Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly declared their first Saturday Night Takeaway show without a live audience was ‘a little bit weird’.
The Geordie duo, both 44, opened their ITV show without a crowd, with the scaled back crew stepping in to provide the cheers and applause instead.
Meanwhile, previously billed guest Tom Jones, 79, was replaced by Olly Murs, 35, amid coronavirus fears.
So quiet: Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly declared their first Saturday Night Takeaway show without a live audience was ‘a little bit weird’
In line with government guidelines to practice social distancing in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus, the pair were forced to keep the spirits up with just a handful of crew in support.
As they did their usual opening segment, the camera zoomed out to show a sea of empty seats in the studio.
Commenting on the lack of audience, Dec said ‘it’s a little weird’, while Ant was quick to praise their ‘smaller but still amazing crew’.
However, it was business as usual for the pair as they carried on with true professionalism.
Empty: The Geordie duo, both 44, opened their ITV show without a crowd, with the scaled back crew stepping in to provide the cheers and applause instead
And despite things being eerily quiet, fans at home were quick to heap praise on Ant and Dec for soldiering on and putting a smile on fans faces.
Taking to Twitter, one fan commented: ‘As always, ant and dec keeping the countries spirits high !! Xx’
While another declared: ‘Feels weird watching the show without an audience! Great work so far! Keep up the great work entertaining the UK.’
‘Even when there’s no studio audience and things are different Ant and Dec pull it off, they truly are the best’ wrote a third.
All gone: As they did their usual opening segment, the camera zoomed out to show a sea of empty seats in the studio
With another adding: ‘Ant & Dec are absolutely smashing it – this is what we need, lifting the mood of the nation!.’
While a further person commented on the unusual circumstances, tweeting: ‘Watching Saturday Night Takeaway is like watching a post-apocalyptic world. Humanity is scarse, but a select few still remain.’
Meanwhile, formerly billed guest Tom Jones no longer appeared on the show and was instead replaced by his The Voice UK co-star Olly Murs.
It’s been advised that those who are over 70-years-old should self-isolate, so Olly stepped in to perform during a special End Of The Show Show.
Announcing the news on Friday’s This Morning: ‘Olly Murs is coming down, he’s going to perform with us and he’s going to sing Dance With Me Tonight.
‘Just because you’re in self-isolation we want you dancing, if you film yourself for a minute, in landscape, you can send us your videos and you will be on the screen at the end of the show show tomorrow night.’
Ant and Dec previously insisted they won’t be using canned laughter for their first Saturday Night Takeaway without a live audience.
Speaking on This Morning, Ant and Dec said they just hope to lift viewers’ spirits in a time of uncertainty as a majority of the country enters self-isolation due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Business as usual? Ant and Dec insisted that they won’t be using canned laughter for their first Saturday Night Takeaway without a live audience
Speaking via live link from their Takeaway Studios, Ant and Dec insisted the show will be business as usual even without their audience.
They told Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford: ‘It’s going to be strange, we’re going to do the same as we always do but without an audience! We’ve got loads in the show it’s jam packed.’
‘We are just gonna see how it goes and bring some smiles to peoples faces.’
Big changes: The presenting duo will appear on screens again this weekend, but due to coronavirus fears the show will not have a live audience
Worrying: Ant and Dec insisted their show will still be packed with content despite some of the changes, and said they hope to delight viewers in a time of uncertainty
When asked whether they would use canned laughter during the live show, Ant and Dec insisted they had another plan up their sleeve.
This weekend’s show will also feature the long-awaited Undercover with Bradley Walsh on The Chase, 15 years after they first pranked the star.
Asked why they decided to continue filming despite the outbreak, Ant and Dec said: ‘We wanted to do the show to put a smile on peoples faces because it could be our last one.’
Funny: Elsewhere ahead of their Undercover on Saturday, Ant and Dec shared a hilarious clip on Instagram of their attempts to try on high heels
They also clarified that while they had scaled back their crew, anyone who was still working on the show had come into work of their own choice.
A day earlier, Ant and Dec appealed to fans to send in their dance videos for the End Of The Show Show, as ITV confirmed that their final three episodes of the series would be aired withhold a live audience.
The coronavirus gag scenes on Takeaway at the weekend left some viewers furious, as the comedy duo were joined by a 200-strong live studio audience in the London Television Centre for the night’s episode.
Fashion maven: Ant grabbed a pair of black slingbacks as he joked that the straps are slimming
Ant also jokingly asked for some hand sanitiser before walking down the studio stairs to greet co-host Dec with a foot tap and an elbow bump to laughs from the crowd.
Taking a more serious tone, the pair then addressed the cancellation of the series’ finale episode in Disneyworld, Florida.
Ant said: ‘I’m sure like us you’ve all been following the news, and in the current climate nothing is more important than people’s health.
‘Absolutely,’ added Dec. ‘And because of this we unfortunately won’t be able to bring you the final show of the series from Florida.’
Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway will continues on Saturdays at 7pm on ITV.
Model in the making: The display certainly left one crew member bewildered, as Ant strutted through the wardrobe section backstage in the heels