They’re the kings of the jungle with shelves full of National Television Awards and soon, Ant and Dec will be back on our screens hosting the new series of Saturday Night Takeaway and Britain’s Got Talent.
You may think you know all there is to know about the ubiquitous TV presenters, but we’ve found a few facts that might surprise you.
Ant and Dec first worked together on BBC teen drama Byker Grove nearly 30 years ago in 1989. After turning their hand to music – releasing 16 songs and three albums during their short-lived career as PJ & Duncan, the names of their Byker Grove characters - the golden twosome found their niche in TV presenting and have gone on to be two of the most recognisable faces on British television.
Here are nine surprising facts about Ant and Dec:
1. Ant’s wife worked for the competition
Ant married Lisa Armstrong in 2006. The couple had met over 10 years earlier at a concert when Ant was performing as one half of PJ & Duncan and Lisa was performing in her group, Deuce.
After her music career ended, Armstrong retrained as a make-up artist. A fixture behind-the-scenes on many ITV shows, including The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, Lisa has also worked on rival broadcaster the BBC’s flagship talent show Strictly Come Dancing.
In 2017, the couple confirmed that they were splitting. The news followed a troubled year for Ant, who checked into rehab after admitting to battling with depression, alcohol and substance abuse.
2. They were brought together by a mutual love of the Magpies
The duo first started working together when Ant joined the cast of Byker Grove in 1989 as PJ. Dec had already been playing Duncan on the show for a year.
They became firm friends, however, because they both loved Newcastle United. For Christmas 1990, Ant sent Dec a Flinstones Christmas card inviting him to watch Newcastle play Grimsby that Boxing Day. It was at that match that their lifelong friendship began.
“And that was that,” Ant told the Daily Mail. “It just happened immediately. We clicked. We'd spend all day making each other laugh and annoying everyone and quoting Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer lines to each other.”
3. Presenting has been very lucrative
From humble beginnings in Newcastle to becoming two of TV’s best-loved faces has allowed Ant and Dec to amass a fortune. Their net worth is reportedly £62 million each.
As well as being paid for their presenting gigs, Ant and Dec have a production company named Mitre Television after the pub in Byker Grove. This company co-produces some of their hit shows including Saturday Night Takeaway. It also owns the back catalogue to Ant and Dec’s earlier shows Byker Grove and SMTV.
Their previous company, Gallowgate Productions, was named after at stand at Newcastle’s St James’ Park.
4. There’s a logic to the way they stand
Whenever you watch a show presented by Ant and Dec, have a look at the way they stand. You’ll soon discover that Ant always stands on the left and Dec on the right. There’s a simple reason for this – that’s the same order their names are said in.
And apparently, it’s not just on TV that Ant favours the left and Dec the right. They told the Daily Mail, that it’s become so natural to them that they keep up the ‘order’ in all other aspects of their daily lives. They even each sleep on those sides of their respective beds.
“It feels odd if I go on the other side,” Dec said.
“Even if we're just at home watching telly. Or driving to work - Joe, our driver, takes us everywhere and we always sit this way round in the back. I'd never sit in Ant's seat!”
5. They’re the UK’s most popular TV presenters
Ant and Dec are two of the most popular presenters ever on UK TV – and they’ve got the awards to prove it.
The duo have won the TV Presenter category at the National Television Awards (NTAs) every year since 2001 – that’s 18 years in a row.
On top of the presenter award at the NTAs, Ant and Dec have won another 19 NTA gongs across several categories, as well as Baftas, TV Choice awards and Royal Television Society Awards, bringing their total to over 100 awards during their career.
6. They were once attacked by the Taliban
In 2008 Ant and Dec headed to Afghanistan to present a Pride of Britain Award to the Medical Emergency Response Team at Camp Bastion.
The presenters were waiting to catch their flight home on a military plane at Kandahar airport when the Taliban attacked.
A rocket was fired at the airport and everyone inside – including Ant and Dec – were forced to dive for cover.
“It was pretty hairy – not something I’d like to experience again,” Ant said at the time.
7. They’ve only had two big rows – in nearly 30 years
Not only do Ant and Dec like to work together, they like to play together as well – going to the pub, playing golf and hanging out at each other’s houses. So it’s wouldn’t be surprising if, after spending so much time together, they’re prone to the odd bicker.
Wrong. Apparently, they’ve only fallen out badly twice during the long course of their friendship.
The first time was early in their career, when, as PJ and Duncan, they were booked to perform on GMTV in Torremolinos. After drinking all day, things got a little heated – although neither Ant nor Dec can remember the reason why – and Ant punched Dec while they were in a lift.
The second row came year later, when the duo were playing the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Board game and had a falling out over the 50:50 option.
8. They’ve got matching houses
Ant and Dec live three doors away from each other in Chiswick, West London. Ant bought his house first, with Dec following suit in 2007. Not only that, but Dec used the same architect as Ant to build his house and they have similar boys’ toys inside. Ant even has his own cinema.
Further afield, the pair bought matching holiday homes in a Portuguese resort.
9. They're each insured if the other dies
As well as being friends, ‘Ant and Dec’ is a formidable and lucrative brand. So much so, that for years Ant and Dec have each had insurance – against the other one dying.
In 2006, the duo admitted to the Mirror that their ‘people’ had taken care of the grim eventually, which covers death, but not if the pair fall out with each other.
As to how much one would receive if the other passed away, that’s not a matter of public record.
“I just know that if he (Ant) kicks the bucket, I get a massive payout,” admitted Dec.
Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway returns to ITV on Saturday, February 24 at 7pm.
Never miss an episode of Saturday Night Takeaway with BT TV – catch up via the ITV Hub app.