Declan Donnelly

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Declan Donnelly
Declan Donnelly (2009).jpg
Donnelly in 2009
Born Declan Joseph Oliver Donnelly
(1975-09-25) 25 September 1975 (age 39)
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Residence London
Education St Michael's Roman Catholic Primary School
St Cuthbert's High School
Occupation Television Presenter, Actor, Singer, Rapper, Comedian
Years active 1987–present
Net worth £62m (approx.)
Religion Roman Catholic
Partner(s) Ali Astall (engaged)
Parents Anne Donnelly
Alphonsus Donnelly (deceased)
from the BBC programme Desert Island Discs, 29 December 2013.[1]

Official Website

Declan Joseph Oliver 'Dec' Donnelly (born 25 September 1975) is an English television presenter and actor, best known as one half of the English acting and TV presenting duo Ant & Dec, with the other being Anthony McPartlin.

Donnelly came to prominence in the children's drama series Byker Grove and as one half of the pop music duo PJ & Duncan. Since then, Donnelly and McPartlin have had a very successful career as television presenters, currently presenting I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! since 2002, Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway since 2002, Britain's Got Talent since 2007 and Text Santa since 2011.

Before then, the duo presented other ITV entertainment series such as PokerFace, Push the Button, Pop Idol and Red or Black?.

Early life[edit]

Donnelly is the youngest of seven children born to the late Alphonsus (died 2011) and Anne Donnelly. He has three brothers, Martin, Eamonn and Dermott; and three sisters, Patricia, Moyra and Camalia.[2] His parents hailed from Desertmartin, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, but migrated to Newcastle, where they bought a house in 1958.[3] The family lived in the council estate of Cruddas Park for many years and all seven children were raised there.[4] Donnelly's future double act partner Anthony McPartlin was raised in a nearby estate but the duo only met in 1989, on the set of Byker Grove.[5][6]

Donnelly attended St Michael's Roman Catholic Primary School and the all-boys St Cuthbert's High School, leaving with 8 GCSEs.[7] He considered becoming a Catholic priest but quipped that he changed his mind after seeing the girls from Sacred Heart, the local Catholic girls' school.[8]


Main article: Ant & Dec

The part of Duncan on Byker Grove was Dec's first well-known TV appearance. At the age of 12, he saw an advert in a local newspaper stating that a new children's TV show would be filmed in Newcastle and was looking for young actors. It was his father who suggested that he audition. At first Dec said he didn't want to, but he later phoned the producer and asked for an audition. He was successful and it was on the Byker Grove set that he first met McPartlin.

Donnelly and McPartlin soon became the famous duo known today, who host Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, an entertainment show in which they compete against each other and the audience can win prizes. They also host ITV's reality TV show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! in which celebrities are placed in the jungle in Australia and have to compete to win the show. They also host another ITV show, Britain's Got Talent, a talent search to find an act to perform at the Royal Variety Show in front of the Royal Family and most recently Ant & Dec's Push the Button, with the same idea as Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. Most recently, they hosted Red or Black?, a game show which is based on roulette. In April 2009, Donnelly and 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. They also starred in the 2006 film Alien Autopsy.

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

Personal life[edit]

Donnelly was the best man at Anthony McPartlin's wedding to Lisa Armstrong on 22 July 2006.[9] On 13 November 2014, it was announced that Donnelly has become engaged to their longtime manager Ali Astall, whom he has been dating since 2013.[10]

Donnelly has stated that he is a practicing Catholic but does not publicly discuss religion or his family in depth.[5][6][8]

Donnelly is a supporter of the Labour Party.[11]


Donnelly and McPartlin are patrons of the charity Sunshine Fund. When their single 'Let's Get Ready to Rhumble' reached No.1, 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.[8][12][13]

They opened the W4 Youth Centre in 2013.[14]


In 2007, Donnelly and McPartlin signed a 2½ year, £30 million contract with ITV.[15]


The duo has won a considerable number of awards over the years for their television work, as well as awards for Best New Act during their singing career.


  • Brit Award Nomination – Best Song: "Let's Get Ready to Rhumble"[16]

















Year Title Role
1980s Why Don't You? Himself
1989 Byker Grove Duncan
1994 The Cinder Path Stable Boy
1995-97 The Ant & Dec Show Himself
1998 Ant & Dec Unzipped Himself
1998-2001 SMTV Live Himself
CD:UK Himself
1999-2001 Friends Like These Himself
2001, 2015 BRIT Awards Presenter
2001 Slap Bang with Ant & Dec Presenter
2001-03 Pop Idol Presenter
2002-09 Engie Benjy Voice
Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? Himself
2002-09, 13— Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway Presenter
2002— I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Presenter
2005 Ant & Dec's Gameshow Marathon Presenter
2006, 08 Soccer Aid Presenter
2006-07 PokerFace Presenter
2007— Britain's Got Talent Presenter
2009 Ant & Dec's Christmas Show Presenter
2010-11 Ant & Dec's Push the Button Presenter
2011—12 Red or Black? Presenter
2011— Text Santa Presenter
2016 The Prince's Trust (working title) Presenter


Year Title Role
2003 Love, Actually Himself
2006 Alien Autopsy Ray Santilli

Television advertisements[edit]

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
2010-11 Nintendo Wii & DS Himself
2013— Morrisons Himself



  1. ^ "Declan Donnelly". Desert Island Discs. 29 December 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Declan Donnelly left devastated by the death of his father". Daily Mail. 25 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Darlington and Stockton Times archive
  4. ^ "Dec leads mourners at dad’s funeral". Evening Chronicle. 28 August 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Ant and Dec are laughing all the way to the bank". Mail Online. 10 April 2007. 
  6. ^ a b "The boys next door". The Guardian. 10 September 2005. 
  7. ^ THE IoS PROFILE: Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly; Likely lad[dead link] Archived from The Independent (London)
  8. ^ a b c Jones, David (August 2013). "Declan Donnelly: TV presenter and brother of a Catholic priest". Catholic Life. pp. 62–64. 
  9. ^ Wedding
  10. ^ "Declan Donnelly engaged to Ali Astall". 13 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Ant and Dec: just the two of us". The Guardian. 23 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Cathedral Life — Clergy and Staff: Father Dermott Donnelly". 
  13. ^ "Youth Village Opening". July 2010. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Gibson, Owen (18 April 2007). "Kings of Saturday night TV scoop £30m jackpot". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  16. ^ "h2g2 – Ant and Dec – British Television Presenters". Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  17. ^ "Ant and Dec win trio of TV awards". BBC News. 15 October 2002. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  18. ^ "British Comedy Awards 2006: The Winners – TV News". Digital Spy. 13 December 2006. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  19. ^ Television – News – British Comedy Awards 2006: The Winners. Digital Spy (13 December 2006). Retrieved on 2012-05-05.
  20. ^ "National TV Awards 2006: Full winners list – TV News". Digital Spy. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  21. ^ "National Television Awards: The Winners – TV News". Digital Spy. 30 October 2008. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  22. ^ "Ant and Dec top children's awards". BBC News. 14 September 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  23. ^ Ant and Dec's Award Surprise. 8 August 2009

External links[edit]