Cat Deeley takes us back to the days when Ant and Dec were ‘rubbish’

The superstar presenter and children’s author recalls “having the best time” learning the ropes with the duo on SMTV Live in her fun and insightful Letter To My Younger Self

Cat Deeley has seen plenty of success in her presenting career – cracking America and scooping five Emmy nominations in the process – but she still has fond memories of the early days when she and fellow presenting royalty Ant and Dec started out on SMTV Live.

The Saturday morning kid’s show was where all three cut their teeth in the late Nineties before going on to bigger and better things.

The inseparable Ant and Dec have become the faces of ITV’s Saturday night prime time offerings as well as I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, scooping award win after award win over the last two decades.

Deeley has done well for herself too. She has been the host of hit US show So You Think You Can Dance since 2006 and made a notable turn as presenter of The Brits in 2004.

She relives the latter in this week’s magazine as well as looking back at the SMTV Live glory days in her Letter To My Younger Self.

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“People forget, when we started SMTV we were rubbish,” she says. “And nobody watched it at all. It only stayed on air because Nigel Pickard, who was in charge of ITV kids’ programmes at the time, said, we’ve got nothing else to fill the slot with.

“I know they’re rubbish now, but I think they’ve got something; let’s just keep them on, no one’s watching anyway. So we had this amazing luxury, where we were all learning together. And because we were surrounded by a brilliant crew it came together. There was a lovely chemistry between myself and Ant and Dec.”

To read more from Cat Deeley, buy this week’s Big Issue magazine, available now from vendors all over the country. If you’re unable to reach your local vendor, you can buy or subscribe to the magazine to arrive every week at your door or your device, via bigissue.com/subscribe, The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available from the App Store and Google Play.

The Joy in You by Cat Deeley, illustrated Rosie Butcher, is out on September 15 (Bantam Dell, £12.99)

Image: Joseph Sinclair