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Ant and Dec to use DNA technology to explore family histories

Showbiz | Published:

The TV stars will travel to the US and Ireland to track down relatives.

Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly

Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly will discover that one of them is descended from royalty when they trace their family history for a new series.

Ant and Dec’s DNA Journey on ITV will see the Saturday Night Takeaway duo joined by genealogists and historians as they follow their maternal and paternal bloodlines into the past.

The TV stars, both from Newcastle upon Tyne, will journey to Ireland as well as to the US, where they will visit the United Nations headquarters in New York.

One will discover that their great-grandfather was a celebrated war hero while the other will find out that their cousin is a former US female wrestling promoter.

Their research will also unearth evidence that one of their ancestors’ bones were deemed “of historical importance”.

Similarly, EastEnders star Danny Dyer discovered in 2016 that he is related to Thomas Cromwell, Edward III, William the Conqueror and Henry III during filming for the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?

Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards 2019 – Press Room – London
Danny Dyer also delved into his family history (Ian West/PA)

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McPartlin said: “I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to historical events, so to get the chance to research our family history using our DNA was too good an opportunity to pass up.

“What we find out is mind-blowing and nothing either of us could ever have imagined. It’s something that will stay with us both forever.”

Donnelly said: “A huge part of this was to find out my heritage, especially on my dad’s side.

“I always thought I knew a fair bit about where I came from but it turns out I was wrong!

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“Whilst it was incredible to find out about the past, what was hugely overwhelming was to meet relatives neither of us knew we had.

“It was a truly amazing experience.”

McPartlin is preparing to return to work on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! after taking a break from the show following his arrest for drink-driving in March 2018.

The TV presenter, who was replaced by Holly Willoughby on the series last year, recently reunited with Donnelly in the Australian jungle.

Donnelly hosted the live episodes of Britain’s Got Talent solo last year during his co-host’s hiatus, but McPartlin made his full return to the variety programme earlier this year.

Ant and Dec’s DNA Journey, a two-part co-production between Voltage TV and Mitre Television, is coming soon to ITV.

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