Are you ready for the weekly return of the happiest 90 minutes of television?
By Laura Rutkowski, Senior Staff Writer
Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway is back to supercharge your weekend with live entertainment and make sure you start it as you mean to go on – laughing.
The Geordie lads are now on their eighteenth series, with 2022 marking two decades of the award-winning presenters bringing joy to our screens with their variety show. You can count on seeing a lot more of them, as their new gameshow Limitless Win has already been renewed for a second series.
Saturday Night Takeaway promises more competitions, surprises, pranks, stunts and celebrity guests, including: Jeremy Clarkson, Oti Mabuse, Rob Delaney, Jo Brand, Kadeena Cox, Tom Allen, Fred Siriex, Roman Kemp, Stephen Mulhern, Fleur East, Andi Peters, Michael Bublé and George Ezra.
On-Air Dares, Singalong Live, Win the Ads and Takeaway Getaway are all back, plus plenty of Ant vs Dec challenges and fan favourites Undercover and I’m A Celebrity… Get Out Of Me Ear! Plus, a brand-new studio game with kids called Kiddi-eoke and a mini-series called Polter Guys, where Ant and Dec become ghostbusters.
To celebrate the return of a live studio audience after relying on a virtual one due to COVID-19 restrictions, you can apply to be on the show or nominate someone who you think deserves a brilliant surprise. Entries are open until Monday 4 April.
As the mischief-makers prepare for more high jinks in the latest series of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, we look back at some of their funniest pranks – ones that have had them, viewers and (eventually) their targets creasing with laughter…
1. When Richard Madeley was the best possible sport on the show
We’re going to start with our personal favourite – it could only be Richard Madeley taking part in I’m A Celebrity… Get Out Of Me Ear! At his home, while interviewing photographers who would take photos for a calendar of himself, he well and truly freaked out each and every one of them. From offering up full-frontal nudity for the shoot, to not understanding the World Wide Web, he catered to Ant and Dec’s every whim and had them (and us) in absolute stiches.
Make sure you watch part two to see Richard swap shoes with one of the photographers and say this incredible phrase: “If you want to wet my slipper for revenge.”
2. When Aled Jones didn’t want any snowmen at his party
The Welsh singer, who was recently unmasked as Traffic Cone on The Masked Singer, met with several party planners to help him with a do that sounded more don’t. Ant & Dec had him referring to himself in the third-person, talking fake Welsh and, of course, singing “Walking In The Air” – a couple of times.
3. When Ant and Dec rapped on American Idol
The duo disguised themselves as brothers on American Idol to prank Simon Cowell by rapping “Opposites Attract.” Dec even did the worm! When they revealed their true identities, Simon said they were through to Hollywood without hesitation!
4. When Mark Wahlberg became a waiter in his own Wahlburgers restaurant
What’s so brilliant about this prank is that the Ted star had no idea who Ant and Dec were before appearing on Saturday Night Takeaway. Mark served customers at his London restaurant, even attempting a British accent as Ant and Dec made him say, “Delightful!” The inner struggle was written all over his face, especially when they asked him to flex his biceps and call one of the diners “big boy.”
His American sense of humour meant some of Ant and Dec’s jokes were slightly lost in translation, making it even funnier. When Mark asked some of the diners to list off their top three favourite movies of his and they couldn’t list a single one, it was a cringe-fest all round.
5. When Bear Grylls dined in the dark
The cheeky chappies were given the chance to actually come face to face with their prankee for this one, because Bear Grylls went out for a meal with his wife to a restaurant that is completely pitch black. Using night vision, they could see Bear, but he couldn’t see them. They messed with his food and roped in the restaurant’s staff to make his experience as… disruptive as possible.
6. When David Dickinson thought his fake new show was a car crash
The antiques dealer thought he was experiencing the real deal when he was asked to present a series called Long Lost Treasures, reuniting people with beloved possessions. Dec disguised himself as the previous owner of a car he sold to a salesman (Ant). Dec drives off with it, but when he returns, the car flips over and bursts into flames (a stunt performed by a professional). The supposed worth of the car? £7,000. The look on David’s face? Priceless.
7. When Bradley Walsh was pranked for the second time
Ant and Dec already fooled Bradders when he was booked as a corporate speaker for a plastics firm, but they got him again 15 years later! The pair wreaked havoc on the set of The Chase, where the contestants racked up the highest ever cash prize of £200,000 against Chaser Jenny Ryan. Ant and Dec fed the players answers, leading Bradley to believe there was a scammer in their midst, and even made one of them say that Pointless was better! “I can’t believe you’ve done me again!” Bradley exclaimed when the boys eventually appeared, triumphant once more.
8. When Gino D’Acampo licked an onion
During what they thought was a masterclass with chef Gino D’Acampo, participants instead received a heavy portion of his ego as he played up to his good looks and suggested some bizarre cooking techniques. The best bit by far was when Ant and Dec made him demonstrate that you know an onion is ripe when you lick it and it squeaks.
When is ITV’s Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway on TV?
Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway airs on ITV/HD (CH 113/103) on Saturdays at 7pm, with the first episode screening on 19 February. It is also available in Apps & Games > ITV Hub.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
HD: HD TV set, V HD Box, TiVo box, Virgin TV V6 box or Virgin TV 360 box connected with HDMI cables required for HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
ITV HD is subject to regional variation. ITV HD is not available where STV HD or UTV HD is available.
Catch Up TV: Catch Up TV content available for up to 7 days or up to 30 days after broadcast, depending on content.