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How did I'm a Celeb duo Ant and Dec meet? Must-see throwback photos

Take a look at the origins of iconic duo Ant and Dec

ant and dec young© Photo: Getty Images
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
December 1, 2021
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Ant and Dec are one of the UK's most iconic presenting duos, having dominated the world of British primetime entertainment for over 20 years. 

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We love watching them on I'm a Celeb and so does the rest of the nation as the pair have won the award for Most Popular TV Presenter at the National Television Awards for 20 years running. But when did our favourite Geordie twosome meet and how did they get to be so successful? 

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How did Ant and Dec meet?

Ant and Dec met on the set of CBBC's teen drama series Byker Grove back in 1989 when they were just 13 years old. 

The two crossed paths while playing their characters PJ and Duncan, and became fast friends on and off-screen. The programme's producer, Matthew Robinson, advised the pair to stick together. He told them: "Stay together through any row you have, whatever it is, be together and you could be the future Morecambe and Wise."

What did Ant and Dec do after Byker Grove?

After succeeding in the sphere of children's television, Ant and Dec decided to turn their hands to pop music. The first track they released was performed as part of a storyline on Byker Grove. The single was successful and so the pair recorded two albums under the names of their characters, PJ and Duncan. 

Their most successful song was Let's Get Ready To Rhumble, which was nominated for a BRIT award. For their third album, the duo went by their real names of Ant and Dec and over the course of four years, they made 14 top 20 hits. 

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In 2002, they released a song titled We're on the Ball for the FIFA World Cup which peaked at number three. 

ant and dec 90s© Photo: Getty Images

Ant and Dec in 1995

When did Ant and Dec start presenting? 

In 1994, the pair landed their first presenting gig on CITV's Saturday morning children's show Gimme 5, which lasted for two seasons. The following year, the duo presented their own show on CBBC called The Ant & Dec Show, which won them two BAFTAs. 

The pair then fronted SMTV Live and CD:UK alongside Cat Deeley on ITV. The show was a combination of music, comedy and cartoons and soon became the most popular Saturday morning show. 

young ant and dec© Photo: Getty Images

Ant and Dec presented SMTV Live and CD:UK alongside Cat Deeley

When did Ant and Dec move to primetime TV?

Friends Like These was Ant and Dec's first primetime presenting job, which was first broadcast in 1999 and marked their transition from actors to presenters. 

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Saturday Night Takeaway came not long after in 2002, and is still going having run for 17 series. The same year, I'm a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! was launched, a show that drew a massive 15 million viewers in its third series. 

ant and dec

Saturday Night Takeaway has run for 17 series

Since then, Ant and Dec have fronted some of the nation's favourite Saturday night entertainment shows, such as Britain's Got Talent, and were even awarded an OBE by the Queen for their services to broadcasting and entertainment in 2017. 

The pair have provided us with some of British TV's most iconic moments, from Gillian McKeith fainting on I'm a Celeb to Louis Walsh using a banana as a telephone on Saturday Night Takeaway's Get Out of Me Ears, and for that we thank them.

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