Ant and Dec hope OBEs inspire working-class youngsters

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Television duo Ant and Dec have said they hope to inspire youngsters from working-class backgrounds after they were honoured for their contribution to entertainment.

The presenting double-act collected their fourth award of the week as they received OBEs at Buckingham Palace, after picking up three prizes at the National Television Awards on Wednesday, including the TV presenter award for the 16th year in a row.

Despite building their career based around being a partnership, the pair were separated briefly on Friday as they went to receive their awards from the Prince of Wales, under their real names, Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly.

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After receiving the accolade, Donnelly said: “You don’t expect things like this to happen to lads like us from the west end of Newcastle, so it’s a huge honour.

“We’re humbled and honoured and ecstatic about the whole thing.

“We hope it can inspire young people from backgrounds like ours that things like this do happen to us sometimes. Put your head down and work hard and you can achieve what you want.

“You can end up in Buckingham Palace.”

After being reunited with his on-screen partner of almost 30 years , McPartlin said: “It’s normally me that goes first and when they called Dec’s name I thought, ‘I’ll watch what he does’.

“Twenty minutes apart, it’s a long time … it was weird.”

McPartlin and Donnelly were accompanied by respective wives Lisa Armstrong and Ali Astall to the ceremony and said they would celebrate with a “small glass of champagne” and take their families to lunch.

The Britain’s Got Talent presenters have already spent a considerable amount of time with the Prince of Wales after interviewing him for a documentary celebrating 40 years of the Prince’s Trust.

When receiving his award, McPartlin said Charles had joked: “You survived the documentary then.”

Donnelly said: “It was nice that he was giving us the award today, having spent so much time with him and having followed him around.

“I think we wore him down in the end so it was nice to see him today and nice to get our honour from him.

“It has been the most surreal week. Honest to God. It’s just bizarre. Like we’re on cloud nine and don’t know when we’re going to come back down to earth.

“In fact I know when it will be – it will be tomorrow when we’re back with Simon Cowell doing Britain’s Got Talent auditions.”

The pair joked that they were going to show the OBEs to Cowell as “he hasn’t got one”.

Responding to reports that they may withdraw themselves from the NTAs, McPartlin said: “As long as they want to keep voting, we’re there,” before joking that X Factor presenter Dermot O’Leary might have started the rumour.

Asked if they would fancy presenting The Great British Bake Off, Donnelly said: “No soggy bottoms for us.

“We’re ITV boys”.


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