Ant & Dec Take Us Through Every Twist and Turn That Their Career Took in ‘Once Upon a Tyne’

Ant & Dec

From the very beginning as teenagers on Byker Grove through to becoming pop stars for a short period of time and a successful career in prime time TV, Ant & Dec takes us through the last three decades in Audible Sessions.

Note: Text has been edited and may not match audio exactly.

Holly Newson: Ant and Dec, great to be here to chat about your upcoming book Once Upon a Tyne, which means basically we get to chat about your whole career.

Ant McPartlin: Essentially, yeah.

HN: Which is pretty incredible.

Declan Donnelly: How long have we got? We’ve got 30 years to cover here.

HN: So we’ve basically got like - we’ll do a minute a year.

DD: That’s a good way of breaking it down.

HN: And obviously, we’re sat at a nice intimate distance from each other, as we all come out of lockdown.

AM: So strange, isn’t it?

HN: Really weird. So what’s it been like for the two of you not seeing each other in person for that long?

AM: We’ve worked throughout lockdown, we’ve been doing things remotely for our socials, so we see each other quite a lot on either a screen-

DD: There’s been a lot of Zoom-ing.

AM: -or on a phone, so we’ve been in contact throughout the whole thing. But it’s nice to get back in a room together.

DD: We did a lot of stuff at home for our social channels, for our Instagram and TikTok and Twitter. We’ve been Zoom-ing quite a lot over the internet, over the world wide web and we’ve been working and we’ve been in touch with each other all the time. And we finished the book whilst in lockdown as well, we’d only gotten about halfway through the writing process so we had to finish the rest of it on Zoom, which was tricky.

HN: So, how did that work? How did you write and collaborate on the book?

AM: We just had a main document that we’d kinda chip in and add little bits to it.

HN: Backspace, backspace, backspace.

DD: I see all of our stuff - delete, delete, delete.

AM: What colour am I again? I’m in red, you’re in green font, you’re in blue font - notes are in blue font.

DD: We wrote the book with Andy Milligan who we work with on our TV shows as well, so it was the three of us on Zoom and throwing in stories. He was chief writer-downer, and then we’d share the document with each other and then we’d all add to the document, and delete stuff with our editor as well. So it was a slightly more laborious process, and it made everything a little bit longer but it was quite nice to have something to focus on during lockdown, and something to take your attention away from the daily government briefings and things like that. It was nice to have a bit of a project.

HN: And you’ve also narrated it, which I think was one of the first times that you got to see each other in person from lockdown?

AM & DD: Yeah it was, it was.

HN: What was that like?

DD: It was brilliant and it's the first time we’ve ever done an audiobook. So that was really interesting.

AM: We’re very good at it, I have to say. Just really good. No, it was really good fun. We were a bit like ‘How do you do this?’, and then because we’re quite open, quite energetic as people, it was weird going in there and just reading the book. And then we couldn’t help ourselves. If you get a copy of it, then you realise that at first it’s like us just narrating the book, then we have a laugh with it. So, it’s like the book but with more fun.

HN: Do you get little ad libs in there?

AM & DD: Oh yeah. There’s quite a few outtakes at the end.

DD: We did it with a big perspex screen in between us and we sat the recommended distances away, we had to do all that. But it was the first time we were physically in a room together for weeks and weeks - since we finished Saturday Night Takeaway in March, so that was nice to be back together and working again.

AM: It was weird when we were reading the book, even writing the book we were kind of throwing stories back and forth. But when you had the finished book and you’re reading it for the audio version, the nostalgia for me really kicked in. We were talking about this the other day, weren’t we? We were talking about Saturday mornings and SMTV, and working with Cat Deeley and how much fun we had. It kind of transported you back to those days of being in your 20’s, doing the show on a Saturday morning, meeting all the pop stars and celebs of the day. You know, bring kinda carefree, it was a really lovely time of our career. There was no real pressure on us and we were kinda finding our feet and learning our craft. I drove home that night after doing the audiobook and I was a bit overwhelmed. Because it was just such a lovely memory. It’s nice.

HN: Were there lots of those emotional moments that came up when you were reading?

DD: Yeah, there were. Even going back to the very beginning in our days on Byker Grove. Firstly getting the job and just realising that that was the start of our 30 year career. Not that we knew it at the time, obviously, but that we would go on to have this career. Looking back, you’re kind of thinking about who you were and how you were at 13 years old.

AM: Yeah, what you were listening to, what you wear, how you felt. We never really talked about how we felt on that first day and how self conscious we were. You know, we’re 13 year old kids, we’re teenagers and a little bit growing into ourselves and you’re in a room full of adults and your peers and…

DD: Really self conscious.

AM: Yeah, it’s intimidating.

DD: So it was working through all that again. Then through to four years later when we ended up getting written out of the programme because we were getting too old - we were turning 17, 18. And getting the news that we were getting written out, our world crashing down around us and not knowing what we were going to do next. And then we got offered a record contract. As you’re going through it and writing down these stories and reading the stories for the audiobook, it brings back those old feelings again.

AM: It’s like you’re being sacked again from Byker Grove.

DD: But it’s quite therapeutic, going through that again and raking over those old memories and brings up old feelings. It’s nice to be able to recognise them and deal with them again. All the way through though, every twist and turn that our career took, we kind of re-lived it again throughout this book. It was one big therapy session

HN: And it’s been 30 years in telly for both of you. Does it feel like that long or has it just sped past?

DD: I mean, I’ve been thinking about this because some days you look back and we’ve packed quite a lot in. But ultimately, I think, it feels like it’s really rocked along - it’s sped past, and I think a lot of that is because we very rarely stop and look back. We did it 10 years ago when we wrote our first book about our 20 years working together and we’ve done it again now for 30 years and it seems to have gone by in a blink of an eye. We couldn’t believe that it had been 10 years since we wrote our last book.

AM: And there’s more things you remember now, the older you get. Because we made a conscious effort to sit down and think about things that happen on specific shows. Each chapter is a show that we’ve worked on. Our sessions would be ‘right, today we’re going to talk about Britain’s Got Talent’ and we would just bounce things back and forth. There’s certain things Dec remembers that I’m a bit cloudy about and vice versa.

There’s a story in there about us going out for dinner. We went out for dinner with Simon Cowell in LA, I can’t remember what series it was now. It was like 2013, was it? We had this dinner about leaving, we were going to leave Britain’s Got Talent and we were thinking about it. We hadn’t really remembered this story until we started talking about it. We were like, yeah we met Cowell because we were going to leave. And you’d never think that now because we love doing the show and there was a moment where we had an - not an argument with them - but a disagreement with them on a few things. But after the meal we sorted it all out and everything was fine. You know, it is what it is and we’re all in the show still. But you look back and you go ‘Oh my god, yeah, we were.’ So we thought let’s put that in because we never talked about that before.

DD: We started that and that whole piece of the book started off with us remembering us having a dinner with Simon in Los Angeles and getting a lift back to the hotel in his Rolls Royce and something happens in the Rolls Royce.

AM: Well no, so I’ll tell you what happens in the Rolls Royce.

HN: What happens in the Rolls Royce?

DD: We don’t need to go into-

AM: So, Simon says ‘Do you want a lift back to the hotel?’, because we had sorted everything out, we’d hugged it out. And he says ‘Do you want a lift back to your hotel?’, we’re like ‘Ok.’, he says ‘I’ve got the Rolls.’ So he says ‘Come and get in.’ He gets in the Rolls, in the back. I get in the back and sit down - there’s two big chairs there. Simon’s here, I’m there. Then, Dec gets in the back as well. He thinks it’s like a black cab and there’s going to be a flip down seat in a Rolls Royce Phantom, which is not the case.

DD: I’d never been in a Rolls Royce Phantom, I had no idea. I thought we just all piled in the back.

AM: To which point, Simon was like ‘Dec, what the bloody hell are you doing? Get in the front.’

DD: That’s where it started - thanks for that Ant. That’s where this started and then we went hang on a minute, we were having dinner with him because we had dinner to tell him we were going to leave Britain’s Got Talent. So then that opened up a whole other area of us talking about it. It’s been really interesting and it’s been really useful that there are two of us because like he says, he remembers some bits that I don’t particularly and I remember bits that he doesn’t. It’s been nice, we’ve been able to flip flop a bit.

HN: Do you think your careers would have gone in the same direction if you hadn’t been a duo?

AM & DD: No.

DD: No, I think it would have been very, very different. I think we both were set on becoming actors, going to drama school and doing it that way, and we probably would have ended up being in a job as actors. I don’t know how much success we would have had.

HN: Instead you became pop stars.

DD: Instead we became pop stars, for a short period of time.

HN: I’ve seen you described as unconventional pop stars a lot. Would you put yourselves in that category?

DD: That’s one way of putting it, isn’t it?

AM: Unconventional - that’s something you normally say about something, like they’re unconventionally attractive. Isn’t it though? We were kind of playing at it, if you know what I mean, we knew we didn’t grow up wanting to become pop stars and here was an opportunity that fell into our lap and we just enjoyed it. But I think we knew it wouldn’t last forever so we had fun with it and saw it for what it was.

DD: And I think at the time, like I said, we wanted to come out of Byker Grove, we wanted to become actors and then this came along and we almost treated it like it was the next acting job. So it always felt like we were acting the part of two pop stars who would go on to be on Top of the Pops and do all this stuff.

AM: And be screamed at and do road shows and all that kind of stuff.

DD: It never really felt like it was us doing it, we always felt like slightly detached from our pop personas.

AM: There’s a bit of feeling like a fraud doing it as well because it wasn’t really our love. However much we enjoyed it, we weren’t musicians and we didn’t grow up writing songs. But we had a hell of a - five years? Travelling the world.

HN: And how did it go from that to presenting? What was the jump there?

DD: Well, we always did stuff on TV as well after Byker Grove and when we got into the music industry we would do guest hosting on TV shows, on kids TV. So we do stuff on CBBC, CITV, a Saturday morning called Gimme 5 which was set in Newcastle, so we did some of that. And then we got offered a show on children’s BBC called The Ant & Dec Show, and it just so happened that our names were Ant and Dec.

AM: We were going to call it that anyway. That was lucky, that.

DD: So we were perfect for the job. We did some stuff on CBBC and that went really well. And we enjoyed it far more doing the TV stuff than the music stuff. Quite early on, we recognised that our long term futures kind of lay in TV presentation and being on telly rather than the music. We enjoyed the music business for three or four years, or whatever it was.

AM: Our music career ended on a tour of the far east and there’s a story in the book of us when we go to this press conference. We landed in Jakarta, was it Jakarta?

DD: I think so, yeah.

AM: So we land there and there’s a guy, an artist liaison guy, who’s just a massive fan of PJ and Duncan. And he’s like, ‘We’re going to do the press conference at the Hard Rock Cafe, all the journalists will be there asking you questions.’ He says ‘And then you’ll sing for them at the end of the conference.’ We’re like ‘What? No we won’t.’

DD: He says ‘You sing acapella. When the Backstreet Boys were here, they sang acapella for the press.’ Yes, the Backstreet Boys sang acapella because the Backstreet Boys can sing acapella.

AM: Yeah, there’s five of them, they can do harmonies. We can’t sing acapella.

DD: We don’t do that.

AM: We can’t sing acapella. So anyway, we do this press conference, it goes well, we don’t sing, we’re just about to walk off and then then the guy from the record company goes ‘PJ and Duncan, sing for us.’ - drops us in it. We have to then say no, we then get booed by various journalists and then we walk off.

DD: We get booed off stage at the press conference by the press. So we’re like ‘Oh god, this is just disastrous.’

AM: This is not really what we want to be doing.

HN: And it all ended there.

DD: Well we did the last show in Hard Rock Cafe in Indonesia, then we flew home and we got offered another record contract and we were just like ‘Can’t be bothered with this.’ And it wasn’t a very good contract, it was a rubbish deal and our hearts were both not in it by this point. We had a conversation, we’re like ‘Should we knock it on the head? Yeah.’ So, that was it and then we put all of our energies into TV.

HN: You said that you presented with Cat Deeley, you got your start in children’s presenting. What was it like to make that jump to adults TV and to prime time?

DD: Well, we did Saturday Mornings for about three years and our ambition was to make it into family entertainment, into prime time Saturday night. That’s what we wanted. We had a few goes at it and they didn’t all work, well none of them worked, up until we got offered a show called Pop Idol by ITV. They had had Popstars which was almost a documentary series about the making of a band. And then Pop Idol was the first time that the British public would ring in and vote for who they wanted to be the Pop Idol. ITV called us in for a meeting and asked us if we’d like to host it. We bit their hand off and said ‘Yes, absolutely, we want to host it.’ The show went on to become a huge, huge hit and thankfully we were at the front of that. That was our big leap really, into mainstream telly.

AM: After that, we kind of moved onto Saturday Night Takeaway and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here came along as well, so in a period of two years we’d gone from just Saturday Morning kids presenters to mainstream and prime time.

HN: That’s a huge leap in a short amount of time.

AM: Well we got very lucky with the shows as well because Pop Idol was a massive hit. And I’m a Celebrity grew into a massive hit. Takeaway - it started off slowly and grew into a massive hit so suddenly we had three great shows in our hands and we’re very lucky for that. You can spend a whole career without getting one of them and we host three of them. So we’re very lucky.

HN: And what were your initial reactions to the concept of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here? What did you think when you were pitched that?

AM: We got pitched the show and we liked the idea of it - 10 celebrities go and live in the Australian outback and having to fend for themselves and do bushtucker trials. The idea for that was there and they said it’s called I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. We’re like ‘Yeah, whatever. That’s a rubbish title.’ Honestly, we were like it’s too long, it’s a bit rubbish…

DD: It doesn’t fit on the EPG when you’re flicking through.

AM: Yeah, it won’t all fit on there.

DD: And we were like the title will change, the title will change

AM: Because quite frankly I’m not saying that every night. Cut to 20 years later, ‘Get me out of here!’ Yeah, we’ve said it every night. And it’s kind of stuck, hasn’t it? You couldn’t think of that show being called anything else other than I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

DD: But we loved the idea of the show and it was around the time of other big shows like Big Brother and Survivor. And this was almost like a mixture of the best bits of Big Brother, people living together and getting on each other’s nerves, and Survivor, out in the wild. This has got a little bit of everything and we get to go to Australia every winter for five weeks. This is a win.

HN: Which challenges have grossed you out the most? Watching which celebs do what has made your stomach turn?

AM: Mainly the eating trials.

DD: Eating trials every year. That is the worst thing. Some of the things they’ve eaten over the years from eyes to testicles to…

AM: Penises.

DD: Just every bodily part you can imagine.

AM: But some of them, when they have a bad gag reflex, Joe Swash for example was really bad and everything - he was throwing back up. That’s very tough to watch, no matter how many times you see it when you’re stood right there. And the worst one is there’s a thing called vomit fruit and it just smells like sick, it’s like they’re eating sick. And then they have to turn to us and show an empty mouth, and the vapours are coming across the table. Yeah it’s pretty gross.

HN: Have either of you ever been close to actually being sick during any of it?

DD: Oh yeah, and being close to not fainting but being really grossed out. Yeah probably vomiting actually. When Fatima Whitbread had a cockroach stuck up her nose and then just snorted it out, it shot out and scurried back into the bush. It’s like, oh god I think I’m going to be sick.

AM: TV gold though, ain’t it?

HN: And so moving onto Saturday Night Takeaway, which is obviously your own show, something that you get to shape a lot of. How do you go about coming up with ideas for it and what sort of things are you thinking we want to get this in there?

DD: We’re constantly looking for ideas for Saturday Night Takeaway.

AM: We work all year on the show. It’s on next February but we’ve already started development on it. We started ideas meetings with the team. We’ve constantly got a checklist of people who want to do an undercover on, or surprise, do hidden camera stuff on. So there’s a lot of thought and effort goes into Takeaway. It’s probably the most fulfilling when you do it because it’s been so long in the run up to getting it done.

DD: And we only do seven of them a year, so like Ant says, we’re constantly on the lookout for ideas. We sit down with our production team in the summer for the next series show and we come up with our hit list of undercover victims. We’re constantly looking at ideas and trying to make each other laugh and the team bring in ideas. We’re always molding and shaping, and some ideas don’t make that series but they might make the series after. Some ideas are two or three years in the making, so it’s constantly bubbling and constantly on the go.

AM: We did an undercover on Bradley Walsh on last series. Undercover at The Chase when he was hosting The Chase and we kind of messed up the whole episode.

But that was three years in planning. So we knew we wanted to get him, so then it’s very softly, softly approached - because you don’t want him to find out so you’ve got to speak to management or you speak to the production team-

DD: Or his wife.

AM: -or his wife, then you got to get it in. So you got to make sure you can get there on the day, then even when you get to the day, you got to hide from everybody, you got to make the day run exactly as planned because you don’t want him guessing anything. Then we’re running in and out of the gallery. And sometimes management of certain celebrities will say absolute no. But then, you know, you kind of work on them, work on them and then maybe next year they’re a bit warmer and then by year three it’s a yes - which was the case of Bradley Walsh. We’ve always got a hit list.

HN: Is there anyone on their hit list at the moment that you’re really…

AM: Well, there is but we’re not- we can’t say.

HN: You don’t have to say their name, but you’re really close to getting them?

AM & DD: Yes.

HN: I can see the excitement on your faces.

DD: There are two - we’re very, very, very close to. I’m not sure we’ll get them both this year. But there are two. We’re very, very, very close to one and it’s slightly further away on the other. But yeah, there are two that we’re very excited about.

AM: We do live in constant fear of getting done ourselves though. Constantly.

HN: Right, so any moment?

AM: If anything’s a bit- even today, like we came here today and you were like the interviewer from hell. We’re like ‘What? Is this, is this an undercover on us?’

DD: We’re looking over our shoulders a lot, we’ve got a lot of people out for us: Gordon Ramsay has sworn revenge; James Corden has sworn revenge; Jeremy Kyle has sworn revenge. We’ve got a lot of people out for us.

AM: Hold on, who’s behind there?

HN: I feel like James Corden could pull a really good one.

DD: Yeah, he’s got the resources.

AM: He does have the resources. The manpower. The know-how. Damn it!

HN: Well you’ve got it to look forward to, haven’t you?

DD: Constantly looking over our shoulders. Constantly on the run, we’re constantly on the run.

AM: It’s not a life! It’s no life. You’re on the run.

HN: Going through the book, what would you pick out as a career highlight for each of you? Can you pick that out?

DD: That’s really tough.

AM: There’s a kind of career/personal highlight when we were awarded OBEs, and we were given them by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace and it was still one of the proudest moments of our life. We talk about that in the book and how Dec kind of messed the whole thing up.

DD: I got a bit excited.

AM: There’s a protocol that you should follow which we were told 10 times. But somebody just disregarded it.

DD: There’s a lot of things you’re told. Like you’ve got to go in and when you go in, you bow from the neck not the waist, from the head, from the neck. So you do that, and then you take two steps and you wait until Prince Charles puts his hand out to shake-

AM: You don’t offer your hand.

DD: You don’t offer your hand, and he pins on your medal and then he will chat to you and then he’ll send you on your way. You step backwards, you don’t turn your back. You bow again from the neck not the waist, but you already knew that.

AM: It’s common sense, essentially.

DD: So there’s a lot of stuff to remember and I was very excited that I was getting a medal.

AM: You forgot it all.

DD: They said my name and I just went ‘Hello Prince Charles!’ I forgot the nod, the waist, the everything.

AM: And they went in alphabetical order so they said Dec’s name first. We were both there on the same day so that kind of threw me into a spin.

DD: It was Dec and Ant. The way it should be.

AM: It’s just odd. Just very odd.

HN: Did you then just back out bowing from the waist?

AM: He bowed from everywhere, from the knee, from the waist.

DD: I almost moonwalked out of the place. I’m just like I’m outta here, I got a medal.

HN: And same highlight for you or something different?

DD: Yes, same highlight, I think that was something so unexpected. A lot of the things we did, you know you kind of go I’d love to do Saturday night TV and I’d love to do this and we get to go to Australia, but the OBE just came out of the blue and was so unexpected and such a proud moment I guess. So that and then hosting the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations at Windsor, which was eventful but fun to be there on stage across from the royal box which featured pretty much the whole royal family, the same year that we got our OBE, was just really strange times but unexpected and a real highlight.

HN: And is there anything, because you make it look so natural, anything about presenting that you find difficult or does it just flow?

AM: It’s never the same show twice and there’s always, especially on a show like Takeaway, there’s always things that go wrong. Because it’s live, completely live, and then we’re thrown into people in their homes, things go wrong. They’re not ready for us because they don’t know because it’s a surprise hit. They could be doing things they don’t want to be doing. So you’re constantly on guard all of the time. Yeah we’ve messed up loads over the years, especially on Saturday Mornings.

DD: We’ve made a career out of messing up.

AM: Yeah, we made a habit of it. But you learn, you know, you learn and I think what we found is, the audience like it when things go wrong so don’t worry too much about it.

DD: And we’re very, very lucky that there are two of us as well so that when things do go wrong, we’re there to help each other out and to poke fun at each other when the other one’s made a mistake. So yeah, we can get through it. But we make a point of rehearsing a lot. We rehearse, and we rehearse, and we rehearse, so we’re very prepared for most eventualities. We put a lot of time and effort into what we do. So when things go wrong, then you can deal with it and then come back to what you know and what you’ve rehearsed. It’s not like properly working for a living, let's be honest. It’s not like digging the roads, is it?

HN: No, it’s not like digging the roads. And in those careers, you’ve learnt a lot along the way, but is there anything that you wish you’d known a little bit earlier?

AM: Not really, I mean I think because we’ve had each other throughout the whole of the 30 years, we’ve been able to enjoy it with somebody else - the highs, the lows. So we’ve always had someone to talk to, always had someone to get advice from and a shoulder to lean on. All of that stuff, it’s much better doing it and having gone through this together, because it would have been tough on your own.

DD: And I think we both appreciate that as well, that we have that advantage that we have got each other. You’ve always got a second opinion, you’ve always got somebody there to help give advice or to help you through any kind of situation. We’ve been incredibly lucky.

HN: And is there any advice that you’d pass onto future presenters out there, or do you want to keep that to yourself for a few more years?

DD: Oh yeah, we don’t want any competition. No advice. No, I would just say-

AM: Don’t rehearse, don’t know your lines, don’t get ready for guests when they come on. Just wing it.

DD: No, do your homework, but ultimately be yourself, let your personality shine through and enjoy it. Because if you’re enjoying it, the people watching hopefully will enjoy it too. If you’re not enjoying it, it will come across.

HN: And has there ever been a point where you’ve stopped enjoying it a bit? Or have you always managed to carry that through? Or is it something you have to remind yourself every now and then? Like actually, take a step back, this is really fun, let’s enjoy this.

AM: I think pre me taking a year off work, I think we got into a habit of being on a treadmill and you’re just doing it. I think it helps taking time out for both of us to get some perspective on it and just go it’s such an amazing job and we’re so lucky to do it, and let’s just have fun. And we do, we got a renewed energy and vigour for it now.

DD: I think we all fall into the trap sometimes of taking things for granted. But yeah, every now and again you have to just step back and count your blessings and realise how lucky you are and go god I have got the most amazing job in the world and today I really appreciate it.

AM: It’s nice to be out today, working.

HN: It’s weird, isn’t it? To be out.

DD: It is. But it’s lovely. God it’s lovely. And things like what have happened this year, things like the pandemic making us all having to stay at home. You just appreciate things a bit more when you have them. You appreciate each other and appreciate people and your job. Small things sometimes that make all the difference.

HN: Do you think you’ve managed to maintain being friends first and foremost throughout or have some of the time do you think you have been work partners?

DD: I think we’ve maintained our friendship because I think our friendship is really at the base of what we do. Our friendship is absolutely the foundation of our career, not the other way around. The career is not the foundation of our friendship because I think that would be a shakier foundation. Our friendship is definitely the foundation, and that’s the solid foundation on which we’ve built our career. So that becomes first and foremost. And again, sometimes you take it for granted a bit, you take each other for granted. But every now and then you just have to stop and remind yourself, no it’s all about that friendship at the core of it and everything else comes from that.

HN: Gratitude list. Ant. Dec. Presenting. Done

AM: It’s true though, it’s like a verbal gratitude list. Good, I’m done for the day

HN: And in everyday life, not in lockdown two meter times, do you find it weird if you’re stood or sat the other way around?

AM: Yes. I mean not, say in everyday life we’re out playing golf or we get in the car - so then not really. But if we ever go to do work and we want to do an interview and we’re the other way round, it does feel weird now, because we’re so used to it.

HN: Do you look over the wrong side? Oh he’s not there.

DD: Yeah, a little bit. But even in the car we sit that way round.

AM: Yeah, it wasn’t intentional, we just naturally sit that way.

DD: People find it weird as well, like sometimes if we’re out in a restaurant or if we’ve been in a bar or whatever and we’re sat the wrong way round. People come over and will go ‘Wrong way.’ You’re like, alright thanks.

HN: Do they follow that up with saying Byker Grove in your accent?

AM: Yeah, Byker Grove. They often say ‘You cannit see man!’ from Byker Grove.

DD: That’s the other one.

AM: And then they always go, you’re much taller in real life. No, they don’t. They don’t.

HN: I was going to say that one did surprise me there.

AM: They don’t, they never say that.

We still get called the wrong names after 30 years of being on the telly and working together, I still get ‘Hi Dec!’ and he still gets ‘Hi Ant!’ So now I just go with it.

DD: I answer to any. I’ve been called a lot worse so if it’s Ant, I’d still answer to that.

HN: And you’ve dropped in a few stories that we can expect from the book. Will you finish off by telling us one more little anecdote, of your choice, that listeners won’t have heard before?

AM: Do you know what I’ll tell you about? You’ll really get to know the inner workings of me and Dec by the way we both eat a Chinese takeaway.

DD: Now this is quite interesting and I think most people out there will side with me on this.

AM: No, I completely disagree. So, let me tell you. My way of eating Chinese is probably like most people. You get it, you get the takeaway, you open the bag, you get your plate, you put bits of everything on your plate, you sit down, press play on the movie and you eat.

DD: Absolute savage.

HN: I don’t know where you’re going with this.

AM: Now, the sociopath over here eats a different-

DD: Well obviously, you take everything out. You get all of your main courses, you put them in the oven or the warming draw if you’re-

AM: What, warming draw?

DD: Well, I’ve got a warming draw. Or you put them in the oven at a very, very low heat - just to keep them warm - whilst you eat your starters. So you have a prawn toast, a spring roll, a spare rib, maybe a little chicken satay, little bit of seaweed, bit of sweet chilli sauce, and you eat your starters. Then you come back after that, maybe have a pancake with some duck in it, little bit of cucumber, spring onion-

AM: But it’s not a restaurant, just whack it all on a plate and just get it down you.

HN: I mean this is how we would eat in a restaurant, don’t get me wrong. That’s how we eat in a restaurant.

DD: But you can have a restaurant experience at home. How would you not?

HN: I’m guessing you’re not watching the telly at the same time, candlelit dinner and…

AM: There’s no movie you can watch on the night when you’re eating Chinese with him, believe me, because it’s midnight by the time he’s finished.

HN: I mean, I would be curious to know but I feel like more of the population might side with Ant.

DD: I think you’re underestimating the great British public. I think you’ve underestimated them. I do.

HN: We’ll have to wait and see, won’t we?

AM: We will.

DD: I think we’ll run a poll on social media.

HN: I look forward to it. Well, thank you so much, it was great to chat to you and I’m super excited for the book to be out there and for everyone to listen and read.

DD: Thank you, hope you enjoy it.

AM: Lovely chatting with you.

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Once upon a Tyne

Ant McPartlin, Dec Donnelly
Ant McPartlin, Dec Donnelly
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