Belfast Telegraph

Stephen Mulhern tells of joy at working with Ant McPartlin again

The TV presenter also told of a ‘weird’ incident with Gemma Collins while filming a new game show.

Stephen Mulhern tells of joy at working with both Ant and Dec again (Ian West/PA)
Stephen Mulhern tells of joy at working with both Ant and Dec again (Ian West/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Stephen Mulhern has told of his joy at working with Ant McPartlin again, following his time away from work.

Mulhern, who appears on Ant And Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, compared McPartlin’s return alongside his long-time presenting partner Declan Donnelly to a family reunion.

McPartlin took a break from the spotlight following his drink-driving arrest last year, but he and Donnelly returned as a presenting duo earlier this year on Britain’s Got Talent (BGT), and they will soon be back on screens on the new series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!.

Mulhern told the PA news agency: “It’s amazing, (McPartlin) is doing fantastic. I was with them two days ago, we filmed the advert for next year’s Saturday Night Takeaway, and it is a dream.

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Ant and Dec (Ian West/PA)

“It’s like, in a bizarre way, all the family are back together, it’s lovely.”

Entertainment show Saturday Night Takeaway will be back on screens in 2020 after the series went on hiatus this year.

Mulhern, 42, is known for presenting a number of programmes, including BGT companion show Britain’s Got More Talent and game shows such as Catchphrase and In For A Penny, and he will soon host a new game show called Rolling In It, where contestants are paired with a celebrity to take on a supersized version of an arcade game.

Mulhern said the show, devised by Simon Cowell, is “so different” because of the celebrity element, but revealed that there have been a few awkward moments in filming so far.

“There’s a couple of episodes where one of the contestants was paired with Gemma Collins and Gemma gave him the wrong answer and literally blew it,” he said.

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Gemma Collins (Matt Crossick/PA)

“It’s really weird when you see a relationship of a celebrity with a contestant they don’t know each other, have only met that morning and they argue like they are family… it’s weird.”

Aside from his numerous TV commitments, the presenter and magician is also supporting a competition called Christmas Stars, which gives UK primary schools the opportunity to have their festive play televised to Virgin TV customers this Christmas.

Mulhern will join the winning school and narrate their play, which will be recorded professionally and made available via On Demand on Virgin TV in the days before Christmas.

Having taken part last year, Mulhern said he was keen to do it again because Christmas is his favourite time of the year, and also because of the benefits acting can give children.

He said: “I think there is something about performance that gives kids an added confidence and if you can give a kid the chance to be a character and not necessarily be themselves, but obviously put something of themselves into that character, I think it’s a brilliant thing.

“To be honest I don’t think there’s enough of it. When I was at school I loved drama and I loved music and that’s what I really went for. Drama and music is what I loved and taking kids who are possibly a bit nervous or not so confident with what they do, drama and performance gives them that chance.”

He said he finds it “really bizarre” that drama and music and performance gets overlooked on the curriculum, adding: “I do think genuinely schools need to do more of this stuff.”

The winning school will receive £5,000 and musical instruments, as well as a chance to see Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School Of Rock musical in London, along with a masterclass with the cast behind the scenes.

Schools can enter via virginmedia.com/christmas before the competition closes on November 19.

PA

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