Ant and Dec reflect on ‘inspirational’ drag queen performance after Bafta win


Connie Evans, PA Entertainment Reporter

Sun, 8 May 2022, 8:17 pm

Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have reflected on their “inspirational” drag performance after winning the Bafta TV award for entertainment programme.

The presenting duo transformed into Lady Antoinette and Miss Donna Lee as part of a drag queen performance on their ITV show Saturday Night Takeaway in February.

Speaking after receiving their Bafta TV award, Donnelly, 46, said the pair were “moved by how inspirational people found it”.

“When we had the idea of doing the drag act, we wanted to do it properly, and we wanted to do it right, and we want to be respectful of the artform,” he said.

“We didn’t want it to look silly, and that we slap on a bit of lipstick and eyeshadow and then walk out in wonky heels.

“We were like, if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it properly because it is a real art form and it’s a respected art form.”

He added: “But then we got a lot of messages from people saying how inspirational they found it and how it had given people the courage to be themselves and that was something we hadn’t really catered for.

“We hadn’t really thought that would be the case. So it was mind-blowing and surprising, but it was quite moving as well and I’m proud and happy that people got so much out of it.”

Winners of the must-see moment award, Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice also expressed their disbelief at the impact their silent Strictly Come Dancing routine had on the British Public.

Soap star Ayling-Ellis, 27, was the first deaf contestant to win Strictly alongside her professional dance partner Pernice, and during one routine on the show the pair paused the music and danced in silence as a tribute to the deaf community.

After winning the accolade – which was voted for by the British public – Ayling-Ellis said: “It couldn’t be any better than this, it’s the best it can get.

“When I first arrived I seriously had no clue, because as a deaf person you can never really tell how society is going to react to it. And the fact it went much bigger, that it actually influenced social change, wow.

“There’s no words, I’m speechless about it.”

Virgin BAFTA TV Awards 2022 – London
Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice were awarded the must-see moment award at the 2022 Bafta TV awards (Ian West/PA)

The actress, who has been deaf since birth, has actively campaigned for British Sign Language (BSL) to be recognised as an official language and be given legal status in the UK.

In April, a Bill was passed in the House of Lords to legally recognise BSL as an official language in England, Wales and Scotland.

Reflecting on the dance’s impact, she added: “So much has happened in the last few months even, just a short few months. I’m very proud of it. We both are very proud of it.”

Pernice, 31, echoed his dance partner’s disbelief saying: “When for the first time I had the idea to put the silence in the dance, I knew it was giving impact. But as Rose said, it went bigger than what we thought, this changed people’s lives.

“And to see the power of dance change peoples lives, it just makes me proud.”

He added: “Also this is just the beginning, I’m a hearing person so to deal with Rose for the 15 weeks doing the show made me realise that we should all make an effort to make them feel more inclusive.

“It is my privilege, this is just a trophy, I’m privileged from what I’ve learnt from rose, I’m so happy.”

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