Ant and Dec get celeb tributes as Saturday Night Takeaway ends

Ant and Dec finally called time on their ITV variety show spectacular, with Amanda Holden and Cat Deeley among those saying goodbye.

Ant and Dec said farewell to viewers on the final Saturday Night Takeaway. (ITV)
Ant and Dec said farewell to viewers on the final Saturday Night Takeaway. (ITV)

Celebrity TV fans have paid tribute to the continued success of Ant and Dec in the wake of the blockbuster final episode of the weekend variety show Saturday Night Takeaway. After more than 20 years, they've earned it.

More than four million people watched the final episode of the 20th series, with the Geordie presenting duo set to rest the show for a while after the latest run. Of course, Saturday Night Takeaway could return in the future, and the boys haven't ruled it out.

Since the anarchic show first arrived on our screens in 2002, it has been Ant and Dec's flagship TV project, securing dozens of awards and routinely pulling in millions of viewers.

Unsurprisingly, Saturday Night Takeaway has plenty of famous fans, with Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies among those posting social media farewells to the show this weekend.

On Instagram, Davies wrote that he'd enjoyed the "magnificent finale" to "one of my favourite shows in the world".

Under Davies' post, comedian and actor Chris Addison — best known for his role in The Thick of It and as a regular on Mock the Week — wrote: "Best thing on telly. The purest joy. I love it so much."

BBC Morning Live vet Dr James Greenwood also joined the love-in, writing that he found himself "sobbing" during the presenters' goodbye speeches at the end of the programme.

Ant and Dec posted their own farewell message on Instagram, with plenty of celeb fans commenting to provide their own messages of goodwill. Among them, Olly Murs — who made an appearance during a prank segment on the final episode — said: "This show will go down in history as one of the greats".

Ant and Dec's former SMTV Live colleague Cat Deeley wrote "well played" with a string of heart emojis, while Amanda Holden kept it simple by writing just "the best". This Morning's Josie Gibson said that appearing on the final episode was "one of the best nights of my life".

More than 300,000 people have already liked Ant and Dec's Instagram post, which echoed the duo's heartfelt thanks to the viewers who have kept the show alive.

Fighting back tears in his final speech on the air, Dec said: “When we started this back in 2002, we thought we’d be lucky if we got to do this for maybe a couple of years, so what’s happened has honestly been beyond our wildest dreams.

"We have truly adored every second of making the show, but there’s one thing we’ve never ever forgotten, and that’s the fact it’s not our show – it’s your show. So we’d like to say a massive thank you to you, our incredible audience."

Watch: Ant and Dec perform final 'End of the Show' show

Ant and Dec's final show included plenty of nostalgic clip packages journeying back through the history of Saturday Night Takeaway, with some of the victims of the duo's famous pranks having the chance to earn redemption.

Of course, the Geordie lads won't be off our screens for long. In fact, we'll see them again just next week when Britain's Got Talent returns to ITV on Saturday 20 April.

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