Declan Donnelly's first solo show in 30 years proved a triumph for him - and Ant. Being half as good as Ant & Dec together meant they came out winners on Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway (without Ant), by Jim Shelley

Mail Online | 4/1/2018 | Jim Shelley for MailOnline
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So now we know what watching Ant & Dec's like when it's just Dec: only half as good!

Who knew eh?

Powers-That-Be - ITV - Declan - Donnelly - Ant

Not the Powers-That-Be at ITV obviously but most of us could have told them without needing to see Declan Donnelly presenting Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway (Without Ant).

We didn't really need to wait 30 years to be sure either.

SMTV - Live - Pop - Idol - Britain

SMTV Live, Pop Idol, Britain's Got Talent, and I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here had given us more than enough clues.

That's not to say that Dec came out of it badly. The most famous names on television would give their right arm to be 50% as good as Ant & Dec.

Palaver - Build-up - Show - Donnelly - Debut

Despite all the palaver in the build-up to the show, Donnelly's debut as a solo performer was fine.

This was perfectly predictable of course.

Viewers - Dec - Car-crash - Variety - Time

Any ghoulish viewers tuning in hoping to see Dec have a car-crash of his own (of the creative variety this time) were always destined to be disappointed (and deservedly so).

Admittedly he looked (understandably) apprehensive at the beginning.

Showbiz - Byker - Grove - ITV - Ant

But having been in showbiz since he was 12 (doing Byker Grove with, yes you guessed it ITV, Ant McPartlin), Dec was far too slick to have ever contemplated anything other than making Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway (Without Ant) a success.

What he didn't have was Ant, and so Ant & Dec – the nation's most popular double act since Morecombe & Wise.

Ant - Dec - Course

Ant & Dec was what we all wanted of course and he did too I imagine.

McPartlin may have royally screwed things up for him with his recent arrest for drink-driving – and subsequent unofficial 'suspension' but Dec's first reference to what half the country was talking about (and watching for) had enough warmth to suggest he was sticking by his mate.

Welcome

'Thank you for that very warm welcome !' he...
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