Ant and Dec’s DNA Journey was first announced in 2017, with the presenters going on a ‘DNA Journey’ to find out where their ancestors came from.
Production ground to halt when Ant was arrested for drink-driving in March 2018, entering rehab shortly after and focusing on his recovery.
This fact hung over DNA Journey like a cloud, despite how heartwarming it was to watch the friends bantering around Ireland as they met cousins and distant relatives – including American wrestling icon Dixie Carter.
The TV stars addressed it head on at the start in a jokey aside as Ant apologised to viewers for the delay – and to be honest that would have been enough.
Ant being surprisingly open about reconnecting with his estranged father, and Dec’s voice breaking into a sob on hearing the song played at his dad’s funeral were more than decent talking points.
For possibly the first time we watching Ant and Dec the people, not the presenters.
Talking heads in the form of historians and ancestry experts gave weight to proceedings and stopped it from running a little too parallel to Who Do You Think You Are? but they were thankfully brief.
What we wanted to see were these two best friends who have been in each other’s lives for over 30 years, genuinely enjoying each new discovery. You felt the awe on Dec’s face as he stood in front of his great-grandfather’s headstone in the Irish village of Drumkeeran.
But this was all overshadowed by the last ten minutes which was dedicated to hearing about Ant’s tough year in their own words, the perfect redemption for the star.
Cleverly serving as a tell-all interview without a pesky journalist asking difficult questions, Dec admitted he ‘didn’t know’ if he ‘wanted’ their partnership to survive.
As Ant feared his career was over, he focused instead on ‘repairing relationships’ and making ‘big life decisions’ (one of which must have been divorcing then-wife Lisa Armstrong).
However Dec realised that he needed to be there for his BFF and thinking of himself was ‘selfish’, and stressed – repeatedly – how important their friendship is. While Ant, now in a new relationship, thanked the public for their support and looked forward to completing the DNA Journey in New York.
Happy endings all round and the redemption arc is complete. Now there’s no need to mention any of it again. Very clever.
Ant and Dec’s DNA Journey continues Monday at 9pm on ITV.
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