September 25, 1975
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Declan Donnelly first rose to prominence as a child actor before his popularity blossomed when partnered with Anthony McPartlin first as the pop music duo PJ & Duncan and subsequently as the television host team of Ant & Dec. Donnelly was only 12 when he responded to an advertisement in the newspaper calling for actors, resulting in his being cast in the dramatic series about youth clubs, "Byker Grove." It was on this show that he met McPartlin and the two formed the successful pop music act PJ & Duncan, initially named after their characters and later changed to Ant & Dec. The two first hosted the morning children's show "Gimme 5" before moving on to a show of their own featuring music videos and sketch comedy, "The Ant & Dec Show," and the similar "SM:TV Live." Stepping into adult fare, they were featured on the game show "Friends Like These" and the groundbreaking musical competition "Pop Idol," predecessor to "American Idol." They also hosted "Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway," a game show that had the pair compete in competitions and resulted in broken bones and a concussion for Dec when a stunt went wrong. Other series the two have presented include the reality show "I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!" where stars face off in challenges while living in tough jungle conditions and another Simon Cowell-produced hit competition series, "Britain's Got Talent."