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Declan Joseph Oliver "Dec" Donnelly OBE (born 25 September 1975) is an English television presenter, television producer, rapper, singer, comedian and actor. He is best known for working alongside Anthony McPartlin as part of the presenting duo Ant & Dec. Donnelly came to prominence, alongside McPartlin, in the children's drama series Byker Grove, with both men establishing successful careers as television presenters, in which they are most known for presenting SMTV Live (between 1998–2001), I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway (since 2002), and Britain's Got Talent (since 2007).

Other notable highlights of Donnelly's career alongside McPartlin include presenting PokerFacePush the ButtonPop Idol, and Red or Black?, being hosts of charity appeal Text Santa (between 2011 and 2014), and also performing as pop music duo PJ & Duncan.

Early life

Donnelly is the child of Northern Irish parents Alphonsus Donnelly and Anne Donnelly, who originally resided in Desertmartin, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, before migrating to Newcastle upon Tyne in the 1950s. He is among seven children the couple raised within the council estate of Cruddas Park.

Donnelly's education took place first at St Michael's Roman Catholic Primary School, and later at the all-boys St Cuthbert's High School, with him receiving 8 GCSEs. Although he eventually moved towards a career in television, he originally considered becoming a Catholic priest but changed his mind upon seeing the students from the all-girls Sacred Heart Catholic High School.

Career​​

Donnelly's career in television began at the age of 12, when his father suggested that he audition for Byker Grove, a new children's television programme being created by CBBC in Newcastle upon Tyne that had been advertised in local newspapers. His success in this audition led to him securing the role of Duncan, whereupon he first met Anthony McPartlin. Although he was raised in an estate close to Donnelly, McPartlin had never met him until their involvement in the children's drama. The pair worked together on the show until their eventual departure in 1993, whereupon they began to bond as friends, both socially and professionally.

After a short tenure in music, Donnelly and McPartlin furthered their careers in television by becoming the presenting duo Ant & Dec. The pair continued to work in children's television, fronting ITV's saturday morning children's programme SMTV Live. After leaving the programme in 2001, the pair branched out to front other shows, including game shows – Friends Like These, PokerFace and Push the Button – talent shows – Pop Idol, and Britain's Got Talent – and entertainment programmes – I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. The pair continued to maintain acting careers, starring in a tribute to The Likely Lads in 2002, in the form of a remake of an episode from the show's sequel Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?, entitled "No Hiding Place", and in 2006 film Alien Autopsy. In April 2009, Donnelly, along with McPartlin, achieved wide international exposure after interviewing Britain's Got Talent contestant Susan Boyle, whose audition would become the most-viewed YouTube video of 2009.

Ant & Dec have their own production company Mitre Television where they produce their shows.

Personal life

On 22 July 2006, Donnelly was the best man for McPartlin's wedding to Lisa Armstrong. In August 2011, Donnelly attended his father's funeral, after Alphonsus died in hospital of cancer.

Donnelly dated actress Clare Buckfield for ten years between 1993 and 2003, and television presenter Georgie Thompson from January 2009 until April 2011. On 13 November 2014, Donnelly became engaged to the duo's manager Ali Astall, with whom he had been in a relationship for over a year, with the marriage taking place at St Michael's Roman Catholic Church, Elswick, Tyne and Wear, on 1 August 2015. The ceremony was conducted by his brother, Father Dermott Donnelly, a Catholic priest, with McPartlin as his best man. On 1 September 2018, after announcing earlier in the year that the couple were expecting their first child, Donnelly's wife gave birth to a daughter, whom the couple revealed had been named as Isla Elizabeth Anne.

In November 2019, it was revealed that Dec is related to pro wrestling promoter Dixie Carter.

Donnelly has stated that he is a practising Roman Catholic but does not publicly discuss religion or his family in depth.

Charity

Donnelly and McPartlin are patrons of the charity Sunshine Fund. When their single 'Let's Get Ready to Rhumble' reached No.1 in 2012, Ant & Dec donated the single's success to the charity ChildLine. They also support the Text Santa appeal.

Donnelly also supports the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle's Youth Ministry Team, directed by one of his older brothers Fr Dermott Donnelly, Dean of St Mary's Cathedral in Newcastle. They opened the W4 Youth Centre in 2013.

Earnings

In 2007, Donnelly and McPartlin signed a 2½ year, £40 million contract with ITV.

He had an estimated net worth of around £64 million in 2018.

Honours and awards

Donnelly was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to broadcasting and entertainment.

The following listed below are the television awards that Donnelly has been nominated for or awarded with, primarily while working alongside Anthony McPartlin as Ant & Dec:

1994

  • Brit Award Nomination – Best Song: "Let's Get Ready to Rhumble"



1995

  • Brit Award Nomination – British Breakthrough
  • Royal Television Society Awards- The Ant and Dec Show



1996

  • British Academy Children's Awards: Children's Entertainment Show (The Ant and Dec Show)



1997

  • Nominated – British Academy Children's Awards: Children's Entertainment Show (The Ant and Dec Show)



1998

  • British Academy Children's Awards: Children's Entertainment Show (Ant and Dec Unzipped)



2000

  • British Academy Children's Awards: Children's Entertainment Show (SMTV Live)
  • TV Choice Awards: Best Children's Show (SMTV Live)
  • Royal Television Society Awards: Best Children's Entertainment Programme (SMTV Live)
  • TV Hits Awards: Best Teen Show (CD:UK)
  • Loaded Carling Good Work Fellas Awards: Best Double Act
  • British Comedy Awards: The People's Choice (SMTV Live)



2001

  • TV Choice Awards: Best Children's Show (SMTV Live)
  • Broadcast Awards: Best Children's Programme (SMTV Live)
  • Royal Television Society Awards: Best Television Presenters
  • Disney Channel Awards: Kids Awards (The Ant and Dec Show)
  • Nominated – British Academy Children's Awards: Best Children's Entertainment Show (SMTV Live)



2002

  • Nominated – British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (Pop Idol)
  • British Academy Children's Awards: Children's Entertainment Show (SMTV Live)



2005

  • Nominated – British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!)



2006

  • British Comedy Awards: Best Comedy Entertainment Personality
  • British Comedy Awards: Best Comedy Entertainment Programme

2007

  • Nominated – British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway)



2008

  • TV Quick & TV Choice Awards: Best Entertainment Show (Saturday Night Takeaway)
  • Nickelodeon UK Kids Choice Awards 2008: Favourite Funny Person, Best TV presenters and Best Family TV show (Britain's Got Talent)



2009

  • TV Quick & TV Choice Awards: Best Entertainment Show (Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway)
  • TV Quick & TV Choice Awards:Outstanding Contribution Award
  • Nominated – British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!)
  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!)
  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Programme (Britain's Got Talent)



2012

  • Freesat: Best TV Presenter(s)



2013

  • TRIC Awards: TV Personality of the Year
  • TRIC Awards: TRIC Special Award (I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!)
  • RTS Awards: Entertainment Performance (I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!)
  • Nominated – British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!)



2014

  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway)
  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Programme (Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway)



2015

  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Performance (Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway)
  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Programme (Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway)



2017

  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Programme (Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway)
  • British Academy Television Awards: Live Event (The Queen's 90th Birthday Celebration)



2018

  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Programme (Britain's Got Talent)



2019

  • Guinness World Records: Most NTA's for Best Presenter won consecutively at 18
  • British Academy Television Awards: Entertainment Programme (Britain's Got Talent)
  • British Academy Television Awards: Reality And Constructed Factual Programme (I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!)

National Television Awards

Year Award Show
2001 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
2002 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme Pop Idol
Special Recognition Award
2003 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
Most Popular Reality Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2004 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
2005 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
2006 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Quiz Programme Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon
2007 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
Most Popular Reality Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2008 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
2010 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
2011 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2012 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Reality Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2013 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2014 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
Landmark Award
2015 Most Popular Entertainment Presenter
Most Popular Entertainment Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2016 Most Popular Entertainment Programme I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
Most Popular TV Presenter
2017 Most Popular Entertainment Programme Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
Most Popular TV Presenter
Challenge Show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
2018 The Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway
Challenge Show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
Most Popular TV Presenter
2019 The Bruce Forsyth Entertainment Award I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!
Most Popular TV Presenter

Filmography

Television

Year Title Role
1989–1993 Byker Grove Duncan
1994 Gimme 5 Guest co-presenter
1995–1997 The Ant & Dec Show Co-presenter
1995–1997 The Big Breakfast
1997 Ant and Dec's Geordie Christmas
1998 Ant & Dec Unzipped
1998–2001 SMTV Live
1998–2001 CD:UK
1999–2001 Friends Like These
2001, 2015–2016 BRIT Awards
2001 Slap Bang with Ant & Dec
2001–2003 Pop Idol
2002–2004 Engie Benjy Engie Benjy, Jollop and Trucker Troy (voice)
2002 A Tribute to the Likely Lads Himself
2002–2009, 2013–2018, 2020- Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway Co-presenter
2002– I'm a Celebrity....Get Me Out of Here!
2005 Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon
2006 A History of Tyneside
2006, 2008 Soccer Aid
2006–2007 PokerFace
2007– Britain's Got Talent
2008 Wanna Bet?
2009 Ant & Dec's Christmas Show
2010–2011, 2020 Ant & Dec's Push the Button
2011–2012 Red or Black?
2011–2014 Text Santa
2016 When Ant and Dec Met The Prince: 40 Years of The Prince's Trust
The Queen's 90th Birthday Celebration
2019 Britain's Got Talent: The Champions
Ant and Dec's DNA Documentary Himself

Film

Year Title Role
2003 Love, Actually  Himself
2006 Alien Autopsy Ray Santilli
2020 Thomas and the Magic Railroad Himself
Thomas & Friends: The Secret of the Cave Treasure

Television advertisements

Year Title Role
2000 Wispa Bite Himself
2001 Ambrosia Splat Himself, voice only
Woolworths Himself
2002 McDonald's Himself, voice only
2008 Sainsbury's Himself
2010–2011 Nintendo Wii & DS
2013–2015 Morrisons
2016–2018 Suzuki
2019–present Marks & Spencer
Santander Bank

Apps

  • An official Saturday Night Takeaway app known as Studio Rush launched on 30 January 2013 but has been removed.
  • An official I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! app launched on 9 November 2015.
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