Real reason why Ant and Dec ended ITV Saturday Night Takeaway as duo need 'space' from each other

Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway aired its final episode tonight with fans left heartbroken as hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly bid emotional farewell to viewers after 20 years.

Fans have been left in a state of sadness for almost a year, knowing that the current season would be its last after the Geordie duo broke the news to the world last year that they would conclude the show in 2024.

The popular game-show has been a staple on ITV since 2002, producing over 130 episodes across an impressive 20 seasons but as the old adage goes, all good things must come to an end.

Viewers have been tuning into the last season since February, participating in competitions, watching the live studio audience get involved in comedic game show sketches, and being moved to tears by the Happiest Minute Of The Week segment where the hosts reward a number of good Samaritans with extravagant prizes.

However, all the fun and prize-giving abruptly came to an end during the two-hour live final of Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway on April 13, the Mirror reports.

Many are curious as to why the show has been cancelled and here we take a closer look into all the reasons Ant and Dec have given to explain the end of their beloved show..

Original statement

Ant and Dec left their fans gobsmacked in May when they announced that the 2024 season of Saturday Night Takeaway would be their last for a while.

The beloved presenting duo took to Instagram to break the news with a heartfelt video statement.

Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly (Ant & Dec), winners of the TV Presenter award, pose in the press room at the National Television Awards 2023 at The O2 Arena on September 5, 2023 in London, England.
The iconic Geordie duo announced the show would be going on hiatus last year -Credit:Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty Images

Ant kicked off by saying, "We love making Saturday Night Takeaway, but reaching the milestone of 20 series seemed like the perfect time to pause for a little while and catch our breath."

Dec chimed in with, "We still have a momentous 20th series to look forward to first so we will do our best to go out (for now) with a bang in 2024."

Ant then revealed, "Next year in 2024 it will be the 20th series of Saturday Night Takeaway and we've got some very special look-backs planned, as well as some very exciting new items."

Dec also shared, "And we've also decided that our 20th series next year will be our last one for a little while. The show takes up such a lot of our year, we just feel we need a little bit of a breather, and that the show is going to take a little bit of a rest."

The pair assured their audience that the upcoming final season would be packed with entertainment, hinting that it might not be the ultimate end. Ant had stated, "But before that though, we've got the 20th series to plan."

Family life

In February this year, as the 20th series of Saturday Night Takeaway kicked off, Ant McPartlin delved deeper into why he and Dec Donnelly felt the need to take a hiatus from the show.

Ant McPartlin and Anne-Marie Corbett on their wedding day
Ant recently said that one of the leading reasons the show was ending was so they could spend more time with their families -Credit:WireImage

He disclosed that their desire to spend more time with their families was a driving force behind the decision, as opposed to dedicating their weekends to a live prime-time programme.

Speaking candidly to Fault magazine, Ant shared: "On a more personal level, part of the reason we're pausing Takeaway is we need a break ourselves, and we need to spend some time with our family.

"We've both got children that we need to spend time with for a little bit. We need time to think and, and time to step back and look at the bigger picture and just see where we are now."

Discussing his evolving bond with Dec, Ant reflected: "We started working together when we were 13, and we became friends very quickly.

"But, you know, we're both 49 this year. We're obviously not the same people that we were when we were 13. So throughout our career, you know, we've both changed.

"But being able to maintain that friendship doesn't come naturally. Sometimes you have to work with friendships, and sometimes you have to compromise and sometimes you have to give each other space and time and whatever."

The real reason?

Days before the grand finale, Ant and Dec have once again shared insights into their decision to put their hit show on hold.

Ant and Dec on the set of Ant and Decs Saturday Night Takeaway
The pair said that it felt like the right time for the show to come to an end -Credit:Kieron McCarron/ITV/REX/Shutterstock

Speaking to The Independent, Dec revealed: "Twenty series just feels like a natural point to pause... We don't want to say we'll never do it again.

"But we've both got families now. Our lives have changed dramatically. We want to step off the hamster wheel, catch our breath and decide what's next."

Ant chimed in, saying: "It will be bittersweet, with lots of tears, but it feels like the right thing."

Yet, Dec hinted at the possibility of future seasons, adding: "We still have a momentous 20th series to look forward to first so we will do our best to go out (for now) with a bang in 2024."

Meanwhile, Ant expressed his pride: "To have our own show, with our names in the title, in the heart of primetime felt like a huge feat for two lads from Newcastle."

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