AMANDA PLATELL: Selfish Ant McPartlin’s car crash life… and why he always gets away with it


Can it really be true that for 20 years the British public has voted Ant and Dec the top television presenters in Britain?

For two decades, again and again, this indomitable pair have wriggled their way into the nation’s affections and now nothing, it seems, can winkle them out.

We are all suckers for a comedy duo. This is the nation, after all, that loved the Two Ronnies, Morecambe and Wise, French and Saunders, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

Can it really be true that for 20 years the British public has voted Ant and Dec the top television presenters in Britain?

But with this double act, the undeniable chemistry obscures two very different men. Sweet, good-natured Dec was raised a devout Catholic: his brother, a priest, conducted the star’s marriage to the statuesque Ali Astall, his and Ant’s manager.

And Ant, as we know, is far more troubled. As a magistrate once sternly told him, he is not ‘a man of good character’.

As these handsomely paid TV stars soaked up the applause this week after collecting their umpteenth award, did anyone stop to think of the nine-year-old boy who screamed, ‘I’m dying, Mummy! I’m dying!’ after a drunk Ant, who was driving a car carrying his mother and his dogs, crashed into one vehicle and then hit another?

Ant staggered from his car, became ‘argumentative’ with police when they arrested him and was eventually fined £86,000 and banned from driving.

For two decades, again and again, this indomitable pair have wriggled their way into the nation’s affections

For two decades, again and again, this indomitable pair have wriggled their way into the nation’s affections

Ant's wife of 23 years, Lisa Armstrong, put her dreams of having a child on hold to care for her baby of a husband

Ant’s wife of 23 years, Lisa Armstrong, put her dreams of having a child on hold to care for her baby of a husband

Later, he said: ‘My first thought was: ‘S***, is my mam OK? Are the dogs OK? Are the fellow passengers in the other cars OK?’ ‘ Mother, dogs, other people’s families. What a revealing order.

Ant soon checked into rehab, perhaps to launch his bid for public forgiveness — and not for the first time.

A year before that horrifying 2018 crash, Ant had entered a clinic, citing his addiction to a cocktail of super-strong painkilling drugs, all swilled down with booze.

It was his wife of 23 years, Lisa Armstrong, who saw him through that time, putting her dreams of having a child on hold to care for her baby of a husband.

A drunk Ant, who was driving a car carrying his mother and his dogs, crashed into one vehicle and then hit another

A drunk Ant, who was driving a car carrying his mother and his dogs, crashed into one vehicle and then hit another

Yes, the woman Ant then unceremoniously dumped for her own PA and one-time close friend, Anne-Marie Corbett, when he got sober. It was Anne-Marie he paraded at the awards ceremony.

During their bitter divorce, for me the most creepy thing was Ant demanding joint custody of his and Lisa’s pet dog, even though he had acquired two puppies with his new squeeze.

How selfish can one man be?

The duo’s new TV show is called Limitless Win. They promise it will be packed with ‘drama, jeopardy and real emotion’ — just like Ant’s chaotic, reckless life. ‘Limitless win’ indeed.

Harry and Meghan are booed by the crowd at the O2 arena when a clip of their shameless Oprah Winfrey interview appears on the big screen. 

When was a British royal last booed? I can’t remember. And will this hapless pair ever stop to wonder why? 

Not so free, Jen 

Jennifer Aniston’s tousled tresses dazzle as she unveils her new ‘haircare’ brand, LolaVie. 

Eco-goddess Jen, 52, assures us her ‘Glossing Detangler’ is ‘paraben-free, silicone-free, sulfate-free, phthalates-free, gluten-free, vegan . . . and of course CRUELTY-FREE’. 

Jennifer Aniston's tousled tresses dazzle as she unveils her new 'haircare' brand, LolaVie

Jennifer Aniston’s tousled tresses dazzle as she unveils her new ‘haircare’ brand, LolaVie

The only thing not ‘free’, then, is the £18 bottle. 

As for those improbable Rapunzel locks, I hope they’re actually yours, Jen — and not real hair shaved from desperate women in poor countries you’ll never visit. 

Two remarkable young women suddenly light up the nation, as teenage tennis ace Emma Raducanu smashes her way through the U.S. Open and super-talented soul star Arlo Parks wins a Mercury music award. 

Emma was born of a Romanian father and Chinese mother, and Arlo still lives quietly in West London with her mum and dad, who have Nigerian, Chadian and French ancestry. 

Shining examples of the best of multi-racial Britain.

Losing faith in the Archbish

Reassuring us church-going Christians that he’s doing his bit to save the planet, the Archbishop of Canterbury reveals he has given up his diesel car and has cut back on meat.

The Archbishop of Canterbury reveals he has given up his diesel car and has cut back on meat

The Archbishop of Canterbury reveals he has given up his diesel car and has cut back on meat

Jolly good, but perhaps Justin Welby, fresh from a restorative six-month sabbatical, could have spent a bit more time keeping our churches open during lockdown?

Saving the planet is all well and good — but he should remember that he’s in the business of saving souls.

Ravaged by years of alcohol abuse, a frail Phil Collins, just 70, says he can’t even lift his drumsticks any more. 

Meanwhile an inquest finds that Bay City Roller Les McKeown died of a heart attack, having spent years drinking and snorting cocaine. 

Rock stars like us to think that there’s something glamorous about their wild lives. 

But Phil’s words ring true for them: ‘So take a look at me now . . . There’s just an empty space.’ 

I’ll drink to that Cindy 

How moving that Cindy Crawford, 55, dons the denim hotpants again for a recreation of her famous 1992 Pepsi ad to raise funds for the hospital where her late brother Jeffrey was treated. 

Cindy Crawford, 55, donned the denim hotpants again for a recreation of her famous 1992 Pepsi ad

Cindy Crawford, 55, donned the denim hotpants again for a recreation of her famous 1992 Pepsi ad

To honour my brother Michael’s death nearly 30 years ago, I regularly sip our shared favourite tipple: a Glenfiddich and full-fat Coke. 

That probably explains why Cindy is in Daisy Dukes and I’m in Sweaty Betty’s suck-your-tummy-in leggings. 

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick is to cling on for another two years, even though a chorus of distinguished people betrayed by the Met have demanded that she must go. 

The Mail’s headline asked: ‘How can their voices be ignored?’ But it seems cold-hearted Cressida has done just that.

 The courage of Kate 

After winning a top award this week for her powerful documentary Finding Derek, Good Morning Britain’s Kate Garraway paid a tearful tribute to her Covid-struck husband, insisting there was still ‘hope’ he could recover even though he needs round-the-clock care and hasn’t walked in almost two years.

Good Morning Britain's Kate Garraway paid a tearful tribute to her Covid-struck husband, insisting there was still 'hope'

Good Morning Britain’s Kate Garraway paid a tearful tribute to her Covid-struck husband, insisting there was still ‘hope’

Kate’s bravery hasn’t stopped sour-faced critics muttering that she has monetised her misery. What else is the mother of two teenagers to do when she suddenly becomes the sole breadwinner overnight?

Kate is a worker — she presented her radio show just hours after collecting the award — and she’s doing the right thing by her family.

As she plays Diana in the new movie Spencer, Kristen Stewart claims the Princess’s spirit hovered around the set. ‘I felt some spooky, spiritual feelings,’ reveals Kris, who shot to fame playing a teenager besotted with a vampire in the Twilight saga.

Diana even gave her performance the ‘sign-off’, she says.

I doubt it, honey, given the new film so cruelly lingers on the late Princess’s eating disorders.

WESTMINSTER WARS

  • Education dunce Gavin Williamson mixes up footballer Marcus Rashford, who campaigns for free kids’ meals, with rugby star Maro Itoje, who supplied computers to disadvantaged children. Memo to gormless Gav: a football is round, a rugby ball is oval — and you’re the one who needs the boot.
  • Dishy Rishi is out-dished by his aide Liam Booth-Smith, supposedly endowed with a very big brain, and seen swaggering through Downing Street in a black leather jacket and shirt unbuttoned to reveal a manly chest. Ladies! When I worked for the Tories, the closest I ever got to sexy was George Osborne unclipping his cufflinks.
  • Boris’s tightly cropped new hairdo clearly wasn’t enough to convince voters that he can be trusted with their money, as Labour overtake the Tories in the polls after this week’s huge tax hikes. Judging by the state of the PM’s scalp, those follicles are deserting him even faster than the voters.
Dishy Rishi is out-dished by his aide Liam Booth-Smith, supposedly endowed with a very big brain

Dishy Rishi is out-dished by his aide Liam Booth-Smith, supposedly endowed with a very big brain

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