As Ant and Dec gear up for a new series of Saturday Night Takeaway, our favourite Geordie duo talks OBEs, NTAs and getting up to mischief...
Ant and Dec reveal what’s in store for the new series of Saturday Night Takeaway and how they won’t be going their separate ways any time soon…
It’s safe to say that 2017 has got off to a flying start for Geordie duo Ant and Dec. First, they picked up another three honours at the prestigious National Television Awards – including their 16th for Best Entertainment Presenters!
Then, just two days later, they were off to Buckingham Palace to collect OBEs for services to broadcasting from Prince Charles, who they got to know last year while making their ITV documentary celebrating 40 years of the Prince’s Trust.
"We’re old pals now," joked Dec. "Surprisingly, I had to go up to collect my OBE before Ant and the first thing Prince Charles said to me was: 'I see you’ve managed to shake him off for a bit!'"
The boys are all smiles as they collect their OBEs from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace
With filming for the 11th series of Britain’s Got Talent already underway, their busy schedule continues on Saturday night with the return of their much-loved entertainment show Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
With more live surprises, stunts, hidden camera antics, a new mini-drama, a host of big-name guests AND a jet set finale, the boys promise this series will be one to remember...
"We try to make the show bigger every year," said Ant, "and the series finale this year will be better than ever. It’s huge!"
What new things do you have up your sleeve for the upcoming series of Saturday Night Takeaway? Ant: "Well, following on from last year’s mystery Who Shot Simon Cowell?, we’re doing another mini-drama called The Missing Crown Jewels. Basically, after getting our OBEs, we’re invited to join a secret society, which protects the monarchy. So, one night we’re sent to the Tower of London to look after the crown jewels and, what do you know, they get stolen. We have lots of celebs helping us hunt them down…" Dec: "Yeah, among others, we’ve got Joanna Lumley playing the head of this secret society and actor Michael Sheen is a character called ‘Gadget’. Alan Shearer’s in it as well which, being Newcastle United fans, was a thrill for us."
We hear Gogglebox star and reigning Queen of the Jungle Scarlett Moffatt will also be joining the show… Dec: "That’s right. We had a great time with her in Australia after she came out of the jungle and she’s the loveliest soul, so we’re looking forward to her coming on board. She’s got a very big role in the first show."
She’s doing an ‘electrifying’ live stunt isn’t she? Both: "Yes!" Dec: "But she doesn’t know what it is yet, ha, ha! We haven’t told her." Ant: "It’s quite spectacular. It’ll be quite a big one for show one, to guarantee we come back with a bang."
I'm a Celeb and Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt is joining Saturday Night Takeaway this series
Can we expect some of our old favourites such as Undercover, where you prank a big-name guest by dressing in disguise, and I’m a Celebrity… Get Out Of Me Ear, where you instruct a celeb, through an earpiece, to misbehave? Dec: "Yep, Undercover’s back and we’ve already filmed a big one with TV chef Jamie Oliver.." Ant: "Yeah, he’s our first ‘victim’, ha, ha!" Dec: "It was really good fun. We’re dressed as paramedics for it, which will all become clear when you see it. Even when we finally revealed to Jamie it was us, it still didn’t quite sink in. Then for I’m a Celeb… Get Out of Me Ear we’ve done a brilliant one with X Factor host Dermot O’Leary going around a supermarket pinching things out of people’s trolleys."
When filming that segment, who’s the most mischievous out of the two of you? Dec: "Ant, definitely! He pushes it a LOT." Ant: "Yeah, I do quite like to push things, ha, ha! There were a couple of occasions where I tried to get Dermot to do stuff and he point blank refused!" Dec: "I get too worried that we’re going to get found out, so I’m like: ‘No, don’t do that.’ But Ant’s there saying: ‘No, try and do that! Try and do that! So Ant’s like the bad devil and I’m like the angel on the other side." Ant: "Oh, I wouldn’t say angel!" Dec: "Alright, less of a devil on the other side, then."
Do you still get nervous fronting a live show like Takeaway, or does it come completely natural to you now? Ant: "Oh, we still get nervous, especially on Takeaway because there are so many variables. You could be in someone’s home, or going live to somebody in a pub, or you’ve got an audience member you’re surprising. All those things could go wrong – and have – in the past. So that makes it a lot more nerve-wracking." Dec: "The general public can be quite unpredictable, so you’ve got to be on your toes as to what’s gonna happen. I always think the beginning of the show is like getting on a rollercoaster; whatever happens over the 75 minutes you’re on air, you’ve got to just put up with it, fling your arms around a bit, but you can’t get off till it ends!" Ant: "The viewers absolutely love it when things go wrong – they like it more when it goes wrong than when you get it bloody right!"
Despite winning more gongs at the NTAs, the boys admit they still get nervous fronting live TV
Mrs Brown is working on her own Saturday night show – are you worried she might steal your crown? Ant: "I dunno. We know [Mrs Brown creator] Brendan O’Carroll, and he’s lovely. I’m pretty sure it will be a slightly different show." Dec: "We only do seven Takeaways a year, so there are a lot of other weeks where shows like Takeaway have got the opportunity to be on. So I think there’s room for us all really."
Fans went out of their minds when you appeared separately to do a link on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! last year. What did you make of the uproar? Ant: "Ha, ha! Yeah, it went mental. I never expected any of that!" Dec: "When the producer said that one of us would need to go into each camp, we didn’t think twice about it. So we did it but, when we looked on social media after, we were like: ‘Oh my God, it’s gone bonkers!’ ITV had to issue an apology, saying it wouldn’t happen again. But we did have to do it again the next night – so we came up with the idea of doing split-screen." Ant: "We’d like to reassure everyone, right now, that we ARE staying together."
Ant and Dec with Scarlett after she was crowned Queen of the Jungle last year
So you don’t think you’ll ever consider going off and doing programmes individually? Ant: "Not now, no! Not after all that! Potentially, in the future, who knows. But at the moment, we love working with each other, we love doing Takeaway, Britain’s Got Talent and I’m a Celeb, so there really are no plans for that."
Finally, what’s your favourite Saturday Night Takeaway? Ant: "Definitely Chinese!" Dec: "I’m an Indian guy… well, obviously, not an Indian guy! But I do like a curry, preferably a hot one. Washed down with a Cobra beer."
Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway returns on Saturday February 25 at 7pm on ITV.
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