Ant & Dec

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Ant & Dec
BornAnthony David McPartlin
(1975-11-18) 18 November 1975 (age 38)
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Declan Joseph Oliver Donnelly
(1975-09-25) 25 September 1975 (age 38)
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
OccupationTelevision presenters, actors, singers
Years active1988–present
AgentJames Grant
TelevisionI'm a Celebrity... (2002–present)
Saturday Night Takeaway (2002–present)
Britain's Got Talent (2007–present)
Text Santa (2011–present)
Website
Official website
 
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Ant & Dec
BornAnthony David McPartlin
(1975-11-18) 18 November 1975 (age 38)
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Declan Joseph Oliver Donnelly
(1975-09-25) 25 September 1975 (age 38)
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
OccupationTelevision presenters, actors, singers
Years active1988–present
AgentJames Grant
TelevisionI'm a Celebrity... (2002–present)
Saturday Night Takeaway (2002–present)
Britain's Got Talent (2007–present)
Text Santa (2011–present)
Website
Official website

Anthony McPartlin (born 18 November 1975) and Declan Donnelly (born 25 September 1975), known collectively as Ant & Dec, are an English comedy and TV presenting duo from Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

The duo first rose to fame as actors on the children's television show Byker Grove, during which and in their subsequent pop career they were respectively known as PJ & Duncan – the names of the characters they played on the show. Since then, they have had a very successful career as television presenters, presenting shows such as SMTV Live, Friends Like These, Pop Idol, Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, PokerFace, Push the Button, Britain's Got Talent, Red or Black?, and Text Santa. They also returned to acting, starring in the 2006 film Alien Autopsy.

Ant is the taller of the two at 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m), and Dec is two inches shorter at 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m). To assist with identification, they follow the 180-degree rule; with the exception of some early publicity shots[1][2] all of their television appearances and publicity photos have Ant on the left and Dec on the right.

They have their own production company[3] Mitre Television where they produce their shows.[4]

Background[edit]

Anthony McPartlin was born on 18 November 1975 and Declan Donnelly was born on 25 September 1975. They met each other while working on the BBC children's drama Byker Grove in 1989. After a shaky start,[5] they soon became best friends.[5] They have achieved such popularity as a duo that they are hardly ever seen apart on screen. It is reported that they are each insured against the other's death, with the amount reportedly being around £1,000,000.[6] Their inseparability has led to them receiving joint nominations for many awards. They are both managed by the James Grant Group.

Career[edit]

Acting[edit]

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. Their friendship began when their storylines collided, creating a friendship off-screen as well as on.[7] Dec also played a stable boy in the adaptation of the novel The Cinder Path in his teenage years.[8]

Music[edit]

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. Later songs included "Why Me?", "If I Give You My Number", "Eternal Love" "Our Radio Rocks", "U Krazy Katz" and a cover of the The Monkees classic "Stepping Stone". 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". "Let's Get Ready To Rumble" made a comeback on Saturday night takeaway on the end of the show.

Their final single release was "Falling", which was the track that subsequently ended their musical career. The track was pulled from the British charts under the instruction of their record label, Telstar Records, after claims of copyright infringement were made, brought about by a pop duo, 'And all because...', who were also managed by Ant and Dec's management team. The duo claimed that Ant & Dec had stolen the song from them and released it without their consent. Subsequently, Telstar Records decided not to renew their existing contract, and they were dropped from the label.

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 #3,[9] 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 The Official Chart on BBC Radio 1. All money made from the re-release was donated to charity.[10]

Presenting[edit]

Children's television[edit]

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.[11] 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 1997, and in 1996, Ant & Dec won two BAFTA Awards, one for 'Best Children's Show' and one for 'Best Sketch Comedy Show'.[12] 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 three years of the programme, as well as specially recorded sketches and music videos.[13]

In 1998, the duo switched to Channel 4, presenting an early-evening children's show entitled Ant & Dec Unzipped.[14] This show also won a BAFTA, but was dropped from the airwaves after just one series.[15] ITV soon signed the duo in August 1998,[16] 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.[17][18]

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.

Primetime[edit]

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. The duo presented four series of the programme between 1999 and 2001.[19] 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 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 Right, Family Fortunes, Play Your Cards Right, Bullseye, Take 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 ten series, with series 11 due to air in 2013. 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 the brilliant "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 May 2002, Ant & Dec took the helm of a further reality series, entitled I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!. The series has been broadcasting on ITV since 2002, and ten series have been broadcast. The duo drew their highest viewing figures to date while presenting the series in February 2004, with nearly 15 million tuning in to watch the climax of the third series. In May 2006, the duo were assigned to present coverage of the charity football match Soccer Aid. The duo 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, the duo 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 the duo's career at the station until the end of 2009.[20] In June 2007, the duo 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, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan. The series was highly successful, drawing in nearly 12 million viewers. A second series was broadcast in May 2008, and drew in nearly 14.5 million viewers.[21] The duo have since returned to present five further series of the show, and have also had 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.[22] What You Wrote, another format created by the duo, was due to air in Autumn 2008 but was reportedly axed by ITV.[23] 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 Takeaway, and a second run of the programme was broadcast in 2011 but Ant and Dec have dropped this in favour of reviving Saturday Night Takeaway.

Ant & Dec have also presented the new 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 series 2. On 24 December 2011, they presented ITV's charity initiative Text Santa with Holly Willoughby. Text Santa returned in 2012 and in 2013 with Ant & Dec as co-hosts alongside Christine Bleakley, Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby and Paddy McGuinness.

Other activities[edit]

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.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26] 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".[27] In October 2010, the duo appeared in several Nintendo adverts playing both the Wii[28] and Nintendo DS.[29]

In 2011 and 2014, they both appeared on the ITV2 comedy panel show Celebrity Juice.

Since February 2013 they have appeared in adverts for supermarket Morrisons.

Controversies[edit]

In 1997, Welsh pop duo 'And all because...' successfully obtained legal aid and filed legal papers against Ant & Dec, along with their management team, record company and producers for copyright infringement over the song "Falling", and this was subsequently Ant & Dec's last single.

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 is also the subject of an investigation by media regulator Ofcom.[30][31]

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:[31][32]

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

One episode of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! was also found to be in breach of Ofcom rules.

The pair were ridiculed for their alleged participation in the fraud on the front cover of the satirical magazine Private Eye.[33]

On 10 September 2008, Ant & Dec announced that the frauds "will never happen again", insisting that a high-tech system[vague] and strict rules will ensure viewers cannot lose out with poorly monitored premium rate phone lines.[34] On 30 September 2008, it was reported that Ant & Dec were being sued for $30 million by Greek American stand-up comedian and actor ANT for using his name in the United States. The lawsuit, among other things, alleges trademark infringement and fraud.[35] The suit was dismissed in May 2010.[36] In October 2009, Kelly Brook claimed that Ant & Dec had been the cause of her removal as the fourth judge on Britain's Got Talent. She claimed that she was asked to leave the show after she upset the pair.[37]

Acting[edit]

They have, albeit infrequently, returned to acting. They played themselves in the film Love Actually[38] (in which Bill Nighy's character referred to Dec as "Ant or Dec"). They have returned to their Geordie roots in a one-off tribute to The Likely Lads[39] and also by returning to Byker Grove for Geoff's funeral.[40][41]

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.[42]

Ant & Dec's most recent acting appearance was in the film Alien Autopsy released in April 2006.[43] 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.[citation needed]

Awards[edit]

In September 2006, they were voted by the general public as number 7 in a poll of TV's 50 Greatest Stars.[44]

1994

1995

2006

2008

2009

2010

2012

2013

National Television Awards[edit]

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Filmography[edit]

Television[edit]

YearTitleRole
1980sWhy Don't You?Anthony McPartlin
1989-1993Byker GrovePJ & Duncan/Actors
1994Gimme 5Guest Presenters/Themselves
1995–97The Ant & Dec ShowPresenters
1995-97The Big BreakfastGuest Presenters
1998Ant & Dec UnzippedPresenters
1998–2001SMTV LivePresenters
CD:UKPresenters
1999–2001Friends Like ThesePresenters
2001Slap Bang with Ant & DecPresenters
2001–03Pop IdolPresenters
2002Engie BenjyVoices
Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?Themselves
2002–09, 13—Ant & Dec's Saturday Night TakeawayPresenters
2002—I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!Presenters
2005Ant & Dec's Gameshow MarathonPresenters
2006, 08Soccer AidPresenters
2006–07PokerFacePresenters
2007—Britain's Got TalentPresenters
Presenters and Guest Judges (2014)
2008Wanna Bet?Presenters
2009Ant & Dec's Christmas ShowPresenters
2010–11Ant & Dec's Push the ButtonPresenters
2011–12Red or Black?Presenters
2011—Text SantaPresenters
2014World's Got TalentPresenters

Films[edit]

YearTitleRole
2003Love, ActuallyThemselves
2006Alien AutopsyGary Shoefield and Ray Santilli respectively

Television advertisements[edit]

YearTitleRole
2000Wispa BiteThemselves
2001Ambrosia SplatThemselves, voice only
2001WoolworthsThemselves
2002McDonald'sThemselves, voices only
2008Sainsbury'sThemselves
2009-11Nintendo Wii & DSThemselves
2013—MorrisonsThemselves

Television idents[edit]

Apps[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Sun archive
  2. ^ Huffington Post archive
  3. ^ "Ant and Dec set up new TV firm Mitre - named after Byker Grove pub | The Sun |Showbiz|TV". The Sun. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  4. ^ A reminder for Sting...Every Able Dad Goes Bald Eventually: How acronyms help you remember things - Daily Mail - 27 November 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  5. ^ a b BBC Tyne – Ant & Dec. Bbc.co.uk (20 May 2008). Retrieved on 5 May 2012.
  6. ^ Ant & Death. Mirror.co.uk (12 September 2006). Retrieved on 5 May 2012.
  7. ^ Ant and Dec Biography. Members.tripod.com (29 August 1998). Retrieved on 5 May 2012.
  8. ^ IMDb listing for The Cinder Path. IMDb.com
  9. ^ World Cup Archive. Everyhit.com. Retrieved on 5 May 2012.
  10. ^ Robertson, James (31 March 2013). "Ant and Dec number one with Let's Get Ready To Rhumble in official UK singles chart". Daily Mirror (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  11. ^ IMDB Gimme 5 Cast &. IMDb.com
  12. ^ Past Winners and Nominees – Children's 1996 BAFTA.org
  13. ^ IMDB – The Ant & Dec Show. IMDb.com
  14. ^ IMDB – Ant & Dec Unzipped. IMDb.com
  15. ^ Past Winners and Nominees – Children's 1998 BAFTA.org
  16. ^ BBC.co.uk – Geordie duo sign new ITV contract. BBC News (24 September 2004). Retrieved on 5 May 2012.
  17. ^ Ant McPartlin (Alien Autopsy, A History Of Tyneside, Engie Benjy – Let's Go Team – Episodes 7 To 13 and Engie Benjy – Makes Things Better!). Lovefilm.com (12 April 2006). Retrieved on 5 May 2012.
  18. ^ Declan Donnelly (A History Of Tyneside, Alien Autopsy, Engie Benjy – Let's Go Team – Episodes 7 To 13 and Engie Benjy – Makes Things Better!). Lovefilm.com (12 April 2006). Retrieved on 5 May 2012.
  19. ^ IMDB – Friends Like These Cast. IMDb.com
  20. ^ Ant and Dec at ITV until 2009 Guardian.co.uk
  21. ^ Britain's Got Talent wins ratings war. Manchester Evening News (1 June 2008). Retrieved on 5 May 2012.
  22. ^ Howdy there, Geordie lads! TheSun.co.uk
  23. ^ Ant & Dec ITV Sunday Axe. Thesun.co.uk (23 March 2008). Retrieved on 5 May 2012.
  24. ^ "Ant & Dec go to Buy-ker Grove?". The Sun. 11 April 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2008. 
  25. ^ Ant and Dec attacked by the Taliban in Afghanistan Mirror.co.uk
  26. ^ Sainsbury's Christmas ad marks Ant and Dec's first commercial in seven years BrandRepublic.com
  27. ^ Ant and Dec | Ooh! What A Lovely Pair! Available to pre-order now! AntnDec.com
  28. ^ Nintendo Wii & DS – Ant & Dec (Saturday Night Takeaway) Love to Meet Real People. kathirvel.com. 23 October 2009
  29. ^ Nintendo Wii & DS – Ant & Dec (Saturday Night Takeaway) Brain Train London Cabbies. kathirvel.com. 22 November 2009
  30. ^ Gibson, Owen (9 May 2008). "And the winners aren't ... Ant and Dec". London: The Guardian. 
  31. ^ a b "Ofcom fines ITV plc for misconduct in viewer competitions and voting" (Press release). Ofcom. 8 May 2008. 
  32. ^ Jefferies, Mark; Nicola Methven (19 October 2007). "Saturday Night FAKEAWAY". Daily Mirror. 
  33. ^ "Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway Your Money!". Private Eye. 26 October 2007. 
  34. ^ Ant and Dec: No rip-offs TheSun.co.uk
  35. ^ Ant and Dec sued for $30m by American 'Ant', who claims the Brits are ruining his career DailyMail.co.uk
  36. ^ ANT v Anthony McPartlin et al – Document 132 Justia US Law
  37. ^ Kelly Brook: Ant and Dec ruined my TV career yahoo.com
  38. ^ Love Actually (2003) – Full Cast & Crew. IMDb.com
  39. ^ The Likely Lads. Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved on 5 May 2012.
  40. ^ BBC Press Office – Byker Grove to close its doors after seventeen years. Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved on 5 May 2012.
  41. ^ PJ & Duncan Return. Youtube.com (29 February 2008). Retrieved on 5 May 2012.
  42. ^ You're Earning A Panto Fortune – Oh Yes You Are Amanda Kelly, Daily Mirror, 7 November 1999
  43. ^ Alien Autopsy (2006). IMDb.com
  44. ^ TV's 50 Greatest Stars. IMDb.com
  45. ^ "h2g2 – Ant and Dec – British Television Presenters". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  46. ^ "British Comedy Awards 2006: The Winners – TV News". Digital Spy. 13 December 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  47. ^ Television – News – British Comedy Awards 2006: The Winners. Digital Spy (13 December 2006). Retrieved on 5 May 2012.
  48. ^ "Ant and Dec top children's awards". BBC News. 14 September 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  49. ^ Ant and Dec's Award Surprise. tv.sky.com. 8 August 2009
  50. ^ "Ant and Dec win trio of TV awards". BBC News. 15 October 2002. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  51. ^ "National TV Awards 2006: Full winners list – TV News". Digital Spy. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  52. ^ "National Television Awards: The Winners – TV News". Digital Spy. 30 October 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 

External links[edit]