday at 7.00pm on ITV.

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