Original Little Ant and Dec are all grown up as Saturday Night Takeaway returns for its final series on Saturday with a new set of mini-me’s.
ITV bosses put out an audition call late last year looking for “confident, cheeky, chatty children with Geordie accents aged 5 to 7 who think they could be the next Little Ant and Dec”.
James Pallister and Dylan McKenna-Redshaw were the first to play Little Ant and Dec back in 2003.
The cheeky duo interviewed the likes of Katie Price, David and Victoria Beckham, Tony Blair and Will Smith.
The boys were last on the show in 2006 after they ran out of roles and weren’t replaced until season 10 in 2013.
Original Little Ant and Dec have grown up as Saturday Night Takeaway returns on Saturday with a new set of mini-months.
James Pallister (left) and Dylan McKenna-Redshaw were the first to play Little Ant and Dec back in 2003.
They were replaced by Neil Overend, now 17, and Haydn Reid, now 16, and appeared on the show to welcome them.
They have shied away from public attention ever since. James was most recently reported to be working for the RAC as a patrolman, a job he said he “absolutely loved” in 2021.
And now James covers Sunderland and Durham as a patrolman for the RAC, for whom he has worked since 2015.
He lives in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, with his fiancée Nicole and their two children, aged one and three.
Speaking about his new career, James previously said Sun: ‘I absolutely love my job. There is nothing better than being on the roads helping people who have broken down.
“I really pride myself on being able to repair most of the cars I go out with.”
Earlier this year, James and Dylan met up with Ant and Dec, who were stunned by how much they had changed.
Speaking about the reunion, Dylan admitted in the post: “They were shocked when they saw us, it’s been a few years since we caught up and we’re a lot taller!”
James added: ‘Times have changed. I don’t think I look like a little ant now, but I really enjoyed the experience and it’s something I’ll never forget.’
The boys were last on the show in 2006 and were replaced in 2013 by Neil Overend, 12, and Haydn Reid, 11, who both appeared on the show to welcome them.
James and Dylan backstage carrying Neil and Haydn, with James and Neil making fun of each other’s noses.
In 2013, Dylan shared a photo enjoying a beer with the real Ant and Dec on his Twitter account, reallittledec.
Saturday Night Takeaway’s original little ant, James Pallister, 28, is now an RAC patrolman for Sunderland and Durham.
As for Little Dec, Dylan created his own nutrition business that helps people lose weight, gain muscle mass, and improve athletic performance.
In 2013, Dylan shared snaps of himself enjoying a beer with the real Ant and Dec, as well as joking with James and his replacements backstage.
He said: “It’s always good to see Ant and Dec again.” They were surprised when they saw us, it’s been a few years since we caught up and we’re much taller!
‘It was a really good experience. James and I used to joke with Ant and Dec. They were great teachers! Looking back, I think we could have been more mischievous and cheeky than they would have gotten away with.’
In 2018, Neil and Haydn left the roles of Little Ant and Dec after five years to focus on their studies.
An ITV source told MailOnline at the time that the couple, originally from Durham, had “overcome their roles” and will now focus on their exams.
As for Saturday Night Takeaway, the show is returning to our screens, but it will be the last series for an undetermined period of time while Ant and Dec take a “break”.
“The show takes up a lot of our year, we feel like we need a little bit of a break and the show is going to take a little break,” they said in a video update shared with fans last year.
“We love doing Saturday Night Takeaway, but reaching the 20 series milestone seemed like the perfect time to pause and catch our breath,” they added.
Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway begins its 20th series on ITV1 at 7pm on Saturday 24 February.