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Geordie duo Ant and Dec reveal the moment they thought their careers had ended
GEORDIE presenters Ant and Dec have spoken of the moment they thought their television careers had come to an end.
The pair, appearing together on Desert Island Discs this morning (Sunday, December 29) , said that a phoneline competition scandal that rocked ITV in 2007 was the worst moment of their careers and could have spelled the end of over a decade of television presenting for the duo.
Communications watchdog Ofcom fined ITV more than £5million after finding that viewers on shows including Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway had paid to enter premium rate phone competitions which they stood little or no chance of winning.
Ant, who learned less than two weeks before Christmas that his sister-in-law had died of cancer while he was filming I'm A Celebrity... Get me Out of Here in Australia, said: “I think our audience trust us and with that case we were really worried that trust had gone.”
Dec said that the pair “couldn't quite comprehend how it was allowed to happen”.
He added: “We thought that probably that was it, to be honest with you, because I think the viewers would have been justified in thinking their trust had been breached, and if that had been the end, I don't think we could have had many complaints.”
The stars - real names Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly – also spoke up for the way in which Susan Boyle was treated in Britain’s Got Talent during their time hosting the 2009 show.
Ant said: “We worried about her a lot and the duty of care that they have on Britain's Got Talent for the contestants is very high - there's somebody constantly there for them - but she found it hard just being in London, being away from Scotland and so on.”
He added that anybody would find it tough to deal with the global fame she experienced.
When Dec was questioned by host Kirsty Young about a rumour that he once wanted to be a priest, he admitted that there was the “tiniest seed of truth” in it.
He said: “I thought about it and then got the bus home and saw all the girls from local convent school, Sacred Heart, passing by and I thought it's not for me.”
Ant and Dec were the first duo to appear on Desert Island Discs since Spitting Image creators Peter Fluck and Roger Law in 1987.
Their song choices included the theme to 1980s drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, and the programme is still available to listen to on Radio 4’s website.
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