In February 2021, Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway returned to ITV for its highly-anticipated 17th series, with Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly entertaining the nation with their light-hearted humour and fun dynamic.
The most recent episodes have seen the presenting pair go on an action-packed mission to take down their evil clones, enlist celebs in new instalments of Get Out Of Me Ear and welcome stars including Gordon Ramsay and Michelle Visage to appear as guest announcers.
But some viewers have questioned why Ant and Dec are able to stand so close to one another, given the social distancing guidelines members of the public are following amid the coronavirus pandemic.
So are Ant and Dec in a bubble and what Covid-safe measures are there on Saturday Night Takeaway?
Are Ant and Dec in a bubble?
In September 2020, Ant and Dec made a joint appearance on This Morning to chat with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.
During their interview, they explained why they were allowed to be near each other, given they were filming Britain’s Got Talent at the time.
‘We’re working on Britain’s Got Talent at the moment and other things, so we get tested every four days,’ Ant said.
Dec joked that they were like ‘Premiership footballers’, before stating: ‘We get tested every four or five days, down the throat and up the nose, so we form… basically our households are connected and we form a cohort. So we can sit next to each other.’
When Phillip asked whether there were limitations on what they were allowed to do, Ant added: ‘We’ve got to be careful as to where we go and who we see.’
Several months later, Ant and Dec have continued to stay in their cohort while filming Saturday Night Takeaway.
‘Ant and I, whenever we film, we get tested and we form a cohort. So we’re allowed to stand next to each other,’ Dec told Digital Spy last month.
What Covid-safe measures are there on the show?
One of the biggest changes on the current series of Saturday Night Takeaway is that there is no live audience – which is usually one of the biggest elements of the show.
Instead, a virtual audience of hundreds of people pops up on a large screen in the studio, with some being called on to take part in games and challenges.
Dec told Digital Spy that ‘there’s a lot of social distancing’ on the Saturday Night Takeaway production, saying: ‘A lot of wearing masks when you’re on set and stuff.’
‘It’s a lot of social distancing. And that’s the thing as well – you don’t want everything you do to look really Covid-y. You don’t want it full of masks and social distancing,’ he said.
‘We’re trying to be creative with how we’re shooting stuff so it looks fairly normal and so it doesn’t look like we’re in the middle of the pandemic. You don’t want to constantly be reminded of it.’
Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway airs tonight at 7pm on ITV.
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