In the late 90s and early noughties, Dec Donnelly somehow got away with viciously berating children every Saturday morning in the segment Wonky Donkey.
And 19 years after leaving the show, Dec is still riled up by the children that just didn’t get that the answer had to rhyme.
Ant and Dec were joined by Cat Deeley for a look back at their time on SM:TV Live in the ITV special The Story of SM:TV Live, and discussed some of the children’s show’s most popular segments.
Among them was Wonky Donkey, a game when a stuffed animal in a silly costume was put on display, and children phoned in to guess what it was. Only rule was – it had to rhyme.
Only, the pressure of live TV meant that kids rarely gave rhyming answers, resulting in Dec shouting at them and calling them idiots.
Speaking about the game on today’s special, Dec, now 45, said: ‘It’s got to rhyme, that’s the only rule.’
Dec often called the kids idiots (Picture: ITV)
Ant, also 45, pointed out: ‘See, you’re getting a little angry about it now’, with Dec trying to keep his cool and saying: ‘I’m not angry, I’m just emphatically making a point.’
Stephen Mulhern, who went on to host SM:TV after Ant and Dec’s departure, said: ‘You didn’t want the kids to get it right, because the entertainment factor was Dec losing the plot.’
Co-host Cat added: ‘People didn’t expect someone on the TV to talk like that, particularly when a kid sounded so cute and gorgeous on the phone and was just trying their best to muddle through on live TV.’
Luckily, Dec hasn’t yet been confronted by any kids who were screamed at on live television, but Ant and Cat appealed for anybody who was a victim of Dec’s outbursts to reach out.
The reunion special saw Ant, Dec and Cat, 44, discuss some of the show’s most loved sketches, from the Pokérap and Chums to Challenge Ant and the Beautiful Corrs.
However, the grown-ups reminiscing may have been surprised to hear that Ant and Dec nearly never made SM:TV Live, after turning the show down twice.
The Geordie duo had initially pitched the idea of an hour-long music show, which turned into CD: UK, but Ant explained: ‘They pitched the idea back to us and said “Could you do this on a Saturday morning, but do it for three hours.’
‘You’re in your 20s, you’re out of work right, you’ve got no prospects and ITV say to you “How about doing three hours every Saturday morning, not just for 28 weeks a year, but for 52 of of the year?”‘ Ant continued. ‘And we just went, “No”.’
Thankfully, Ant and Dec changed their minds, and went on to host SM:TV Live with Cat for three years until they left to host Pop Idol.
The Story of SM:TV Live is available on the ITV Hub.