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Dec won fans over last night as he bravely took on hosting duties for Saturday Night Takeaway alone, following Ant's drink driving incident last Wednesday.
With last week's episode cancelled, last night's show was the first since news broke that Ant would be returning to rehab.
According to the Sun, it was the most watched episode of the series, with a peak of 8.6 million viewers - which is 700,000 up from the last time he appeared on the show with Ant.
Initially, there was much speculation about who could fill Ant's shoes to host alongside Dec - with Scarlett Moffatt thought to be stepping up to the plate - but eventually it was revelead that Dec would be bravely tackling the job alone.
After the show aired, Dec tweeted to not only thank fans for their support, but also to confess that he'd understandably had a fairly restless night beforehand.
Writing from the official Ant and Dec Twitter account, he said:
Fans then filled Dec's replies with love and praise.
One wrote: "You smashed it! Well done, it must have [been] the hardest night in your career tonight but you did yourself, Ant and your family proud. Wishing Ant better soon - you have the nation behind you!"
Another said: "Get lots of rest knowing you did Ant proud. You're very loved by the great British public who will support you through this until the day the dynamic duo return to the screens. Well done Dec."
Throughout the evening he also had support and praise from many famous pals, including Amanda Holden:
Sending our love tonight #GoDec @antanddec @itvtakeaway pic.twitter.com/BjGdMCPe5v
- Amanda Holden (@AmandaHolden) March 31, 2018
Saturdays singer Mollie King wrote: "I think the whole country is behind Dec tonight... What a great show it's been"
"Bloody Dec! Knew he'd nail it. Well done buddy," wrote Dermot O'Leary.
Alan Shearer said: "Well done Dec. You were brilliant as usual!"
Piers Morgan also said: "And then there was one... Good luck, Dec. Tough night but we're all rooting for you mate."
Singer and presenter Aled Jones also praised Dec, writing: "Great job pal - well done."
A show insider told the Sun that SNT bosses have been torn in regards to how to address Ant's absence, with that proving to be the 'hardest part' of the planning.
The nation had been wondering how he would address the fact that he was hosting alone - and bosses were reportedly toying with three different options: Dec apologising for Ant's absence and referencing the drink-drive incident, sending a goodwill message to his best mate in rehab or not addressing it at all but joking about presenting on his own.
In the end, Dec kept it classy and made a light joke about the whole scenario.
"I've got twice the amount of work to do, so we're going to crack on," Dec said, before moving on quickly to explain what tonight's show had in store.
As Dec made his entrance the crowd gave him a standing ovation for going at it alone.
Stephen Merchant also congratulated Dec for the news that he and his wife Ali are expecting their first child.
Featured Image Credit: ITV
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