This year’s Brit Awards hosts, Ant & Dec, on hugs from Eminem and hangovers on CD:UK.
You last hosted the Brits in 2001 – why the big return?
Dec: They asked us and we thought: “No, don’t think so.” We didn’t enjoy it last time. We were so nervous we can’t remember the night. But because we didn’t have fun we felt we had to do it again.
Can you remember anything?
Ant: Hugging Eminem when he won his award [for Best International Male]. He was lovely.
D: Yeah, he was the hugger! You were the huggee, Ant. He said what an inspiration we were, that PJ & Duncan paved the way for him as a white rap artist. He didn’t really.
Noel Gallagher said on stage that boyband A1 winning Best Newcomers was “taking the p*ss”. Do you remember that?
D: I remember him making a speech and the audience reacting to it, but we couldn’t hear.
There have been other (controversially) great Brit moments throughout the years. Which is your favourite?
D: Jarvis Cocker [was] my favourite ever – his storming of Earth Song.
A: “In your face, Jacko!”
D: Some people say the Brits are boring, but random things happen on live TV.
Like the egg-throwing violinist on Britain’s Got Talent?
A: Yeah. We introduced the act and went off stage. We come back and there are eggs everywhere.
D: I noticed a violinist who wasn’t in rehearsals. When she put her violin down, I thought, “It must be part of the performance.” When she walked forward I thought, “Is she going to sing?” Then she pulled these eggs from under her dress. I said to Ant, “I’m not sure this bit’s planned.”
Let’s talk quickly about PJ & Duncan. Who inspired Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble? Who are your rap heroes?
A: Ice Cube and Ice T.
D: NWA, all that kind of stuff. That whole West Coast rap scene. They had really nice caps.
Did your recent comeback on Saturday Night Takeaway exorcise some demons?
A: Definitely. People remember Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble fondly now. It was weird being No.1 with that song 19 years ago. We can look back at that period without the embarrassment. We’re both 40 this year; we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that sidestep.
You’re also fondly remembered for Saturday morning TV. Any hungover interviewees?
A: God yeah, especially on CD:UK. Stereophonics were always hungover. Kelly Jones said to me recently, “I don’t really remember CD:UK.” I said, “I’m not surprised!” We had an actress who was meant to appear in an SM:TV Live sketch. She was so off her head we got Carol Vorderman in to replace her.
D: There was always a lot of strong black coffee backstage.
What was the secret to SM:TV Live’s success?
A: Cat Deeley. She was a friend of a friend of a friend of ours and got the dirt on us. We got p*ssed at a Chinese restaurant and we were a little rude – Declan was rude – to this French guy next to us. When we saw her [in auditions] she pretended she was his girlfriend and said, “How dare he?”, so we were instantly on the back foot. We apologised and she went, “I’m only joking.” That was it, she got the job. We obviously had the same sense of humour.
Finally, why do you always stand with Ant on the left and Dec on the right?
A: Because, as you watch TV, from left to right it’s Ant and Dec.
D: It’s as good a reason as any. We get confused for each other.
The Brit Awards 2015 with MasterCard takes place on 25 February at The O2 and will be broadcast on ITV.