Saturday Night Takeaway bans studio audience for first time ever amid crisis

Saturday Night Takeaway's studio audience has been banned this week amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly will be hosting this weekend's live show to an empty studio without an audience for the first time ever.

The Geordie presenters were locked in crunch talks with ITV bosses on how to move forward with the show during the crisis – with fears it may be scrapped completely.

They were already forced to cancel with grand finale show at Disney World in Florida – where they were supposed to be flying out with 300 prize winners.

Their will be reduced production staff on Saturday but the boys are hopeful that their show will be just as brilliant.

A Saturday Night Takeaway spokesperson 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.

Saturday night's episode will only be 60-minutes long but will still be full of all fans' favourite segments will be included.

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The show will air as normal at 7pm on Saturday but with no audience participation.

The usual pre-recorded sketches and pranks, including the 'Undercover' with Bradley Walsh and 'Men In Brown' will feature.

It is expected that they will stop sending Fleur East and Andy Peters out on location to meet viewers.

There were some subtle changes with the usual format during last weekend's star-studded show.

The hosts made a point of using hand sanitiser before high fiving the studio audience during their entrance.

Then at the end of the show, Ant cast down on whether they would be back at all next week as they said their goodbyes.

Ant said: "We will hopefully be back here next Saturday night at 7pm."

The pair then added: "Have a great week – stay safe, everybody."

*Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway airs Saturdays on ITV at 7pm

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