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Ant & Dec feared for careers after phone scandal

1 of 1 Ant & Dec spoke frankly about their fears for their TV future
Ant & Dec spoke frankly about their fears for their TV future

UK TV mainstays Ant & Dec have admitted that they feared for their broadcasting careers following a phone-in scandal involving their shows.

In 2007, it emerged that phone-in competitions had been rigged on their prime time ITV shows Gameshow Marathon and Saturday Night Takeaway. ITV was later fined over £5 million by UK TV regulator Ofcom.

Speaking yesterday (Sunday) on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, Declan Donnelly recalled: "We thought that was probably it. I think the viewers would have been justified in thinking their trust had been breached and if that had been the end I don't think we could have had many complaints.

"It was, without doubt, our worst moment, our worst point. Totally. We couldn't quite comprehend how it was allowed to happen."

Ant McPartlin added: "I think our audience trust us and with that case we worried that the trust had gone.

"It did affect us... it was probably the worst part of our career. We were credited as executive producers. A lot of people said, 'You are executive producers, you should have known this was going on', but we didn't."

The TV duo acknowledged that subsequent successes at the National Television Awards - winning three prizes voted for by fans - helped to restore their faith in their broadcasting careers.

"It was an emotional night because there is the realisation that maybe all is not lost and we started going about our work and trying to rebuild our trust with the viewer and hope that we could get back to where we were," said Donnelly.

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