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Ant and Dec: A look back at their friendship over the years

Ant and Dec have been best friends since 1989 - we take a look back at their friendship

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Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
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ant and dec ntas 2018© Photo: Getty Images

Ant and Dec are finally back together on Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, and fans are delighted to see them reunited after Ant took a long break from his television work back in 2018. The star was arrested for drink driving following a collision that injured several people and received treatment while Dec presented 2018's BGT solo and I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! with Holly Willoughby. 

READ: Ant and Dec make startling revelation about their TV career

Ant has since returned to the screen with his best friend, and the pair have presented I'm a Celebrity and Britain's Got Talent together once more. We have taken a look back at the pair's close friendship, which has spanned over several decades since they were originally cast in Byker Grove together back in 1989.

ant dec friend getty 4© Photo: Getty Images

Before they were Ant and Dec, who could forget PJ and Duncan?! The boys were best friends on Byker Grove since joining the cast in 1989, and their friendship immediately caught the public's attention. One particularly memorable moment was when when Duncan stood by PJ's side after an unfortunately paintballing accident left Ant's poor character blind! 

ant dec rex© Photo: Rex

Who could forget Ant and Dec's antics on SMTV Live. From their Pokemon battles to the Friends spoof Chums to the iconic 'Wonkey Donkey' segment, where Dec would shout at children who called in trying to guess the rhyme about a different weekly animal, the show and Saturday morning television was never quite the same after their stint! 

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Ant and Dec laughed while exchanging a swift hug back in 2005 while leaving a party to celebrate their joint 30th birthdays since they are born only two months apart! Dec is the eldest of the pair, and turned 42 back on 25 September, while Ant joined him on 18 November. 

bafta © Photo: Getty Images

The cheeky chaps were all smiles while holding up their matching BAFTAs, which they received for 'Best Entertainment Performance'. They won their first BAFTAs for the category in 2010 after years of nominations. They have won 13 BAFTAs overall, including Best Entertainment Programme for Saturday Night Takeaway, and Best Live Event: The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration.

little ant little dec © Photo: Getty Images

Of course it was only a matter of time before the presenters found their mini mes! Here, Ant and Dec pose with Little Ant and Little Dec at the National Television Awards, London, 2003. The youngsters were eventually replaced by Neil Overend and Haydn Reid, who left the show this year, with an ITV source telling the Daily Mail: "Little Dec has his SATs next year and Little Ant is moving to high school so it felt like the right time for them to move on and focus on their studies."

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We love Ant and Dec's antics on Britain's Got Talent, even after they have presented the show since 2007, and it's easy to see why! Dec couldn't help but laugh at Ant as the pair arrived at auditions in London back in 2016, much to the delight of the crowd behind them!

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Even Ant and Dec's dogs, Hurley and Rocky, are best friends! The presenters' revealed they both bought them as puppies at the same time, and now they are inseparable. Dec said: "Now are dogs are best mates… It's nice because we've got the excuse that we need to take the dogs for a walk now and then we stop for a pint."

ant dec friend© Photo: Instagram

Two pairs of comedy legends meet each other! Dec shared a photo of himself and a delighted Ant grinning with Kermit the frog and Fozzie Bear backstage on Saturday Night Takeaway, and wrote: "Had such fun on last night's #saturdaynighttakeaway. Was amazing having these guys there, felt like a kid again!" 

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The pair were having the time of their lives in Australia back in 2016, and shared a snap of themselves laughing while chatting during an interview with Andy Collins. A fan asked Ant's then-wife Lisa if the duo were always like they were in the snap, to which she replied: "Yep!!" accompanied by three love heart emojis. 

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The pair showed their love for racing while presenting the trophy for the Jersey Stakes at the Royal Ascot. The pair even own a racehorse, the James Fanshawe-trained Primaeval. Speaking about the horse, Dec said: "We hope to have a lot of fun with him. He probably won't run until April, but that's up to the trainer. He's pretty good and he's apparently going well."

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These two have royal connections! Not only did they share a laugh with Prince Charles at The Prince's Trust and L'Oreal Paris Celebrate Success Awards in 2012, the pair were both made Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2016 for their services to broadcasting and entertainment. 

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After the pair were awarded 2014 NTA Landmark Award, they took to the stage overcome with emotion. Ant said: "Where do you start? I think you start with, thanks man," before hugging Dec as the pair of them welled up. Dec returned the favour, saying: "Most importantly, neither of us would be here if it wasn't for each other," to which Ant replied: "Oh don't start that! I love you man. Love you to bits." 


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During a game of 'Mr and Mr' on Britain's Got More Talent, the pair revealed the biggest fight they ever had (through lots of laughter!). They confessed that, while playing a board game version of How to be a Millionaire, Dec revealed that he chose the 50/50 option only for Ant to keep the two answers he was uncertain about. 

READ: Ant and Dec reveal they almost split up after Ant's drink-driving charge

He said: "It wouldn't [happen on the TV show] the computer wouldn't do that. The computer would take them away randomly and you didn't take them away premeditated what you did. So I packed up my board game and I went home... I'm not standing for that kind of nonsense!" 

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The pair arrive at Dec's wedding to Ali Astall, at St Michael's Church in Newcastle, where of course Ant was Best Man. Speaking about the happy day, Ant told the Mirror: "She [Ali] looked amazing. It was very emotional, I was really emotional. He finally got married."

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Ant and Dec were loving the action at Ascot in 2012, where they cheered Frankel to victory in the QIPCO Champion Stakes. Speaking about their own racehorse, Ant said: "My father loves racing, so we thought we'd get involved and buy a horse. It is a great sport, great fun." 

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Ant and Dec have been presenting I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here since 2002, and still look as though they are having the time of their lives as they can't help but giggle at the celebrities in the jungle. The pair returned to host the show in 2017, despite reports that Ant wouldn't be returning to host the show with Dec due to his stay in rehab. 

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Shortly after the announcement that Ant was divorcing his wife, Lisa Armstrong, Dec stuck by his friend's side, and the pair shared a snap while on tour for Britain's Got Talent. The TV presenter wore a pink hat when the team made it to their destination – Madame Tussauds – and posted the snap on Ant and Dec's official Twitter account, with Dec writing: "Day 1 of @BGT 2018. Just time for a quick visit to our wax models at @MadmeTussauds! It's soooo cold. D."

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Following his rehab stay, the pair hugged as they reunited on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here. Dec poked fun at reports that he would be joined by a different presenter, saying: "Welcome to Australia! We are back and we are here for the next three weeks, your hosts with the most, me and the gorgeous Holly Willoughby." Ant replie: "Sorry, what?!"

"Guys - that is the wrong script. You have put the wrong script on the screen," Dec continued, before turning to his friend and saying: "Nobody was sure if you'd make it or not. We didn't know if you'd be here." "Unbelievable. I was always gonna make it, come on! I'm back my friend," Ant replied, before the duo shared a big hug, to applause from the production crew.

ant mcpartlin best presenter award ntas

Ant looked visibly moved after winning Best Presenter at the National Television Awards for the 17th time running with his friend. He said: "I'm emotional, very emotional. Because of the last 12 months what I've been through, winning this award is particularly emotional for me." He added to The Sun: "It's been emotional to say the least, I'll use that word again. I've had a very tricky year, but you know it's great to get back to work and we loved the last series of I'm a Celebrity and we're currently shooting stuff for Britain's Got Talent and Takeaway. I'm back in the swing of things so it's really good."

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