As their friendship and career are put to the test, could it all be over for Ant and Dec?
For over 20 years, the Geordie duo could do no wrong, rising through the ranks to become two of TV’s biggest stars.
But after a rough 2018, which saw Ant McPartlin step away from any on-screen work, leaving Declan Donnelly to present on his own, have the cracks started to appear in the once rock-solid friendship of Ant and Dec?
ANT’S DOWNWARD SPIRAL
Their seemingly unstoppable time at the top appears to be faltering after Ant’s fall from grace.
Despite Ant, 43, returning to filming Britain’s Got Talent in January after almost a year off following his arrest for drink-driving in March 2018, he and his sidekick Declan Donnelly have already lost one presenting gig to fellow TV royalty Phillip Schofield and Fearne Cotton.
The duo had proudly hosted the Prince’s Trust Awards for the past six years, but it was all change this year when it was announced that they were to be replaced.
While they insisted a ‘scheduling conflict’ was to blame, the pair also found themselves snubbed at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards for the first time in nine years. Ant and Dec were not nominated in a single category, despite winning the RTS Best Entertainment Performance award five times previously.
And in a further blow, the boys lost out to Holly Willoughby in the Best TV Personality category at the TRIC Awards – an accolade which is voted for by the media industry.
Ant’s bitter divorce from his wife of 11 years, Lisa Armstrong, and his new relationship with their former PA Anne-Marie Corbett has also arguably left his cheeky-chappy image tarnished – especially when it was reported that Lisa had been sacked as a make-up artist on Britain’s Got Talent so that he could return to the show without any ‘distractions’.
So, is the tide beginning to turn for the lads’ success story?
Certainly, their living arrangements have seen them go in different directions.
After living next door to each other in leafy Chiswick since they moved to London from Newcastle back in the 90s, Ant has moved eight miles away from Dec, into a £5.5 million mansion.
The duo became inseparable after rising to fame on kids’ drama series Byker Grove in 1989, but fast-forward 30 years and the cracks are perhaps beginning to show.
With Dec, 43, in a new-parent bubble with his wife Ali Astall, 40, and their six-month-old daughter Isla, and Ant moving away to start afresh, there’s no disputing that their lives are increasingly moving in different directions.
Now that Ant’s back on TV and is set to return to I’m a Celebrity… Get Me out of Here! later this year, he may seem ready to get back into the swing of on-screen ‘Ant and Dec’, but can the pair really rebuild their once very tight working friendship?
Ant’s sudden departure left Dec having to fill in on his own for the first time in his career for the final two episodes of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
After a nervous start, Dec showed he was more than capable without his best friend at his side, but was said to be upset that Ant had put him in that position.
Opening up about his friend’s fury, Ant confessed, “He’s angry, of course he’s angry. But it’s justified and I understood it.”
The presenter’s woes deepened when Holly, 38, stood in for him in the jungle and not only earned universal praise for her performance alongside Dec, but viewing figures for the ITV prime time show increased.
Ant has insisted that any work problems the pair face will not change their friendship. He said, “We’re friends first and foremost and we’ve been friends from the age of 13.”
We hope you’re right, Ant.