Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway is back!

Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway (ITV1, 7pm)
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Since Bruce Forsyth’s death in August 2017, the title of ‘King of Saturday Night Telly’ has been up for grabs.

Some would suggest that Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, aka Ant and Dec, should share it. After all, over the years they’ve enjoyed a pretty successful run at the weekend thanks to shows such as Limitless Win and Saturday Night Takeaway. But they’re not alone – there’s another pretender to the thrown out there over on the BBC.

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No, we’re not talking about Paddy McGuinness or Danny Dyer, who have both had a shot at presenting prime-time shows; it’s too early to gauge how successful Mo Gilligan’s That’s My Jam will be in the long-term too. But Michael McIntyre… well, he must surely be in the running.

Not only does he present his own variety series, Michael McIntyre’s Big Show, which only recently completed its latest run, he’s also the host of The Wheel.

The latter is back this week, and will be going head-to-head in the schedules with Saturday Night Takeaway, which may sort out who gets Brucie’s title – not via a Harry Hill-style fight, but rather by finding out which tops the all-important ratings tree.

Most of the smart money will be on Ant and Dec who, in January, announced they had extended their exclusive relationship with ITV for a further three years – the perfect way to celebrate their 25th anniversary with the broadcaster.

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“We’re so lucky to host the best entertainment shows in the world,” said Ant at the time. “We absolutely love our shows and we are both extremely happy and very excited to extend our relationship with ITV for another three years.”

Donnelly jokingly added: “We can’t believe we are reaching 25 years exclusively with ITV. Especially as we are both only turning 30 this year!”

Kevin Lygo, managing director for media and entertainment at ITV, added: “The world of television and streaming is always a much brighter place with Ant and Dec at the centre of it.”

The deal means we can expect to see the duo front more episodes of Limitless Win, Britain’s Got Talent, the regular run of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and its new spin-off series, which will take place in South Africa and feature some of the original show’s most memorable campmates.

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But for now we’re simply looking forward to the new run of Saturday Night Takeaway, which will be its 19th. During the run, Joe Wicks and Claudia Winkleman will appear in I’m A Celebrity… Get Out Of Me Ear!, while Alison Hammond and Rylan are the unwitting victims of their very own Undercovers.

Plus, look out for new whodunit Murder At Bigwig Manor, which is set to star Richard Wilson as the head of ITV, with cameos from Davina McCall, Keith Lemon, Judi Love and many more. Ant and Dec will also be involved in more personal challenges set by their celebrity friends.

It promises to be a fun night for those taking part and others watching at home – McIntyre is certainly going to have to work hard to dislodge these two media monarchs from their lofty perch at the top of Saturday night TV.

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