Enjoy Celebrity Radio’s Ant & Dec Takeaway Tour Review….
There’s no doubting that Ant & Dec are the most popular, loved and successful double act since Morcambe & Wise.
Their family-friendly comedy duo have unique, infectious and timeless chemistry that has made them a huge Saturday night prime-time hit for ITV.
From ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ to ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’ they’re ratings gold!
In 2014 Ant & Dec took Takeaway On Tour across the UK stopping in Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and even the UK’s biggest arena – the O2 for 18,000 fans.
I went to see their penultimate show in Nottingham 9th September 2014 where at times the energy in the room was electric….
There is no doubting the commercial success of the Ant & Dec ‘brand’. People love them! literally adore them. So rare in 2014 showbiz.
With tickets up to £95 on the official Nottingham Arena website, there wasn’t a spare seat in the house. Quite an achievement.
This show is ‘old-school’ variety! The audience knew what they were getting and they loved it. There were no surprises, it was exactly the formula that works so well for ITV.
Takeaway On Tour, like the TV show, was slick, well rehearsed and seamless. So rare for an arena production of this size with so much Live interaction changing each and every show.
There’s everything you would want and expect from ‘Little Ant & Dec’, ‘End Of The Show Show’, ‘Ant V Dec’, ‘Win The Ads’ and the A&D charm throughout.
The boys used the enormous space masterfully and everyone felt included. Again, a huge achievement in a heartless hanger of this size.
The show announcer for Nottingham who was Vernon Kay. I’m not a huge fan but I came away with a new respect. He was totally at ease on this huge stage, handled the script brilliantly and was by far the greatest ad-liber on the show. Some enormous laughs.
The second Star guest was Peter Andre. Genius choice singing ‘Mysterious Girl’, had the crowd in his palm within seconds and received the shows first ovation. Deservedly so – great voice, polished performance and massive stage presence.
The show opened with legendary warm-up man Andy Collins. For obvious reasons he was more the health and safety adviser than brilliant comic which was a shame. Tremendous warmth regardless.
Here’s a flavour of the atmosphere Andy created:
With big production dance numbers, car giveaways and awards for ‘legend’ in the audience – there were big show highlights.
I loved the production values of the ‘local’ segments. Clearly huge work goes into sourcing great stories from local ‘characters’ who shone in their embarrassing roles. Done with love, it was great theatre. Always risky to involve your punters but A&D couldn’t resist. Only to be admired.
Personally I would have chopped some of the ‘VT’s’ (filler video’s) as the audience participation is A&D’s biggest strength but I equally appreciate the boys needed time to recover from bit to bit.
From a theatrical point of view I was hugely impressed by the set, staging, dancers & lighting. The sound was also impeccable – not easy in B&Q sized arena. The show did give an ‘arena feel’ value for money.
My only reservations about the show was the obscene commercial side of the productions….throughout. Eating ‘Walkers Crisps’ for 6 minutes followed by a close-up of “we bought them at Morrison’s” is just cheap, shameless and beneath Ant & Dec’s massive talent and product.
Also, adding in local DJ’s (in return for plugs) who have never stood on a stage before (let alone in front of 8000) is just awkward. It does however remind the entire audience that it’s not as simple as it looks!
I get that giving away a car is a pay-off for a plug, but Jesus, I’m surprised Ant’s forehead wasn’t sponsored by Auto-Glass for a few extra quid. A master-class in sales and promotions but a huge fail in integrity.
Also, Ashley Roberts was a bad choice for Star singer. Her Live song sadly didn’t work simply because it was an unknown song with a new artist to a middle-aged crowd who didn’t care. If she’d have sang YMCA she’d have taken the roof off. Her second number had an equally muted reaction. Sadly self-indulgent and a waste of an amazing voice and talent.
Despite the criticism’s there is no doubting Ant & Dec’s chemistry, talent and public pulling power.
They’re a power-house duo who deserve every success. My only advice would be ‘don’t sell out’ – you’re here for the long run – unlike many of those constantly featured on the TV show for cheap laughs.
Review by Alex Belfield for Celebrity Radio 9th September 2014 @ Nottingham Arena.