The presenter was without his normal sidekick after Ant stepped down from his TV commitments when he was charged with drink driving earlier this month.
This was a big deal, as all telly lovers know - the first time he has presented a show without his co-star and best friend Ant McPartlin. "We have lots to cram in and I've got twice the amount of work to do".
Tonight saw the show still go on, albeit with a lonely Declan Donnelly, which broke the hearts of many Ant and Dec fans at home.
Ant was not completely absent from the programme.
Although officially hosting solo, Dec was supported by presenter Davina McCall as part of a new segment related to McCall's own show, This Time Next Year.
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Tonight's Saturday Night Takeaway featured Stephen Merchant on duty as the Star Guest Announcer, and Stephen Mulhern took to the streets of Warrington for In for a Penny.
Earlier in the show, Dec joked that he had to take on extra work as he prepared to present the show solo. "That other bloke was good - you should do some more stuff with him", he joked after Ant made an appearance in Saturday Knight Takeaway.
Once he was in his stride - and perhaps had caught a glimpse of the avalanche of love coming his way on social media - Dec well and truly smashed it. His wife, Ali Astall, also paid tribute to her husband in a rare tweet, writing: "I'm incredibly proud of my husband".
"@SamdySonxxxxx posted: "@antanddec @itvtakeaway Dec you did yourself & Ant proud, it was a fabulous but emotional show, keep smiling. looking forward to next week".
Ant has checked himself back into rehab following his drink-driving charge, he is set to appear in court on April 4.