Belfast Telegraph

Ant, Dec wanted Byker drama school

Ant and Dec have revealed they would love to set up a performing arts school in the North East and even tried to buy Byker Grove to house it.

The Bafta-winning Geordie duo, who found fame as PJ and Duncan on former Newcastle-set show Byker Grove, said they had put a bid in for the building where the programme was set, but hadn't been successful.

Asked if they would ever set up a drama school, Ant McPartlin replied: "We've talked for a while now about doing something in the North East because when we were growing up, we were very lucky - we had Byker Grove, we also had Catherine Cookson dramas being made there.

"We didn't know it at the time but we were going through a really rich period in the North East. When you work and live in London, as we do, and when you're sat in Newcastle it does feel like a million miles away."

Declan Donnelly agreed: "We were very lucky that we got that opportunity and if we made it, there must be other kids in the North East who can do it too... Not just in the North East, all around the country, people who aren't necessarily from London shouldn't feel like they are excluded and they can't get into the industry."

Ant shared: "Should I say this? Why not... A few years ago, we tried to buy the building that Byker Grove was made in and turn it into a performing arts centre. We got our bid but we didn't get it, so it is something we've looked at for a number of years."

Dec quipped: "Yeah, you shouldn't have said that."

The pair are taking their hit series Saturday Night Takeaway on tour for live shows, which Ant admitted was a nerve-racking prospect: " We're nervous just rehearsing and developing it now. It's kind of a different discipline for us - it's something we've never had the chance to do and this is the perfect show to take on the road.

"I don't combat [nerves] very well. I go to the loo quite a lot. I've got lots of superstitions like white underpants, but you don't want to know about that kind of stuff."

Dec also told how they had recently played golf with Sir Bruce Forsyth, calling it "one of the best days of my life".


From Belfast Telegraph