Ant and Dec have been one of the most high-profile double acts on British TV for decades. And part of that charm is how much the cheeky pair appear to genuinely enjoy each other’s company and make each other laugh.
So how would you react if we told you there was a THIRD member of this famous duo? It’s true! And even more surprising, this secret, undercover man is responsible for helping them write all their gags.
This man is comedy writer Andy Milligan. He’s been tucked away behind the scenes for more than 10 years but has been absolutely crucial in helping them craft their humour – he even helped them write their best-selling autobiography.
Insiders even told the Mirror that Andy is “as important as Brian Epstein was for The Beatles” when it comes to making the pair such a success. Andy has been Ant and Dec’s only full-time writer for 12 years and in 2014 he won the BAFTA Craft Award for his writing on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. Meanwhile, in 2014, 2015 and 2017 Ant and Dec won the BAFTA for Best Entertainment Presenters and the show won Best Entertainment Programme.
A source added: “It might be Ant and Dec on screen, but off it they regularly work as a trio and it is Ant and Dec and Andy. The boys have him involved in all of their big shows – Takeaway, Britain’s Got Talent and I’m A Celebrity – and haven’t made a project without him in more than a decade. This year there was lots of scrutiny around Ant, but once again Andy has helped the boys look brilliant on screen.”
Indeed, all eyes were on how I’m A Celeb would handle Ant’s return to our screens following his public struggle with addiction and his time spent in rehab. In the end, however, the TV host tackled the topic head-on in his typical cheeky fashion – and he was praised for his openness.
When the ITV show started last month, Ant’s TV partner Dec joked: “We are back and we’re here for the next three weeks, your hosts with the most, me and the gorgeous Holly Willoughby…”
Playing along, Ant replied: “What! Sorry what!” Dec then continued the joke: “Oh, no! Guys that’s the wrong script! You’ve put the wrong script in! Nobody was sure if you would make it or not,” before Ant said, “I’m back, my friend. It’s good to be back”.
A spokeswoman for Addaction, a charity that helps people with alcohol, drug and mental health issues, told ShortList at the time: “It is clear that telling stories of addiction recovery and celebrating people who have got their lives back is hugely important, so someone as well known and well-loved as Ant McPartlin bravely sharing his experiences will undoubtedly encourage others to seek out support and find recovery.”
Other projects Andy has worked on include BBC3’s Man Like Mobeen and Undercover on Dave.
(Image: Twitter/ Andy Milligan)