Stewart Lee on the lighthouse keeper sitcom he wrote for Ant & Dec

Thursday 18th January 2024, 11:38am by Jay Richardson

Stewart Lee

Stewart Lee has recalled a sitcom he pitched for Ant & Dec in which they played lighthouse keepers.

The comic recently lambasted the "two perma-grinning apologist pricks" for platforming Nigel Farage on I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! in his column for The Observer.

But in 2001, he conceived a Beckettian comedy for Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly to star in with their SMTV co-presenter Cat Deeley.

Describing Farage's I'm A Celebrity appearance as "really bad", Lee told The New Blackmore Vale magazine that "20 years ago I knew Ant & Dec a little bit.

"When I was in a double act with Richard Herring, we had them on our show. I can't remember exactly why but they were in a kind of crate and jumped out of it - they were really good sports.

"At the turn of the century, they decided they wanted to do a sitcom and I wrote a proposal. I may have co-written it with Richard, I can't recall.

"The idea was they were lighthouse keepers and lived together, it was going to be a kind of Samuel Beckett thing. Really weird things would be washed up on the shore and once a week Cat Deeley would arrive in a rowing boat. They really wanted to do it but in the end they did a remake of The Likely Lads, which was a classic 70s sitcom about Geordie blokes that liked football.

"And I think that's the dilemma they always had; art or commerce.

"They probably wanted to do a sitcom where they lived in a lighthouse but management were going 'no, you should do a remake of The Likely Lads'."

Describing the pair as "a mouthpiece for this awful thing" and suggesting that "they must know that it's terrible what happened there [on I'm A Celebrity...]", he concluded: "They were basically forced to endorse fascism."

You can read more about Ant and Dec's 2002 The Likely Lads remake via the BCG article When Ant & Dec remade The Likely Lads

And you can see Lee and Herring on the Channel 4 programme Ant & Dec Unzipped in 1997 below, a return favour for the Geordie presenters guesting on Fist Of Fun:

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