Ant and Dec fear fans will flash privates in virtual Saturday Night Takeaway audience

ANT McPartlin and Dec Donnelly have revealed they fear their virtual Saturday Night Takeaway audience will try get their attention live on-air by flashing their "private parts".

The pair, both 45, triumphantly returned to the small screen last month with a new series of their beloved show, which featured a virtual wall of viewers in place of a studio audience due to the ongoing pandemic.

And now the presenting duo have admitted that the best way to get their attention during the show is by being "happy and smiley" – and not by doing anything explicit.

Speaking to TV Times, Ant said of their new virtual audience: "It just means that when we used to run into the audience, now we have to run to a virtual screen instead and we can virtual high five.

"The best way to get our attention is to look happy and smiley. "The worst way is private parts. We don't wanna see any of that on Saturday night TV – we'll leave that to Stephen Mulhern!"

Dec added: "It's a bit more difficult to see the audience reactions but we can still see smiling faces and that's enough for us. It's nice to have any kind of audience with us.

"Any kind of flashing would get our attention, but we're not requesting or supporting that kind of action, though."

Their comments come days after Saturday Night Takeaway fans were left speechless when Stephen Mulhern appeared on screen in "bulging" gold shorts.

The 43-year-old, who is a co-host on the ITV show, donned the tight gold bottoms as he appeared on screen covered head-to-toe in gold paint.

Fans were left stunned and took to social media to share their outrage at the TV presenters "bulge" as he left "nothing to the imagination" on the first episode of the new series.

Stephen jumped around on stage in the tight-fitting outfit as he introduced his foot-golf competition that saw Ant and Dec battle it out live.

Introducing the magician as "golden balls", the iconic TV duo were in stitches as they joked Stephen had "overdone it on the fake tan."

Lifting up his shirt to reveal painted-on abs, fans were well and truly distracted and had their eyes fixed on "those shorts".

"Is anyone else witnessing Stephen Mulhern bulging out of his gold shorts?" one fan asked Twitter before adding: "Very revealing."

A second responded: "Those shorts are leaving nothing to the imagination. I'm seeing Stephen Mulhern in a whole different light."

"Do you think Stephen Mulhern is excited to be back on Saturday Night Takeaway?" joked a third. "No wonder Ant has got the giggles…"

Following the ad break, Stephen returned to the screen in a more covered-up pair of joggers with fans suggesting it was "producers orders".

"They definitely had to get Stephen to pop bottoms on because his veg was about to pop out," one viewer concluded.

A peak of 7.7 million viewers tuned in for the opening episode of the series, which featured a virtual wall of viewers in place of a studio audience.

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