TV and how it keeps people connected

We’re giving you a lowdown of our favourite shows to watch on TV, as more than ever these days during these weird times, TV has kept people connected and gives them structure throughout their day.

Here’s one that Dan particularly loves and looks forward to watching every year:

Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

Saturday Night Takeaway first aired on 8th June 2002.  It’s a fun filled variety show, it had a four year hiatus between 2009 and 2013.

It has had 16 series and 111 episodes including one Christmas Special, up to 2021.

The presenters are Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, two of my favourite TV presenters, as they make each other laugh and they occasionally take the mickey out of each other, but it’s all good fun.

The general format of each episode is a selection of different segments including a series of games, comedy/entertainment films. Participation by an audience member or an unsuspecting member of public and the end of the show show generally performed by a musician or group.

Segments of the show

Throughout its history, there has been different segments of the show, including:

  • An audience Members game from series 5 to 2020- Ant or Dec would pick on someone in the audience over something embarrassing about them.  Ant would usually say what it was and “I think you better come with me” and they would play a specific game and they’d get a prize regardless of the outcome.

  • Ant v Dec – Series 5 to present- this is a competition between Ant and Dec each week on the show where they will take part in an activity that neither of them know about beforehand , the winner of the game takes appoint and at the end of the series the winner is announced with the loser is forced to take a forfeit in the series finale.

  • Ant and Dec-Undercover (Series 2-5 and series 10-present)  This is really funny as they pull a prank on a celebrity involving scripted scenes usually involving a situation going wrong for their target

  • I’m a Celebrity- Get Out of Me Ear-  Series 10 to present – This is also funny as its similar to Undercover, but even funnier as Ant and Dec give a celebrity a concealed earpiece and task them with whatever Ant and Dec say or do ,before unsuspecting members of public. These instructions are often involving saying or doing something stupid or downright silly
  • Singalong Live – (Series 11 – present)  The presenters surprise three unsuspecting viewers, who become contestants in a karaoke-style quiz. Each is tasked with singing a segment of a song that is being sung by its artist, whereupon they must correctly identify a word that is missing from it. If they correctly identify the missing word, the viewer wins £500. The segment was first introduced in the eleventh series.

  • Best Seats In The House/Sofa Watch – (Series 13 – present) These segments focus on viewer participation in a special game that offers a place in the studio audience for the following episode, with the exception of the series’ finale. The segment takes place during the initial minutes of the episodes, in which viewers are shown several sofas hidden in various locations in the UK, as shown by live-streaming via an on-site camera for each sofa. To win a place, the viewers must be within range of the location and be seated on the sofa in order to win when the presenters check to see who has found the sofas at a later stage in the episode

  • Win the Ads – (Series 1 – present)   Often the penultimate segment,  a member of the audience is randomly selected to take part in a quiz to win a series of prizes.  Prior to broadcast, an ITV programme that had been broadcast during the week is randomly selected such as maybe Emmerdale or a drama, whereupon the adverts broadcast during its commercial break(s) are used to create the prizes.  Before the quiz begins, the prizes are placed on a grid, concealed, and randomly rearranged, before being given a number.  The contestant is set a time (usually 60 seconds) to answer as many questions as they can, based on that week’s news stories, with each correct answer allowing the contestant to pick a number as their prize at the end.  After time is up, the contestant is given the option to take their prizes or gamble for the chance of winning all the prizes if they correctly answer one final question.  The segment was originally used during the first series, and featured three people competing for the chance to win up to twenty prizes, with a consolation prize of a toilet roll given to any contestant that gambled and lost. The segment didn’t return until the tenth series, which retained most of the format, but in favour of just having one contestant. From the thirteenth series onwards, the format was amended again, reducing the number of prizes to sixteen and dropping the use of a consolation prize.

  • “End of the Show” Show – (Series 10 – present)  The final segment of an episode, it features an entertainment act. From the first series to the ninth, it was mostly a musical act performing their latest hit in the charts. When the show returned from its hiatus, the segment’s format was changed to become a musical number that would be performed by the presenters alongside a special guest star(s).  These have included: Take That, Bryan Adams

What they also used to do during each of the first 6 episodes in recent years, they would give tickets away to people for the final episode of the series which would be away usually somewhere warm. They’ve ended the series in Walt Disney World in 2017, Florida 2018, cruise ship 2016.  

Obviously for the 2020 series and probably the 2021 series they won’t be able to give tickets away for a plane trip, but in the first episode of the new series there is a giveaway for  viewers.

The amount of episodes in each series has varied from 6 in 2002 to 7 in most recent years.

From 2013-onwards it has usually aired at the middle of February to the beginning of April, but it didn’t always.  For example the first series was June to July, series 2 was January to March , series 3 March to April, series 4 was October to November and Series 5  February to April.

Here’s a couple of videos from previous series if you’ve never seen it or have never had time to watch it:

In summary,  I would say if you get chance this year do watch Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, it’s a fun filled show with lots of things to keep you entertained.

It airs each Saturday night for 7 weeks beginning Saturday February 20th to Saturday 3rd April 2021 at 7pm to 8:30pm.  As Ant and Dec say themselves “It’s the happiest 90 minutes of the week”.

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