TV | Ant & Dec – What's their enduring appeal?

The start of the eleventh series of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway is upon us, which presumably, still provides some entertainment for at least a few families around the country, but after 12 years of the same two faces, making the same jokes just in different settings, how are we not bored yet?

As an arts students a generous amount of free time is something one has become well acquainted with over the past three years, often filled with various terrible quality television shows. However, even after suffering through hours of the likes of Danny Dyer’s I believe in UFOs, Big Brother or, worst of all, The Only Way Is Essex the appeal of Ant and Dec still manages to escape me.

It’s been twelve years since the start of Saturday Night Takeaway, not to mention further exhaustion of the duo in shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!, and so it’s difficult to understand just how the duo remain so successful. The pair managed to pick up three National Television Awards (NTAs) last year, which continues a 14 year trend of them picking up at least one award at the NTAs. Sure, they are playing to their target market at the NTAs, which being produced by ITV leaves them with no real rivals for the likes of Best Entertainment Presenter, yet after accepting their Landmark award for 25 years, even I have to concede they must be doing something right to capture the nations heart.

However, suggesting Ant and Dec’s long career has been a resounding success would be ridiculous; their list of unsuccessful shows is far longer than their successful ones, for example Wanna Bet?, Red or Black? and PokerFace were indisputable failures, being axed soon after they had begun. So what is it that makes the duo bulletproof? They regularly take centre stage performing on the equivalent of TV series Titanics, yet live to tell the tale. Shocking ratings and reviews that would destroy the reputation of other presenters seem to have no impact on Ant and Dec, perhaps this is their appeal, they’re the presenting equivalent of the friend you made on your first day of University and have never shook off.

It’s well documented that their best work is behind them, even their recent advert for this series of Saturday Night Takeaway seemed to allude to the idea that they can’t better previous series, but it appears that their presence, not the quality of show or humour is enough to satisfy the British public, we all just want more Ant and Dec. This year, next year, every year for the conceivable future, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Freddie Gray

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