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Ant and Dec were "apprehensive" continuing Britain's Got Talent without David Walliams

There's a new judge in town as Bruno Tonioli joins the panel

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 08: Britain's Got Talent presenters Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly pose during the
Britain's Got Talent hosts Ant and Dec (Dominic Lipinski/Getty Images)

Britain's Got Talent hosts Ant and Dec have admitted they were apprehensive to continue the show without David Walliams.

The award-winning Geordie duo are currently filming the latest series of the ITV talent competition, where this year they have a new face in the shape of former Strictly judge, Bruno Tonioli.

Read more: Alesha Dixon says she'll miss David Walliams 'dearly' as he exits Britain's Got Talent

Tonioli marks the first big major shake-up of the series line up in 10 years.

Speaking about the new line-up, Ant McPartlin said he's still in touch with Walliams and "misses him", telling HuffPost: “We text a lot, we see him socially, so we were really kind of apprehensive about starting this new series.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: (L-R) Bruno Tonioli, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell with  Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly attend the Britain's Got Talent 2023 Photocall at London Palladium on January 27, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Britain's Got Talent's Bruno Tonioli, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell with Ant and Dec (Karwai Tang/WireImage)

"But on the first day of auditions, we thought, ‘we’ve got to just treat Bruno like the new guy and be kind to him’. And he was really nervous."

Walliams didn't return to his position on the show after recordings of him making rude and nasty remarks about contestants during the 2020 series surfaced.

Read more: Bruno Tonioli responds 'that's showbusiness' to claims he beat Alan Carr to BGT job

In transcripts shared by The Guardian, he said of one contestant: “She’s like the slightly boring girl you meet in the pub that thinks you want to f**k them, but you don’t."

Other comments saw him swear about an elderly couple who had joked about him during an unsuccessful audition.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: Judge Bruno Tonioli attends the Britain's Got Talent 2023 Photocall at London Palladium on January 27, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Shane Anthony Sinclair/Getty Images)
Bruno Tonioli as Britain's Got Talent 2023 judge (Shane Anthony Sinclair/Getty Images)

In a statement released shortly afterwards, Walliams said: “I would like to apologise to the people I made disrespectful comments about during breaks in filming for Britain’s Got Talent in 2020.

"These were private conversations and – like most conversations with friends – were never intended to be shared. Nevertheless, I am sorry.”

An ITV spokesperson added: “We do not condone the language outlined in these allegations, and we have spoken to the producers of Britain’s Got Talent.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 19: (L-R) David Walliams, Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon attend the Britain's Got Talent 2020 photocall at London Palladium on January 19, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/WireImage)
David Walliams with the Britain's Got Talent team in 2020 (Jeff Spicer/WireImage)

Filming for the new series got underway in January 2023, with Tonioli already causing a stir by accidentally pressing the golden buzzer more than the one time he's allowed.

He later revealed he didn't understand the concept of the special buzzer, which automatically sends a contestant through to the live show. All judges are typically given the opportunity to use it once, with Ant and Dec also getting a decision as well.

Read more: Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway: When is it back? Who are the guest celebs?

In the meantime, Ant and Dec are continuing their reign as the kings of Saturday night TV.

Kicking off the year with quiz show Limitless Win, the pair will be back from this Saturday (25 Feb) with the return of favourite Saturday Night Takeaway.

Britain's Got Talent has yet to be given an airdate, but is expected to arrive after Takeaway ends.

WATCH: Bruno Tonioli has been confirmed as David Walliams’ replacement on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’