Declan Donnelly visited Ant McPartlin’s home for an emotional reunion after ITV confirmed he would be flying solo for the remaining two episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway.
The best friends will be split up for the first time in their 30-year joint career, despite both of them previously vowing never to work without the other.
Dec was spotted heading to Ant’s front door in Chiswick, west London, which is just around the corner from his own luxury pad he shares with wife Ali Astall.
He was seen smiling as he arrived by car outside Ant’s home, but later left with a glum expression on his face and dark sunglasses covering his eyes.
(Image: TIM ANDERSON)
No doubt the pair were talking about the events running up to ITV’s decision to pull the upcoming SNT episode from broadcast – and allow Dec to present the penultimate and final shows of the series without his wingman.
An ITV spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon: “We can confirm that Saturday Night Takeaway, presented by Declan Donnelly, will return to ITV on March 31, and the series finale will be taking place at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida a week later.”
It lays to rest speculation the final three episodes of SNT would be scrapped altogether after ITV decided to pull this Saturday’s, March 24, from broadcast schedules.
(Image: TIM ANDERSON)
Dec released his own solo statement at the same time as ITV’s.
It read: “Whilst I never thought I’d be in this position, after much discussion and careful consideration we’ve decided that the remaining two shows of this series of Saturday Night Takeaway will go ahead.
“We made a promise to take hundreds of deserving winners to Florida to watch the series finale, and we will honour that.
“Everyone at ITV and the Takeaway team feels we owe it to the audience to complete the series.”
He finished off with a simple: “Dec x.”
The stark statement seemed to hint at Dec’s disappointment after his best friend was arrested on Sunday afternoon.
It’s the first time either one of them has broken away from their 30-year joint career and friendship.
(Image: WENN.com) Ant and Dec (Pic:Rex Features)
They’d previously vowed never to perform solo because their friendship was at the heart of their success.
In their 2010 autobiography Ooh! What A Lovely Pair, Ant wrote of a pact they’d made early on in their joint careers.
“We made an agreement – whatever happened, we’d be mates for ever and neither one of us would ever be on our own out there,” he said.
“If it all ended tomorrow, we’d still speak ever day, we’d still see each other all the time and we’d still be best mates.
Saturday Night Takeaway’s live final is in jeopardy after Ant’s drink-drive arrest as it could see him banned form the USA (Image: REX/Shutterstock)
“And that’s something we’re both very proud of.”
Dec agreed, adding: “Throughout it all, we’ve always had one constant that’s kept us sane – each other. In two decades, we’ve never spent more than two weeks apart.
“Some people might not understand it but our friendship is a massive, massive part of where we are today.”
Meanwhile, Ant McPartlin has been questioned under cation at a police station three days after his arrest on suspicion of drink-driving.