Ant and Dec's many controversies from blackface to the Rising Sun flag

Ant and Dec have been part of our lives for 32 years, presenting all our favourite shows from Saturday Night Takeaway to I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of  Here!

They are often seen as the squeaky clean poster boys for Saturday night television with their quick wit and successes in television shows, but the resumes of the golden boys of British TV isn’t completely untarnished.

Although the presenting duo recently came under fire for their outdated sketch which had them wear a controversial flag, it wasn’t their first time offending a community.

Use of the Rising Sun flag

Last night’s Saturday Night Takeaway featured the two presenters wearing the offensive Japanese Rising Sun flags, which symbolises the slaughter of millions of people in Asia.

From 1870 until the end of the second world war, it was imperial Japan’s war flag and was flying during Japan’s imperialist expansion when it occupied Korea and a part of China.

During World War II, Japanese troops carried out endless atrocities against locals in Asian countries – including forced labour, rape, murder, torture, and sexual slavery – which resulted in the dark reputation of the flag.

Ant and Dec had the symbol on their headbands when they were performing a martial arts skit as singer Anne Marie took to the stage.

The decision to wear the garment has been slammed on social media, with an ITV spokesperson sharing a statement of apology to

‘We apologise for any offence caused during the End of the Show Show by the costumes worn,’ they said.

‘This was clearly unintended and we have taken steps to re-edit that part of the episode for the Hub and for repeat broadcasts.’

Blackface prank

Back in 2003, Ant and Dec wore blackface for one of their undercover sketches on SNT, in which they dressed as two Jamaican women and mimicked the accents.

The second series of the show, which began in January 2003, introduced Ant and Dec Undercover, where the dup would undergo extensive make-up and prosthetics to trick their TV pals.

For one prank, they chose to wear prosthetics to transform into Patty and Bernice, two Jamaican women, in an effort to prank the cast of Emmerdale.

The segment saw ‘Patty and Bernice’ act as extras in the Woolpack, as they tried to distract actresses Emily Symons and Elizabeth Estensen with their unprofessional antics.

Blackface – the practice of white people using make-up to ‘black up’ – has been a huge problem within TV and politics and Ant and Dec’s prank wasn’t any different.

They discussed the pranks 16 years on, but uncomfortably joked: ‘On the Saturday Night Takeaway DVD, Ant joked: ‘It was funny sitting in a room, learning Jamaican, picking dresses, trying on false nails, was something I didn’t think I’d ever, ever do.’

Dec then spoke in a Jamaican accent, saying: ‘We had to find who Patty and Bernice were, so we’d have to go “Well, I think Bernice probably came to England on a boat”.’

Yellowface prank

Their blackfacing wasn’t the only time Ant and Dec dressed up as a different ethnicity on the ITV show.

In 2004, the Geordie pair famously impersonated two young Japanese girls obsessed with Coronation Street’s Todd Grimshaw to trick the cast of the ITV soap.

To become ‘Suki and Keiko’, Ant and Dec got prosthetics to make them look Japanese, and used exaggerated Japanese accents for the skit.

While pronouncing ‘Roy’s Rolls’, they said ‘Loy’s Lolls’.

Back in the studio, former Corrie star Sally Lindsay said that she knew something was up, with Ant joking: ‘Hey, that ugly Japanese woman looks a lot like Ant.’

‘Too Ugly To Win’

Trouble brewed in 2005 during Ant and Dec’s Gameshow Marathon when it was discovered that winners of their variety show were selected based on their camera-friendly appearance.

This meant contestants that were deemed less than attractive didn’t stand a chance of appearing on screen to try to win prizes.

Rumbled by Ofcom, the lads were forced to apologise and finally, the nation’s people stood a chance of getting their 15 minutes of fame alongside the pair.

The pair were ridiculed for their alleged participation in the fraud on the front cover of the satirical magazine Private Eye.

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