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Dec returns to Saturday Night Takeaway studio for first time without Ant

The star will present Takeaway with regulars Scarlett Moffatt and Stephen Mulhern

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Declan Donnelly has returned to the Saturday Night Takeaway studios to rehearse ahead of this weekend's show, which will be the first time he presents the primetime programme without his best friend, Ant McPartlin. Dec took to Twitter to update fans, writing: "Back in studio today preparing your #SaturdayNightTakeaway for tomorrow night. Have a great Good Friday! D x."

The popular TV star was inundated with support from fans, with his post racking up more than 5,000 likes in an hour. His followers tweeted him words of encouragement, with hundreds saying he will "smash" Saturday's show. "Loads of love Dec, will be tuning in, we are all with you," wrote one follower. Another posted: "Good luck Dec - the whole nation is rooting for you!" A third commented: "I'm so excited! I really missed you last week! It’ll all be amazing! I just know it!"

Dec updated fans on Twitter ahead of Saturday's show

Takeaway was pulled off air last week after Ant, 42, was arrested and charged with drink-driving. The presenter had been involved in a three-vehicle collision in Richmond and failed a breathalyser test when he was stopped by police. Dec announced that Takeaway would resume this Easter weekend, with the finale taking place the following week on Saturday 14 April.

MORE: Fans praise Ant's wife Lisa as she breaks Twitter silence

Dec pictured earlier this week

The dad-to-be, who is expecting his first child with wife Ali Astall, said it was only fair on viewers and Orlando ticket winners that the show go on. A few days after Ant's arrest, he tweeted: "Whilst I never thought I'd be in this position, after much discussion and careful consideration we've decided that the remaining two shows of this series of Saturday Night Takeaway will go ahead. We made a promise to take hundreds of deserving winners to Florida to watch the series finale, and we will honour that. Everyone at ITV and the Takeaway team feels we owe it to the audience to complete the series. Dec x."

MORE: Dec hits the gym ahead of solo Takeaway performance

On Saturday night, Dec will be joined by regular hosts Scarlett Moffatt and Stephen Mulhern, who will reportedly help Dec give away more plane tickets to Orlando – a role Ant normally would have done. Paloma Faith will perform at the end of the show, while Stephen Merchant will act as a guest announcer.

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