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Cat Deeley: When I started SM:TV with Ant and Dec, we were rubbish

SM:TV Live won over thousands of fans in the late nineties, but presenter Cat Deeley has admitted that the show got off to a shaky start.

The star, 43, fronted the Saturday morning ITV show with Ant and Dec from 1998 until 2002.

Reflecting on her years of hosting the programme, Deeley said they were offered an “amazing luxury” to learn on the job and develop genuine chemistry.

Writing in The Big Issue’s Letter To My Younger Self column, she said: “People forget, when we started SM:TV we were rubbish. And nobody watched it at all.

Deeley has now spent most of her career Stateside (Kevin Winter/Getty)

“It only stayed on air because Nigel Pickard, who was in charge of ITV kids’ programmes at the time, said: ‘We’ve got nothing else to fill the slot with. I know they’re rubbish now, but I think they’ve got something; let’s just keep them on, no one’s watching anyway.’

“So we had this amazing luxury, where we were all learning together.

“And because we were surrounded by a brilliant crew it came together, there was a lovely chemistry between myself and Ant and Dec. Also, we all genuinely really liked each other.”

Since 2006, Deeley has presented the competition show So You Think You Can Dance in the US, and been nominated for five Primetime Emmys.

Speaking about her move to the US, she said: “I think the thing that would surprise the young me about her future is what’s happened in America.

“I mean, I never went to America when I was a kid. I never went to Disneyland or anything like that, I’d never even seen it before.

“And when I did go, I never made a great proclamation: ‘I’m going to crack America.’

“A relationship had just ended and I just fancied a fun adventure. It did feel crazy at times…

“There’s no way my 16-year-old self would believe me if I went back and told her she’ll be there one day.”

The full story is in The Big Issue in print or you can subscribe online or download the app.

Reporting by Press Association


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