Declan Donnelly wants to ’emotionally address’ Ant McPartlin’s absence in tonight’s Saturday Night Takeaway

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    Declan Donnelly wants to address Ant McPartlin’s absence in tonight’s Saturday Night Takeaway as he’s set to host without his sidekick for the first time in 20 years.

    Declan Donnelly will open tonight’s Saturday Night Takeaway with a message for his best friend Ant McPartlin, it’s been reported.

    Dec, 42, is expected to directly address ‘the elephant in the room’ in the first part of tonight’s Saturday Night Takeaway – as Ant, 42, prepares to face a drink-drive charge in Court.

    A source told Daily Express: “Dec is very much the solo host tonight,

    “We’re all going to miss Ant. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but the show must go on.”

    A meeting took place this morning as ITV bosses are said to be ‘panicking’ over how Dec should address Ant’s absence from the show, The Sun reports.

    An insider said: “Explaining Ant’s absence has been the hardest part of planning.

    “The bosses are torn in regards to how they can hit the right tone.

    Virgin Holidays / Ant and Dec

    The source added: “Takeaway is all about having fun and they fear a sombre start may seriously effect the quality of the output.”

    Tonight’s Saturday Night Takeaway will feature Stephen Merchant on duty as the Star Guest Announcer, and Stephen Mulhern hits the streets of Warrington for the latest round of In for a Penny.

    Plus, Paloma Faith takes to the stage in the End of the Show Show and the Script are in the studio for Singalong Live.

    There will also be plenty of surprises as more Places on the Plane are given away, and another lucky player gets the chance to Win the Ads.

    Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway airs 7pm on ITV.

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