Ant and Dec’s biggest controversies – from voting scandal to drunk driving arrest

After three decades of TV entertainment, Ant and Dec are arguably the most popular duo on TV.

But while the cheeky Geordie couple, both 46, are well known for their adorable on-screen chemistry on shows like Britain’s Got Talent and Saturday Night Takeaway, on occasion they’ve also been under the hood. projectors for less favorable reasons.

Perhaps the most memorable came in 2018, when Ant McPartlin pleaded guilty to a drunk driving accident in London.

He was fined £86,000 and checked himself into rehab for the second time in two years.

But Ant battled his demons and returned to join Dec in presenting hit primetime TV shows and the pair continue to win awards for entertaining viewers nationwide.



Ant and Dec at the British Academy Television Awards at the Royal Festival Hall on May 08, 2022

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Reward error

In 2005, the couple were erroneously named People’s Choice winners, even though The Catherine Tate Show received the most votes.

Television regulator Ofcom fined ITV £80,000, Ant and Dec returned the award in 2008 and it was sent to Catherine Tate.

The duo were reportedly “completely appalled” by the error.

black face

In 2020, Ant and Dec issued an apology for past sketches in which they used disguises during an undercover sketch for Saturday Night Takeaway.

The couple dressed in blackface to impersonate two fictional Jamaican women, Patty and Bernice.

Ant and Dec used exaggerated accents to prank cast members of British soap opera, Emmerdale, in a scene at the Woolpack Pub.



The Geordie duo portrayed Patty and Bernice as they cheated on the Emmerdale cast
The Geordie duo portrayed Patty and Bernice as they cheated on the Emmerdale cast

They also posed as Japanese girls using makeup and an Arab man wearing traditional clothing to target Princess Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell.

Speaking in a joint statement, the couple said they would not be making the sketches today and had asked ITV to remove them from their streaming catch-up service and YouTube channel.

“During previous episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway, we’ve impersonated people of color in the show’s Undercover segment,” they said.

“We realize this was wrong and want to say we are sincerely sorry to anyone we have offended.

“We deliberately stopped doing this several years ago and we certainly wouldn’t do these sketches today.

“We had already taken steps to ensure the footage was removed and we recently reconfirmed with ITV that these segments, and any other potentially offensive historical content, do not appear on the ITV hub or the Saturday YouTube channel. Night Takeaway.”

Telephone voting scandal

The stars feared for their careers following a huge ITV scandal.

The channel found itself in hot water in 2007 when it was revealed that viewers had wasted almost £8million voting for the programmes.

Saturday Night Takeaway was among the shows studied by listeners and it was discovered that it selected the finalists before voting closed, based on their suitability for television.



The couple feared viewers would turn on them
The couple feared viewers would turn on them

Ant and Dec later admitted that they feared viewers would turn on them.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Records, Dec explained: ‘We thought that was probably it. I think viewers would have been right to think that their trust had been shattered and if that had been the end of it, I don’t think we could have had a lot of complaints.

“It was definitely our worst moment, our worst moment. Totally. We couldn’t quite understand how it could have happened.

Ant added: “I think our audience trusts us and with this case we were concerned that the trust was gone.”

To drink-driving scandal

Ant was charged with drunk driving in 2018 following a multi-car crash in the capital.

He pleaded guilty and was fined £86,000 before checking into rehab for a second time, where he remained for four weeks.

Ant said at the time: “I let myself down, I let down a lot of people. For that, I’m really sorry.”



Ant was convicted of drunk driving in 2018
Ant was convicted of drunk driving in 2018, before appearing to turn his life around

Following the smash, Ant resigned from the mid-series Saturday Night Takeaway.

At his first solo show, Dec joked, “I’ve got twice as much work to do, so we’re gonna crack.”

Luckily, the couple quickly reunited and hosted Britain’s Got Talent again in 2019.

Drag performance



Ant and Dec in drag
Ant and Dec in drag

The pair gave a fierce performance as their drag characters Lady Antionette and Miss Donna Lee.

They performed the charity single We Werk Together alongside Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK winners The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Krystal Versace for the End of the Show Show.

While many viewers were thrilled with a drag performance at the “end of the show” during an episode of Saturday Night Takeaway, the segment didn’t go down well with everyone and some snagged. complained about the feature to Ofcom.

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