Saturday Night Takeaway sparks crazy dash to Woodhorn

Crowds at Woodhorn. Picture from ITV
Crowds at Woodhorn. Picture from ITV

Queues of traffic, abandoned cars on the roadside and hoards of people sprinting – TV fans raced to Woodhorn Museum to try to grab a seat on the Saturday Night Takeaway sofa.

Excitement was certainly in the air in and around Ashington last weekend, after producers of the popular show planted the Secret Sofa at the renowned Northumberland attraction.

The sofa at Woodhorn. Picture courtesy of ITV

The sofa at Woodhorn. Picture courtesy of ITV

The aim of the game is for viewers to figure out the settee’s location and then find it for a chance to win a holiday.

And it caused a mad dash, as crowds – some with dressing gowns on – rushed to Woodhorn.

James Boyd, who works at Alnwick Castle, was one of those who raced to the scene.

He said: “It was crazy, but in a good way. We got there in about five minutes after seeing the sofa on TV and already the queue to get in was more than 200 metres long and about 60 people were already by the sofa. So we had no chance.

“On the way there people were leaving the cars by the road side and running to get there. It just goes to show the power of TV.

“Once most realised they weren’t getting in in time lots of people stayed to watch the result. There was lots of good luck shouts and cheers of support could be heard. Once the result was in and the buzz was over people quickly dispersed.

“Police were their to help manage the exit and they did a great job of controlling the sudden surge of traffic.”

Another eye witness, Richard Benjamin Stuart, likened the scenes to a Hollywood blockbuster.

He said: “People were running with their dressing gowns on.

“People abandoning their cars like that bit on Independence Day where the space craft shoots the laser beam down. It was bedlam.”

Deborah Tate, from Woodhorn Museum, said: “We must have had a thousand people on site, appearing through tress and in cars and all sorts.

“They came with great excitement. It was a surreal experience.”

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “Police assisted with a large crowd that had gathered at Woodhorn in Ashington.

“The crowd had gathered due to a segment on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.

“Due to the large number of people, traffic built up and was causing a disruption in the area.

“Other than traffic concerns no other incidents were reported to police and the crowd dispersed shortly after 8.30pm.”

Saturday night’s show was the final episode of the series and was presented by Declan Donnelly, as well as Stephen Mulhern and Scarlett Moffatt. It was broadcast live from Orlando Resort, Florida.