Very much loved by the British public, they were each awarded the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2016 for services to broadcasting and entertainment.
With a host of television awards to their credit, they are probably best known for presenting the jungle reality show, I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. Their current light entertainment show, Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, won the 2017 British Academy Television Award for best entertainment programme.
When Ant met Dec, it was the late 1980s and the cult television drama series, Byker Grove, was first being broadcast on BBC1. The show, written by Adele Rose and produced by Andrea Wonfor, was aimed at an audience of older teenagers and young adults, featuring some gritty storylines that tackled real issues.
Set in a youth club in the Byker district of Newcastle Upon Tyne, the show made stars of the child actors Anthony McPartlin, born on 18th November 1975, and Declan Donnelly, born on 25th September 1975.
Ant played the role of PJ in 34 episodes and Dec played Duncan in 38 episodes. During the show, in which they played two pals, the duo became firm friends in real life as well. They both left in 1992, although the show continued for 18 series until December 2006.
After leaving Byker Grove, Ant and Dec launched their pop career under the names of their characters, PJ and Duncan. Their first song, a single called Tonight I’m Free, was one they had performed on Byker Grove. It enjoyed some chart success.
They went on to release two albums and their most famous single, Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble, in July 1994 – nominated for a BRIT Award. It enjoyed renewed success in recent years when it was performed at the end of Saturday Night Takeaway.
During their time as recording artists, they released 16 singles and three albums, enjoying chart success in the UK and abroad. They reached the top 10 in Japan and Germany, including a number one hit single in Germany with their cover version of The Everly Brothers’ All I Have to Do is Dream. Their final record was the pop song, Falling, in 1997.
When Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble was performed on Saturday Night Takeaway in March 2013, it rocketed to number one in the UK charts. Ant and Dec donated the money from the re-release to charity.
Ant and Dec became the best-known TV presenters around from the mid-1990s onwards. As a duo, they first presented the Saturday morning kids’ show, Gimme 5, in 1994, on Children’s ITV. The show ran for two series, after which the duo went on to present The Ant & Dec Show on CBBC from 1995 to 1997. They won two BAFTA awards in 1996 for Best Sketch Comedy Show and Best Children’s Show.
They moved on to Channel 4 in 1998 to present the BAFTA award-winning Ant and Dec Unzipped, before returning to ITV to present the Saturday morning shows, CD:UK and SMTV Live. They soon became ITV’s most successful ever Saturday morning shows.
Their first presenting job in prime-time TV was in 1999, when they presented the Saturday evening game show on BBC, Friends Like These, until 2001. They then returned to ITV, where they presented two series of the reality show, Pop Idol.
Biggest hit shows
In 2002, Ant and Dec first created and presented their own television show, Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. This has proved the biggest hit so far. To date, it has run for 15 series, with the most recent being broadcast in early 2018 and currently nearing the end of its run.
They have also been the presenters of Simon Cowell’s ITV reality show, Britain’s Got Talent, since 2007.
In 2002, the first I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here aired on ITV. It has now completed 17 series. Ant and Dec’s cheeky presenting style has been a big part of the show, in which celebrities live in the jungle and face all kinds of challenges, such as the bush tucker trials, where they eat stomach-churning foods.
During their 20-year career in the entertainment industry, Ant and Dec have become some of the most influential people around, launching their own company, Gallowgate Productions TV, which later became Mitre Television.
This led to them being awarded the OBE in 2016. They also hold the record for most National Television Awards, having won a total of 32 during their long career, including Most Popular Entertainment Presenter in 2001 – an award which they have won for six consecutive years from 2003 to 2008.
They also won the prestigious Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award for Saturday Night Takeaway in 2017.
Over the years, their enduring friendship and light-hearted brand of TV presenting has made the British public fall in love with them. They have worked with many famous celebrities, including Simon Cowell, Cat Deeley, Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby and are highly regarded in the industry.
They have stuck together through success and failure and have even bought homes – and holiday homes – not far from each other. Ant and Dec bought homes on the same street in Chiswick, London, and also bought matching holiday villas next door to each other in the luxurious Portuguese golf resort known as Keys, in the Algarve, in 2015.
When Ant met Dec two decades ago, few people could have imagined the massive success the two Newcastle Upon Tyne lads would enjoy during their long career in entertainment.
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