This Saturday 3rd March, Saturday Night Takeaway celebrates 100 landmark episodes – In the runup, Ant and Dec talk their favourite moments.
To commemorate the milestone of 100 episodes, Ant and Dec have looked back on their favourite memories from across 15 series.
The Geordie duo talked about when live TV goes wrong, their favorite Undercover’s and ‘Get Out Of Me Ear’ specials – Even revealing their scariest Ant versus Dec challenges.
Ant and Dec were asked: ‘In all your series, tell us about a live TV moment that didn’t quite go to plan?‘
Ant said: “Well last series Scarlett Moffatt knocked on a house, live, and we knew the people would be watching the show because they are fans. But they were watching it on catch-up so they didn’t go outside, Scarlett didn’t get to go on site, the dog was barking, the door was locked. It all got a little bit uneasy for a while. The fact they weren’t watching us live was a bit of a problem.
Dec responded: “We always surprise people live on the show, sometimes in their living rooms, and sometimes you get a better reaction than other times. Sometimes if you lip read you can see that they have been quite surprised. We have had to apologise a few times because people have had such a shock, they didn’t realise what they were saying. That’s always quite a cringe live moment.”
He added: “All in all though, when the live moments go wrong, we just get on with it and it becomes right, if you know what I mean. People often say to us, ‘Oh we love your show, the best bit is when it goes wrong’, and you think, ‘Thanks a lot!’, but I know what they mean. That’s the fun of live TV.”
Ant added: “And the fact that there’s two of us helps as well because if one of us gets it wrong, the other one can just laugh at him!”
Talking about their most daring Undercovers, and a time they genuinely didn’t think they’d get away with it… Ant said: “I think you, dressed as a cat, on Jeremy Kyle, don’t you think? Daring in terms of the outfit and also how close you were to him.”
Dec said: “Yeah. That was definitely the most nerve wracking, appearing on Jeremy Kyle as a contributor. I was a guy who had had so much plastic surgery that he looked like his own cat. I was so scared of going on there. We did it in the States, on his American show, so I had to be American as well and get the accent right. That’s the most nervous I’ve ever been. Just being grilled by Jeremy Kyle is nerve wracking anyway! I have sympathy for his real guests now…
“We’d spent loads of money on it, and it was our first one that we shot since going back after four years off, so that was an added pressure. If I’d walked out there and he’d just gone, ‘Dec, is that you?’… I just didn’t want to make a mess of it. You put pressure on yourself.
“Generally we’ve been really lucky, we’ve never had to can one. Some of them have been shorter than others when they’ve recognised us a bit earlier but we’ve never canned one.”
The presenters were then asked: ‘What’s been your favourite Get Out Of Me Ear and who was the most game celebrity who has taken part?‘
Ant said: “I think you have to go back to the original one with Louis Walsh. We didn’t know if the idea was going to work but we laughed so much during it, and watching it back, we said, ‘This has got to go in Show One’. I think that’s still my favourite. Louis talking to Dannii Minogue on his banana phone. Brilliant.”
Discussing stand out End of Show Show moments, Dec said: “Mine’s kind of similar to the Louis one. The first one we ever did was Robbie Williams. We weren’t sure whether it was going to work and whether we’d stick with it or even if we’d do it every week. We phoned Rob and asked if he’d been in our first ever one, and he said ‘yes’. We said we wanted to make it rain in the studio and do the routine from Singing In The Rain and he said, ‘That’s one of my favourite ever musicals, I definitely want to do that’.”
Ant said: “We rehearsed and rehearsed, and it was brilliant. It was that moment where you’re picturing it and it turns out exactly how you wanted.”
Dec added: “We slammed him in the face with a bucket of water each at the end and soaked him and it was at that moment I was like, ‘This works’. I will always remember that so fondly. But there are so many: Jess Glynne on the wall, Michael Buble in the pub, Craig David on hoverboards, Riverdance.”
Ant replied: “That was the hardest one to learn, that. It took me a long time to learn. It never went right until we went live. One of us put a step wrong every single time we rehearsed it. But thankfully when we went live, it all went well.”
Dec concluded with: “We ended up taking those guys on tour when we took Takeaway around the country and we did Riverdance every night, so that’s one we’ll always remember fondly. We have learned to do a lot of stuff over the years – we’re still no better at any of them but we’ve got a good long CV full of skills we’re not very good at!”
Talking about end of series highlights, Dec said: “It’s lovely to take the audience somewhere and do the show from somewhere different. We started off just sending them on holiday and then we thought, ‘Hang on a minute, they get all the fun – let’s take the show on holiday!’.”
Ant revealed: “The first one was a cruise ship so we didn’t make it easy for ourselves. We went to Barcelona which was brilliant. The sun was going down, we were broadcasting live in our DJs. It was lovely as a one-off celebration, but now we’re going to keep doing it I think – until we run out of venues!”
Touching on their infamous Ant versus Dec challenges, the pair revealed their scariest moments. Dec said: “We’ve done some scary stuff: abseiling down the building, collecting flags from the outside of the building, zipwiring. Climbing up buildings, climbing down buildings. I broke my arm on a motorbike stunt one year. I don’t really like the scary stuff but they always manage to persuade me to give in and do it. Ant’s much better at those ones than me.”
Ant said: “I’m not bothered so every time they give us a heights one I’m like, ‘Yes!’. You’d think that would put me at an advantage but it never works out that way. He always claws it back at the last minute or wins it back the following week. But yeah, we’ve done some pretty scary stuff over the years and some fun stuff as well that you’d never get to do if you weren’t on a telly show. We learned how to play darts with Eric Bristow and Andy ‘The Viking’ Fordham. Our training was playing darts in the pub with a pint! Best training we’ve ever had.”
Mentioning their sketch, the Geordie duo were asked: ‘In recent years you have had viewers gripped with Who Shot Simon Cowell and The Missing Crown Jewels – where did the idea for the segments come about?‘
Ant revealed: “We were a big fan of The Two Ronnies and they used to do a weekly serial. One I remember fondly was The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town. And we wanted to do something like that. We chatted to the team about doing a whodunit and the idea of shooting someone was brought up, and who better for that than Simon Cowell?”
Dec said: “We took some inspiration from Who Shot JR? and we thought, who’s the most JR-like person around? We phoned Simon and told him about it and he asked if he’d get to be in it and we said, ‘Yes, and best of all, the whole thing is about you’, so he said, ‘I love it, it’s a great idea, I’m in’. It was something we hadn’t done before on the show and we really wanted to try it.”
Saturday Night Takeaway features a different Guest Announcer each week, Ant and Dec both reveal what they think it takes to star in the live booth.
Ant said: “You have to be good under pressure because it’s live and anything could happen, you’ve got to have good energy, enthusiasm, be a good talker. You just have to ‘get it’. Hugh Bonneville was brilliant.”
Dec added: “We were surprised he was a fan of the show to be honest. He was brilliant. One of the best, and we didn’t know if he’d be any good, was Hugh Jackman. I don’t know why we doubted him but I think we thought he might be a bit too cool. He was absolutely amazing, he gave a real enthusiasm and gusto.”
Ant and Dec were asked if they’d take part in Win the Ads – Would they stick or gamble the cash?
Both of them said “Gamble!”, Dec added: “We rarely get people sticking. I think we’ve only had it a handful of times. It doesn’t happen very often at all so that little part of the show still really works well. People get really behind it and you can play along at home, so we really love it.”
When asked if they have a favourite segment in the show, Ant responded: “I think for sheer fun, I think Get Out Me Ear, because you never know what’s going to happen. We have an idea of what we’re going to do but it always goes off on a tangent. We just laugh a lot. So in terms of a day of filming, that’s the most fun, I think.”
Dec added: “Yes, and for the live studio segments I do love doing Audience hits.”
Discussing the Audience hits and how they’ve become extremely popular with viewers, Ant said: “It’s planned about a year in advance because we’ve got to get to their wedding or their holiday or whatever it is that they’re doing. The team finds out all about them and follows them around.”
Dec said: “In general we try and make the viewers feel like we’re constantly watching the audience and playing surprises on people.
“We’ve got an idea this year that we’ve been working on for two years because it’s quite a tricky one and there are lots of people involved. We think we’ve got to a point where we can do it. It’s still a bit up in the air but I think we’re getting there.”
Ant replied: “They’re great when they come off but you’ve got that nerve wracking element of, it could all go wrong and we could have our cover blown any time. And it’s the first item we do on the show so that’s always scary.”
Dec summarised with: “It’s brilliant when it all goes right. We’ve had a few marriage proposals on the show: we had one where a girl wanted to set up her boyfriend for being lazy but instead of doing that, we contacted him and double bluffed her instead. We took him to Australia, took him into the I’m A Celebrity camp, got him on a Japanese gameshow, and had him doing all this amazing stuff.
“We kind of rehabilitated him and made him less lazy and he came back a changed man, and proposed to his girlfriend in the studio. That was a really fun one to do and really rewarding.”
Lastly discussing their Top 5 Takeaway moments of all time, Ant said: “The top one has got to be our Undercover on Simon Cowell. It was the first one we ever did – we flew to LA and auditioned for American Idol, which was really nerve wracking. Also the prosthetic make-up didn’t turn up so we had to do dodgy beards and stick-on earrings but it worked.”
Dec recalled: “Last year’s series finale in Disneyworld Florida. That was amazing. Doing our finale with the castle in the background was something we’d wanted to do for a long time and that’s definitely a top five moment.”
Ant added: “Michael Buble going across to the pub with Lewis Hamiton for the End of the Show Show because it was so different and memorable.”
Discussing Get Out Of Me Ear, Dec said: “One of my favourite ever Get Out of Me Ears was Richard Madeley, when he had photographers coming around to his house to talk about doing a calendar. We made him take a shine to a photographer’s shoes and try them on, then dip his toe into the swimming pool to see how warm it was, still wearing the shoes. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in my entire life. He’s a genius.”
Ant then added: “Probably abseiling down the building for Ant Versus Dec. I love anything that involves heights and danger and potential death!”
Dec laughed: “I remember when we first abseiled down the building and as you went down you got to peer into all the windows and it was really interesting. I just remember thinking how messy some people’s desks were!”
Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway 100th episode airs Saturday 3 March from 7pm on ITV.