Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, often referred to simply as Saturday Night Takeaway or SNT, is a British television variety show presented and executively produced by Ant & Dec. The show was first broadcast on 8 June 2002 on ITV. It is broadcast live from The London Studios on the South Bank. The format was heavily influenced by previous Saturday night light entertainment shows, most notably Noel's House Party and Don't Forget Your Toothbrush, while individual items often pay homage to Saturday night TV of the past, such as Opportunity Knocks.
Since its launch in 2002, the show was unbeaten for four series in its timeslot until scheduled against Doctor Who on BBC One in March 2005. On 10 September 2005, ITV aired a programme listing the 50 best shows in ITV's 50 years being on air. Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway came second, being beaten by Coronation Street. The show went on hiatus in 2010 after its ninth series to allow Ant & Dec to launch family game shows Ant & Dec's Push the Button and Red or Black?. However, in November 2011, it was announced that Saturday Night Takeaway would return in early 2013.
After winning the award for Best Presenters at the 18th National Television Awards on 23 January 2013, Ant & Dec announced that the show would return on 23 February 2013. An official Saturday Night Takeaway iOS app for iPod, iPhone and iPad was released on 15 February 2013. After the fifth episode of series 10, ITV announced that the show would return for an eleventh series in 2014, owing to the popularity of the tenth run. During the final episode of series 11, Dec confirmed that there would be another series in 2015. The twelfth series began airing in February 2015. During the final episode of series 12, Ant confirmed there would be a 13th series in 2016, which began on 20 February 2016. During episode 6 of Series 13, Ant confirmed there would be a 14th series in 2017.
On 31 October 2013, it was announced that an arena tour of the show would take place in summer 2014. Takeaway on Tour Live visited 12 UK arenas between 6 August and 10 September 2014.
Saturday Night Takeaway won the BAFTA for Entertainment Programme and Ant & Dec won Entertainment Performance for their role in the show in both 2014 and 2015.
Before the titles, a comedy clip is shown, which always climaxes with either Ant or Dec – sometimes both of them or someone else who is there with them – exclaiming "Roll the titles!".Series 1–2, 9–13: Backstage (series 1, 2, 10, 11 and 12 is a funny story before opened item, the entire series 9 and series 13, show 1 is a detail before opening titles.)
Series 3 and 4: Dressing room (series 3, show 1 was set in the pub and series 4, show 1 was a dream sequence)
Series 5 and 6: Outside dressing rooms
Series 7 and 8: "London Studios Canteen" (series 8, show 1 was set in the control room and series 8, show 6 also included a pub)
From the majority of series 13, the pre-titles clip was dropped and replaced by an opening performance from that night's musical guest.
From series 1–4, Dec knocks on Ant's door to tell him it is time for the show to start. They then run through vast amounts of multi-coloured brick walls and they get exhausted, before one more run, jumping into the title screen.
From series 5–9, the titles begin with Ant & Dec running down a street at dusk and leaping onto the side of a house. They then leap onto the side of another house and run past its window, though Ant temporarily stops to admire an attractive woman in a towel and wearing a face mask. Dec pulls him forward and they jump off the edge again, this time over a motorway and at first appearing to land face down on the ground, but they are actually on the side of the building opposite where they just jumped off. It is dark by this time and they start running up the second building as it were a horizontal platform, before emerging at the top. Ant somersaults onto the top of a final building and Dec spins round onto it. After landing, they look at each other as if to say "never again!". They enter through a "STUDIO" door with the words "ON AIR" on both sides of it. STUDIO and the two ON AIRs light up as Ant & Dec enter through the door and then the camera zooms out to reveal that the studio door is on the "&" of a giant "ANT & DEC's SATURDAY NIGHT TAKEAWAY".
From series 10–12, the titles begin with Ant & Dec coming out of a barber's shop in the middle of the day. Ant pulls a napkin off of Dec's collar and they walk past a few people, including a milkman and a girl in a yellow jacket. The duo smile at each other and then a series of motorbikes go past, but the drivers stop to let Ant & Dec on the passenger seat of one bike each, in order to ride them to the Saturday Night Takeaway studio. They ride past a large billboard with that week's guest announcer/guest performer(s), who wave(s) to them and Ant & Dec wave back. After the motorbikes pass over the Tower Bridge, Ant & Dec get off and wave goodbye to the riders. They run halfway down a set of stairs which are lit up, and meet six attractive female dancers – three on the left next to Ant and three on the right next to Dec. Dec has a quick dance but Ant just stares at them and laughs. He pulls Dec away and they run down the rest of the stairs. The scene then cuts to them arriving at The London Studios. They run inside and the camera shoots up to the roof area, where the show's logo appears.
From series 13 the same titles were used but feature a revised logo and changes to the colour scheme of some of the lights – now turquoise instead of gold. On the final show of the series, the theme tune was changed to fit with the show being broadcast live from the deck of the ship MV Britannia in Barcelona. The final portion of the titles was also adjusted to Ant & Dec running onto the ship instead of them running into the studio. For the finale of series 14, the final portion of the titles is to be adjusted to Ant & Dec running towards Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Park.
At the start of each show, Ant & Dec always perform a short comedy sketch, usually based on something that has happened in the news recently: e.g. when a celebrity complained after a reporter tried to photograph them on their holidays, Ant pretended to get angry with the camera crew and demanded they stop filming. The cameras were briefly switched off while Dec tried to calm Ant down and when they came back on, Ant & Dec had switched jackets. After the sketch, they announce what's coming up on the show and then Ant goes up into the audience and starts talking to some of them. He usually picks on two or three people and says something embarrassing about them and then picks on a third or fourth person and announces that they will be playing a game live in the studio by saying " I think you better come with me, as we play...". A lot of research goes into these games and they involve the person's family and friends.
Takeaway on Tour was announced on 31 October 2013 and was a co-production between James Grant Live, Ant & Dec and ITV Studios. Kim Gavin, who was artistic director on the Olympic and Paralympic closing ceremonies, fulfilled the same role on the tour. Ashley Roberts appeared at every show to host "Ant vs. Dec"
Due to popular demand, extra dates were added on 28 November 2013 and some dates were moved.
The full dates for Takeaway on Tour Live were:
A board game of the show was released in 2016, under licensing by Paul Lamond Games.
A Finnish version titled Huuma ("Enchantment") aired on MTV3 from 2005 to 2009.
On 11 January 2008, a Chinese version named 快乐2008（"Friday Night Takeaway") premiered on Hunan TV, hosted by He Jiong and Ma Ke.
On 29 August 2008, a German version named Die Sonja & Dirk Show premiered on RTL Television, hosted by Sonja Zietlow and Dirk Bach, who also presented the German version of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!. Featured segments included Win the Ads, Little Sonja and Dirk, The Mouse Trap and Beat Sonja & Dirk. The show ended in 2012, due to Bach's death. An earlier version of the show intended to air on Sat.1 was cancelled after one episode in 2005.
On 10 May 2014, a Portuguese version named Sabadabadão premiered on SIC, co-produced with FremantleMedia. It was hosted by Júlia Pinheiro and João Baião. The show ended on 2 August 2014.
On 27 October 2014, it was announced that an American version of the series would be produced for NBC, and hosted by Neil Patrick Harris; the series was greenlighted and added to the schedule as a Tuesday night entry for the 2015–16 television season under the title Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris (a.k.a. Best Time Ever). The show premiered on 15 September 2015 and ended on 3 November 2015. On 15 December 2015, it was announced that the show had been cancelled.
On 15 January 2015, it was announced that a French version of the series would air on M6 from 11 February 2015, hosted by Guillaume Pley and Jerome Anthony. The title is Tout Peut Arriver ("Anything Could Happen"). The show performed poorly in the ratings and was quickly cancelled. The final episode was aired on W9.
In October 2015, it was announced that an Australian version of the series would be produced for the Seven Network. It will air on Sundays and will be called Sunday Night Takeaway.