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Ant & Dec are an English TV presenting duo, consisting of Anthony McPartlin OBE (born 18 November 1975) and Declan Donnelly OBE (born 25 September 1975), from Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Formed after their meeting as actors on CBBC's drama, Byker Grove, they performed together as pop musicians PJ & Duncan, the names of their characters from Byker Grove. The duo have since led successful careers as television presenters, best-known for currently hosting Ant & Dec's Saturday Night TakeawayI'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, and Britain's Got Talent. Previous hosting credits include SMTV LiveCD:UKFriends Like ThesePop IdolPokerFace, Push the ButtonRed or Black?, and Text Santa. They presented the annual Brit Awards in 2001, 2015 and 2016. In a 2004 poll for the BBC, Ant & Dec were named the eighteenth most influential people in British culture. In addition to presenting, the duo are actors and both had leading roles in the 2006 film Alien Autopsy. They have been television producers, and have their own production company, Mitre Television. When appearing together, they normally position themselves so that Ant is on the viewer's left, and Dec on the right.

BackgroundEdit

McPartlin and Donnelly met while working on the BBC children's drama Byker Grove in 1989. After a shaky start, they soon became best friends. They have achieved such popularity as a duo that they are hardly seen apart on screen. It is reported that they are each insured against the other's death, with the amount reportedly being around £1 million.

CareerEdit

ActingEdit

Although Ant had gained some television experience with a brief stint on the children's television series Why Don't You?, which was broadcast on the BBC, Dec was the first of the two to acquire his place on the BBC children's drama Byker Grove. He joined in 1989, playing Duncan. A year later, Ant joined the cast to play PJ (series 2, episode 5). Their friendship began when their storylines collided, creating a friendship both on and off-screen. Dec also played a stable boy in the film adaptation of the novel The Cinder Path in his teenage years. They also went on to co-star in the 2006 sci-fi comedy movie Alien Autopsy.

MusicEdit

After leaving television, the duo turned their hand to pop music. Their first single was a song they performed while part of Byker Grove, entitled Tonight I'm Free. The single had some success, and the duo went on to record two albums under their character names of PJ & Duncan. Their most famous hit during this period was the BRIT Award nominated Let's Get Ready To Rhumble, for which the video and moves were choreographed by Mark Short, who had previously worked with Tina Turner and Peter Andre. For their third album, the duo reinvented themselves under their real names of Ant & Dec. The album featured their signature single "Shout".

During their time, the pair released sixteen singles and three studio albums; however, none of their releases managed to reach number one, with their highest UK chart position being number three. The duo did, however, reach the top ten in Germany and Japan, and even had a number-one single in Germany, with their cover of the Everly Brothers' All I Have to Do Is Dream. Success also struck in other European countries. The duo had a short lived revival in the music industry, releasing a song for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, entitled We're on the Ball. The track peaked at No. 3, being beaten by Will Young and Gareth Gates. On 23 March 2013 Ant and Dec performed Let's Get Ready To Rhumble as part of their show Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway which powered the song to number one on the UK iTunes chart and on Sunday 31 March 2013 the track was revealed as the Official UK Number 1 single on The Official Chart on BBC Radio 1. All money made from the re-release was donated to charity.

PresentingEdit

Children's televisionEdit

Ant & Dec got their first presenting job in 1994, while they were still releasing music under the alias of PJ & Duncan. They co-presented a Saturday-morning children's show entitled Gimme 5, which was broadcast on CITV. The show only lasted two series before being dropped from the airwaves. In 1995, the duo were once again offered a job on CBBC, this time presenting their own series, entitled The Ant & Dec Show. The series was broadcast from 1995 to 1996, and in 1996, Ant & Dec won two BAFTA Awards, one for 'Best Children's Show' and one for 'Best Sketch Comedy Show'. In 1997, a VHS release, entitled The Ant & Dec Show – Confidential, was made available in shops, and featured an hour of the best bits from two years of the programme, as well as specially recorded sketches and music videos.

In 1997, the duo switched to Channel 4, presenting an early-evening children's show entitled Ant & Dec Unzipped. This show also won a BAFTA, but was dropped from the airwaves after just one series. ITV soon signed the duo in August 1998, and within weeks, were assigned to present ITV1's Saturday morning programmes SMTV Live and CD:UK, alongside old friend Cat Deeley. The duo presented the shows alongside Deeley for three years, becoming the most popular ITV Saturday morning show. The programme's success was the mix of games such as Eat My Goal, Wonkey Donkey and Challenge Ant, sketches such as "Dec Says" and the "Secret of My Success", and the chemistry between Ant, Dec and Cat. Two SMTV VHS releases, compiling the best bits from both shows, were released in 2000 and 2001 respectively. Ant & Dec also starred in the children's TV series Engie Benjy during their time on SMTV.

Ant & Dec made their permanent departure from children's television in 2001 after trying out formats like Friends Like These for BBC One in 2000 and Slap Bang with Ant & Dec for ITV in 2001 (which was basically SMTV in the evening even playing Challenge Ant against adults). They have since said that the main reason they left SMTV was because the Pop Idol live finals were due to begin on Saturday nights on ITV in December 2001.

PrimetimeEdit

Ant & Dec's first primetime presenting job came in the form of BBC Saturday-night game show Friends Like These, which was first broadcast in 1999 and made them known as presenters- a shift change from their acting days. The duo presented four series of the programme between 1999 and 2001. In 2001, the duo's contract with ITV was renewed for a further three years, following their appearances on SMTV Live and CD:UK, and received their first primetime presenting job on the station, presenting brand new Saturday night reality series Pop Idol and down to this success they had to leave SMTV behind. Pop Idol was broadcast for only two series before was replaced in 2004 by The X Factor, to which former Smash Hits editor Kate Thornton was assigned presenting duties.

In 2005, as part of the ITV's 50th birthday celebrations, they were back on television fronting Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon, a celebration of some of ITV's most enduring gameshows from the past 50 years. They hosted The Price Is RightFamily FortunesPlay Your Cards RightBullseyeTake Your Pick!The Golden Shot and Sale of the Century.

In 2002, Ant & Dec created and presented their own show, entitled Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. The show has so far run for fifteen series, with the latest, including the 100th episode, airing in early 2018. The first series was not an overall success, but with the introduction of "Ant & Dec Undercover", "What's Next?", "Ant v Dec" and "Little Ant and Dec", the show became a hit. During the fourth series, Dec broke his arm, thumb and suffered a concussion whilst completing a challenge for the 'Ant vs. Dec' segment of the show. The incident involved learning how to ride a motorbike and jumping through a ring of fire. During the challenge, Dec failed to pull hard enough on the throttle of the bike, causing it to topple over and sending him flying through the air. The accident caused the pair to miss the Comic Relief charity telethon of 2005. In 2006, the first episode of series five saw the duo abseil down the side of the 22-storey high London Studios, where the show was filmed. Two DVDs, a best-bits book and a board game of the series were released during 2004. The show was rested after 2009 as Ant & Dec said they were running out of ideas and it became stale, as many of the popular features such as "Little Ant & Dec" and "Undercover" were dropped. Saturday Night Takeaway returned in 2013 and was a massive success; Ant & Dec resurrected previous hit features such as "Undercover", "Little Ant and Dec" (albeit with a new Little Ant and Dec) Win the Ads and Ant v Dec, with new host Ashley Roberts. They also brought in new features such as the Supercomputer, Vegas or Bust, the End of the show 'show' where Ant and Dec perform with an act such as Riverdance or an Orchestra, and "I'm a Celebrity, get out of my ear!" where they have an earpiece in a celebs ear and they tell them what to do while being filmed by secret cameras. The series was such a success that ITV recommissioned it for 2014 even before the 2013 series ended.

In August 2002, Ant & Dec fronted I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!. They drew their highest viewing figures to date in February 2004: nearly 15 million tuned in to watch the third series. In May 2006, they were assigned to present coverage of the charity football match Soccer Aid. They were then invited back to present coverage of the second match in September 2008 but have been replaced by Dermot O'Leary from 2010 as the match clashed with Britain's Got Talent. In June 2006, they announced they had created a new game-show format for ITV, entitled PokerFace. The show featured members of the public gambling high stakes of money in an attempt to win the ultimate prize. The first series began airing on 10 July 2006, and was aired for seven consecutive nights. The second series was broadcast in early 2007, and saw a move to a prime-time Saturday slot. Ratings for the series fell to below 3.5 million, and the series was subsequently axed in March 2007. A board game of the format was released in 2008.

In April 2007, the duo signed a two-year golden handcuffs deal with ITV, reportedly worth £40 million, securing their career at the station until the end of 2009. In June 2007, they were offered the job of presenters on new ITV reality platform Britain's Got Talent by Simon Cowell. The series features contestants aiming to win £100,000 and spot on the bill at the Royal Variety Performance, while performing and being judged by Cowell, actress Amanda Holden and former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan. The series was highly successful, drawing in nearly 12 million viewers, and led to the pair continuing to operate as hosts for future series, along with continual appearances in a regular feature on the ITV2 spin-off show Britain's Got More Talent.

The pair filmed a series of six episodes for a new American game show, Wanna Bet?, in November 2007. The episodes was broadcast in 2008, but failed to attract enough interest for a second series to be commissioned. What You Wrote, another format created by the duo, was due to air in Autumn 2008 but was reportedly axed by ITV. In 2010, the duo debuted a replacement for Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, entitled Ant & Dec's Push the Button. The series was a success albeit not in the same way as Saturday Night Takeaway, and a second run of the programme was broadcast in 2011 but Ant and Dec later dropped the show in favour of reviving Saturday Night Takeaway.

Ant & Dec have also presented the game show Red or Black?, a creation of Cowell's, airing live on ITV in 2011 with a second series in 2012, but this was not a ratings success and was cancelled after the second series. On 24 December 2011, they presented ITV's charity initiative Text Santa with Holly Willoughby. Text Santa returned in 2012, 2013 and 2014 with Ant & Dec co-hosting alongside Christine Bleakley, Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby, Alesha Dixon and Paddy McGuinness.

In January 2016, Ant and Dec presented When Ant and Dec Met The Prince: 40 Years of The Prince's Trust, a one-off documentary for ITV. In 2016, they also presented The Queen's 90th Birthday Celebration, broadcast live on ITV.

In November 2016 the pair signed a new three-year deal with ITV estimated to be worth £30 million.

Other activitiesEdit

In 2006, a celebration of the show Spitting Image saw Ant and Dec having their own puppets made. They have also been made into cartoon characters on the comedy show 2DTV, and face masks in Avid Merrion's Bo Selecta. Waxworks of the duo could once be found in London's Madame Tussauds.

In April 2008, it was reported that Ant & Dec's production company, Gallowgate Productions, had purchased the rights to Byker Grove and SMTV Live, after the production companies that made them, Zenith Entertainment and Blaze Television, had both gone bankrupt in 2007. According to reports, the duo decided to purchase the rights to stop digital channels showing repeats of the programmes. On 28 September 2008, it was reported that the pair were attacked by the Taliban whilst in Afghanistan to present a Pride of Britain Award.

In December 2008, the duo starred in a seasonal advert, their first in seven years, for the supermarket chain Sainsbury's. The duo appeared alongside chef Jamie Oliver. In March 2009, the duo filmed a short film for inclusion on Comic Relief, which highlighted their story upon visiting a community centre for young carers in the North East. In September 2009, the duo released their official autobiography, entitled "Ooh! What a Lovely Pair. Our Story". In October 2010, the duo appeared in several Nintendo adverts playing both the Wii and Nintendo DS.

In 2011 and 2014, they both appeared on the ITV2 comedy panel show Celebrity Juice. From February 2013 to March 2015 they appeared in adverts for supermarket Morrisons. Between February 2016 and March 2018, they had appeared in adverts for car company Suzuki.

In 2015, the pair made a cameo appearance on the U.S. adaptation of Saturday Night Takeaway, NBC's Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris. The duo are also executive producers on the show.

OBEsEdit

On 10 June 2016 it was announced that the duo would be awarded OBE status by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at an investiture later that year. The pair said they were both "shocked, but incredibly honoured." Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly collected their awards for services to broadcasting and entertainment at Buckingham Palace from Prince Charles on 27 January 2017. Following the brief ceremony, the pair said:

  • "We're humbled and honoured and ecstatic about the whole thing. We hope it can inspire young people from backgrounds like ours that things like this do happen to us sometimes. Put your head down and work hard and you can achieve what you want. You can end up in Buckingham Palace."

On 23 January 2019, the duo were awarded the Guinness World Record for “the most National Television Awards won consecutively for Best Presenter”.

Guinness World RecordEdit

ControversiesEdit

Law firm Olswang were commissioned to investigate the 2005 British Comedy Awards when the producers overturned the voting public's first choice, The Catherine Tate Show in favour of Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway for the People's Choice Award. The incident was also the subject of an investigation by media regulator Ofcom.

Following allegations of fraud in 2007, an investigation by auditors Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu discovered that two shows, Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, had defrauded viewers participating in phone-ins. The programmes were subject to a further investigation by Ofcom which found that between January 2003 and October 2006 Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway had:

  • selected competition finalists before the telephone lines were announced as closed
  • staggered the selection of competition finalists which meant that viewers entering the competition did not have a fair and equal chance of winning
  • selected finalists on the basis of their suitability to be on television and where they lived
  • selected an individual already known to the production team to be placed on the shortlist of potential winners and who went on to win the competition.

Between September and October 2005, Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon had:

  • on six occasions in the Prize Mountain competition, selected winners based on their suitability to be on screen
  • failed to account for almost half of the competition entries

The pair were ridiculed for their alleged participation in the fraud on the front cover of the satirical magazine Private Eye.

On 10 September 2008, Ant & Dec announced that the frauds "will never happen again", insisting that a "high-tech system" and strict rules will ensure viewers cannot lose out with poorly monitored premium rate phone lines.

On 30 September 2008, it was reported that Ant & Dec were being sued for $US 30 million by Greek American stand-up comedian and actor ANT for using the name 'Ant' in the United States. The lawsuit, among other things, alleges trademark infringement and fraud. The suit was dismissed in May 2010. The pair have had a UK registered trademark for 'Ant & Dec' in the category of 'Entertainment services' since 2003.

ActingEdit

They have, albeit infrequently, returned to acting. They played themselves in the film Love Actually (in which Bill Nighy's character addressed Dec as "Ant or Dec"). They have returned to their Geordie roots in a one-off tribute to The Likely Lads and also by returning to Byker Grove for Geoff's funeral.

In 1998, the pair starred in the pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Sunderland's Empire Theatre alongside Donnelly's partner at the time Clare Buckfield. The show was financially unsuccessful, making £20,000 less than it cost to stage, with the duo footing a large share of the shortfall.

Ant & Dec's most recent acting appearance was in the film Alien Autopsy released in April 2006. The film gained positive reviews with critics praising the pair's acting performance, but lost more than half of its budget at the box office. It has since gained a cult following from fans of the pair. In 2013, they reprised their roles as P.J and Duncan on Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.

AwardsEdit

1994

  • Brit Award Nomination – Best Song: "Let's Get Ready to Rhumble"

1995

  • Brit Award Nomination – British Breakthrough
  • Royal Television Society Awards- The Ant and Dec Show

1996

  • British Academy Children's Awards: Children's Entertainment Show (The Ant and Dec Show)

1997

  • Nominated – British Academy Children's Awards: Children's Entertainment Show (The Ant and Dec Show)

1998

  • British Academy Children's Awards: Children's Entertainment Show (Ant and Dec Unzipped)

2000

  • British Academy Children's Awards: Children's Entertainment Show (SMTV Live)
  • TV Choice Awards: Best Children's Show (SMTV Live)
  • Royal Television Society Awards: Best Children's Entertainment Programme (SMTV Live)
  • TV Hits Awards: Best Teen Show (CD:UK)
  • Loaded Carling Good Work Fellas Awards: Best Double Act
  • British Comedy Awards: The People's Choice (SMTV Live)

2001

  • TV Choice Awards: Best Children's Show (SMTV Live)
  • Broadcast Awards: Best Children's Programme (SMTV Live)
  • Royal Television Society Awards: Best Television Presenters
  • Disney Channel Awards: Kids Awards (The Ant and Dec Show)
  • Nominated – British Academy Children's Awards: Best Children's Entertainment Show (SMTV Live)

2002

  • Nominated – British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (Pop Idol)
  • British Academy Children's Awards: Children's Entertainment Show (SMTV Live)

2005

  • Nominated – British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!)

2006

  • British Comedy Awards: Best Comedy Entertainment Personality
  • British Comedy Awards: Best Comedy Entertainment Programme

2007

  • Nominated – British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway)

2008

  • TV Quick & TV Choice Awards: Best Entertainment Show (Saturday Night Takeaway)
  • Nickelodeon UK Kids Choice Awards 2008: Favourite Funny Person, Best TV presenters and Best Family TV show (Britain's Got Talent)

2009

  • TV Quick & TV Choice Awards: Best Entertainment Show (Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway)
  • TV Quick & TV Choice Awards:Outstanding Contribution Award
  • Nominated – British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!)

2010

  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!)
  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Programme (Britain's Got Talent)

2012

  • Freesat: Best TV Presenter(s)

2013

  • TRIC Awards: TV Personality of the Year
  • TRIC Awards: TRIC Special Award (I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!)
  • RTS Awards: Entertainment Performance (I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!)
  • Nominated – British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!)

2014

  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway)
  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Programme (Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway)

2015

  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway)
  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Programme (Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway)

2017

  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Programme (Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway)
  • British Academy Television Awards: Live Event (The Queen's 90th Birthday Celebration)

National Television AwardsEdit

Year Award Show
2001 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
2002 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme Pop Idol
Special Recognition Award
2003 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
Most Popular Reality Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2004 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
2005 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
2006 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Quiz Programme Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon
2007 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
Most Popular Reality Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2008 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
2009 There were no NTAs in 2009
2010 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
2011 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2012 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Reality Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2013 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2014 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
Landmark Award
2015 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2016 Most Popular Entertainment Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
Most Popular TV Presenter
2017 Most Popular Entertainment Programme Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
Most Popular TV Presenter
Challenge Show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2018 The Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
Most Popular TV Presenter
Challenge Show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2019 The Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
Most Popular TV Presenter

NTAs by number wonEdit

Award Won
Most Popular Entertainment/TV Presenter 18
Most Popular Reality Programme 3
Most Popular Entertainment Programme 11
Challenge Show 2
The Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award
Special Recognition Award 1
Most Popular Quiz Programme
Landmark Award

AppearancesEdit

MoviesEdit

  • 2003 - Love Actually
  • 2006 - Alien Autopsy (as Gary Shoefield and Ray Santilli)
  • 2020 - The Secret of the Cave Treasure

TVEdit

  • 1989-1993 - Byker Grove
  • 2002-2009, 2013-2018, 2020- - Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
  • 2007-onwards - Britain's Got Talent
  • 2002-2017, 2019- - I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

VideosEdit

Ant and Dec - Best Bits 2018 Compilation

Ant and Dec - Best Bits 2018 Compilation

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