Ant & Dec

Ant & Dec

Geordie duo Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly - better known as Ant and Dec - have been entertaining audiences with their unique brand of zany humour since they were in their teens.

The pair first came to notice in the classic BBC children's TV drama Byker Grove, which was filmed on Tyneside.


Early Ant and Dec in Byker Grove

The early days in Byker Grove

The much-loved show, which ran for 17 years, also launched the careers of local actresses Donna Air and Jill Halfpenny.
The Grove

Ant and Dec played the characters PJ and Duncan in Byker Grove. Dec joined the show right from day one and Ant first appeared in series two.

Speaking on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross in 2006 the pair admitted they didn't hit it off straight away.

"We didn't particularly like each other at first, I thought he was miserable," said Dec.

"We've rowed a few times - we're quite competitive," Ant added.

But they both acknowledged they wouldn't have been as successful without each other.

Ant said: "If we hadn't met I don't think we would have got as far."

  * Ant and Dec official website >

  * See pictures of the Geordie duo from over the years >

  * Byker Grove >

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PJ and Duncan

Looking sultry for TOTP
Top of the Pops

The duo left the Grove in 1993 and moved into music under their character names as PJ & Duncan AKA.

Ant and Dec dreamed about being in pop when they were kids growing up in Newcastle's West End.

There weren't many Geordie stars around in those days but that didn't stop them from fantasizing about being famous.

Ant said: "I used to watch Top of the Pops and dream about going on."

Their dreams came true when they made their first appearance on Top of the Pops in 1994 with their debut hit Let's Get Ready To Rhumble.

Success continued with If I Give You My Number and Eternal Love both hitting the charts, although they never had a number one single in the UK.

Ant and Dec in 2002
Promoting We're On the Ball in 2002

From 1997 Ant and Dec began to focus on their TV careers instead, with great success - although there was a brief return to the music biz in 2002 when they released the England team's World Cup song We're on the Ball.

Saturday night TV

Early TV presenting gigs included Ant & Dec Unzipped, Friends Like These and SM:TV Live.

Since then they have moved on to presenting more adult- and family-orientated shows, especially on Saturday nights, including Pop Idol, Britain's Got Talent and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.

These days, Ant and Dec are a national institution with an army of fans of all ages - and arguably two of the most powerful people in British TV.

In 2007 they were the most-watched TV show hosts according to a survey by media agency MPG. They were seen by 51% of the nation at least once.

They have continued to do the odd bit of acting alongside their presenting commitments and in 2006 released their first feature film, Alien Autopsy.

Ant and Dec in 2007
On the red carpet in 2007

"We're certainly not going to launch an assault on Tinseltown. This might be the only film we ever make, so we're going to enjoy it," Ant said at the time.

"It took a while to change from our Saturday night presenting head back to our acting head, but it was all down to [director] Jonny Campbell.

"We found the more real we could make the performance, the funnier it would be."

Black and white at heart

Ant and Dec's success has taken them all over the world but they haven't forgotten their Geordie roots.

They are regular visitors to the Toon and still follow Newcastle United closely - even appearing on the pitch at Shearer's testimonial.