Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

What Are These Famous North East Child Stars Doing Years Down the Line? from Ant and Dec to Jill Halfpenny, the North East Has Produced Some Real Stars of Showbiz. We Look at What Some of the Region's Youngest Stars Did When They Grew Up and Left Tyneside

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

What Are These Famous North East Child Stars Doing Years Down the Line? from Ant and Dec to Jill Halfpenny, the North East Has Produced Some Real Stars of Showbiz. We Look at What Some of the Region's Youngest Stars Did When They Grew Up and Left Tyneside

Article excerpt

Ant and Dec Geordie treasures Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly are probably the most successful of Byker Grove's sons and daughters.

Ant and Dec - as they have become known as - met on the set of the drama, where they played best friends PJ and Duncan.

The pair, who have remained best mates in real life, have enjoyed a post-Grove career which has included chart-topping success as their alter egos as well as a list of prime-time presenting jobs as long as your arm including their own Saturday Night Takeaway, Britain's Got Talent, I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here and Soccer Aid.

They recently toured arenas the UK over with Takeaway on Tour, the live incarnation of their Bafta-winning Saturday night show.

The pair have won 16 Best Entertainment Presenter NTA Awards, 32 National Television Awards and earlier this year awarded OBEs for services to Broadcasting and Entertainment.

DONNA AIR Born in Wallsend, Donna grew up in Gosforth and made her TV debut aged just 10.

Starring in Byker Grove, she then started a girl band with her cast mates called Byker Groove (yes, really, the 1990s were a strange time).

Donna has a daughter, Freya, with her former longterm partner Damian Aspinall, who is worth an estimated PS200m.

Last year, she split from boyfriend James Middleton, brother of Kate.

Career-wise she has been a contributing style editor for Hello magazine for the past three years and works with fashion brands as a business advisor and consultant. She also presented a number of TV shows including MTV Select, The Big Breakfast, TFI Friday and Popstars: The Rivals Extra.

Jill Halfpenny grew up in Gateshead and made her TV debut in Byker Grove when she was 14.

The award-winning actress has since starred in both Coronation Street, EastEnders, In The Club and Waterloo Road.

Aside from television acting, Jill starred in Strictly Come Dancing and won the Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical for her performance in Legally Blonde in 2011.

CHARLIE HUNNAM Heaton Manor-educated Charlie Hunnam started his acting career in Byker Grove. …

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