Saturday Night Takeaway airs without a studio audience amid coronavirus outbreak

saturday night takeaway no audience

Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway will air without a studio audience for the first time in its history.

The series returned to screens in February after a year off but the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has forced changes to future episodes.

Already the show has cancelled its planned epic finale in Florida, which was set to be held at Walt Disney World.

With the UK government now advising against all but necessary social contact, tonight's episode was filmed without a studio audience.

Ahead of the show, Ant and Dec said: "It's going to be strange, we're going to do the same as we always do but without an audience! We've got loads in the show it's jam packed.

"We are just gonna see how it goes and bring some smiles to peoples faces."

Appearing on This Morning via video, the pair went on to admit that the show may not be back next weekend.

"We wanted to do the show to put a smile on peoples faces because it could be our last one," they said.

A spokesperson for ITV said: "Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway will go ahead this weekend without a studio audience.

"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."

Following this weekend's usual 90-minute show, currently scheduled future episodes will air for an hour.

Ant and Dec will continue with their usual recorded skits, including upcoming an Undercover special featuring Bradley Walsh and mini-series Men In Brown.

However it remains to be seen how other features - which have included various interactions with the public - will be adapted for the new set up.

Ant and Dec previously announced a change to this year's grand finale as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

During last week's episode, the pair explained: "Nothing is more important than people's health and unfortunately that means we won't be able to bring our live final from Florida.

"However Walt Disney World and Virgin Holidays have said that everyone who has been offered a place on the plane will be able to fly out at a later date.

"Even better, they've said we can still give out more places so we're going to do just that and put a smile back on people's faces."

Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway continues tonight on Saturday, March 21 at 7PM.

You can watch episodes online and catch up with the ITV Hub.

Subscribe on YouTube