Ant and Dec considered quitting 'BGT' after feeling 'sidelined'

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Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly attending the National Television Awards 2020 held at the O2 Arena, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly attending the National Television Awards 2020 (Doug Peters/EMPICS)

Ant and Dec have revealed they once considered quitting Britain’s Got Talent because they thought they were being “sidelined” – but stayed on after having it out with Simon Cowell.

The presenting duo said they had started to feel that they didn’t feature in the ITV show that much after the editing process, despite putting in long hours of filming.

The Sun reports that the pair open up about the incident in their new autobiography Once Upon A Tyne, in which they also admit they were driven “nuts” by BGT boss Cowell’s poor timekeeping.

Read more: ITV confirms Britain's Got Talent return date

The TV stars – who are both 44 – started hosting the much-loved entertainment show in 2007, but problems arose in 2012.

Ant said: “We began to feel that we were wasting our time doing the auditions because all the footage of the work we were doing was ending up on the cutting-room floor.”

He confessed the experience left the duo “feeling like we were being sidelined”.

Ant McPartlin (left to right), Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden, Simon Cowell, David Walliams, and Declan Donnelly at the BGT Photocall. (PA)
Ant McPartlin (left to right), Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden, Simon Cowell, David Walliams, and Declan Donnelly at the BGT Photocall. (PA)

Dec said the pair gave serious thought to ending their run on the hit programme.

“We’d been to see the bosses at ITV and told them we were strongly considering leaving BGT,” he said.

When Cowell heard of Ant and Dec’s concerns he invited them to meet him in Los Angeles, where they “let him have it with both barrels” over a meal.

Ant said Cowell “sat there, took it all and listened intently for four, maybe five cigarettes” and assured them that things would change.

(left to right) Anthony McPartlin, David Walliams, Declan Donnelly and Simon Cowell at a photo call for Britain's Got Talent at the London Palladium.
Anthony McPartlin, David Walliams, Declan Donnelly and Simon Cowell at a photo call for Britain's Got Talent at the London Palladium (PA)

The music mogul, said Dec, “was as good as his word”, and eight years later the duo still host the show.

They are about to return for the remainder of the current series, which was delayed because of the coronavirus.

The audition rounds aired earlier this year but the semi-finals and grand finale were put on hold when the UK went into lockdown.

However, ITV has now confirmed that they will go ahead in September.

Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly arriving at the Britain's Got Talent photocall, London Palladium. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS
Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly arriving at the Britain's Got Talent photocall, London Palladium (Doug Peters/EMPICS)

Read more: Amanda Holden reveals what the judges ACTUALLY use their audition notebooks for

Diversity star Ashley Banjo will fill in for Cowell on the judging panel, as the mogul is still recovering from surgery after breaking his back testing out an electric bike.

Banjo will join regular judges David Walliams, Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden.

Britain’s Got Talent returns to ITV at 8pm on September 5.

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