Ant & Dec Saturday Night Takeaway Stephen Mulhern’s rise from magician to ITV star

Stephen Mulhern is one of TV’s most recognizable faces and regularly appears on prime-time shows.

The 44-year-old has recently been flooded with support from fans after he was notably absent from Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. Stephen regularly appears in a guest role on “the happiest 90 minutes of the week”, but has been unable to return since the season 18 premiere due to “doctor’s orders”.

He said: “Hello all, Sorry I’ve been quiet on here recently and thank you for all your lovely messages. I’ve had some time off and been resting up on doctor’s orders. I’m on the mend, I’m happy to say, and looking forward to getting back to work soon.

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“In the meantime I’ll put my feet up and watch Saturday Night Takeaway tonight with the rest of you lot. Please don’t miss me too much! Lots of love, Stephen. X”

Stephen is set to make his eagerly anticipated Saturday Night Takeaway return on tonight’s Ant vs Dec – so we have taken a look back at his rise to fame. Stephen’s interest in showbiz started when he became interested in magic from an early age after learning a few tricks from his dad.

When he was 17, Stephen became a member of the Magic Circle and this lead to his first TV appearance on Blue Peter. He performed a Metamorphosis illusion trick on the children’s television show, which he described to Mirror Online in 2020 as his “biggest regret” from him.

He added: “I opened the show live in front of millions, dancing to Take That’s Could It Be Magic. That was the first big mistake. Then I couldn’t get my handcuffs off during the trick. It was a diabolical mess on live TV.”

Stephen was undeterred and created his own magic show Stephen’s Mega Mad Magic Show as he worked at Butlins, Harrods and Hamleys while trying to land a job in television. He eventually got his big break at the age of 20 when he appeared on The Big Big Talent Show.

Stephen forged a career in children’s television following his big break and was the face of Tricky TV from 2005 – 2010. He also hosted a succession of shows alongside famous TV personalities.

Stephen presented four series of Finger Tips with Fearne Cotton from 2001 to 2003 and with Naomi Wilkinson in 2004. He also co-hosted Saturday Showdown, originally called Ministry of Mayhem, alongside Holly Willoughby from 2004 to 2006.

Stephen and Holly rekindled their broadcasting partnership for the latest season of Dancing on Ice. He was drafted as a replacement for Phillip Schofield after the This Morning host contracted coronavirus – and Stephen was thrilled to be reunited with Holly.

He said: “Can you believe it’s actually 16 years since we worked together on kids TV ? ”

Stephen didn’t look back after he secured his break and eventually became a fixture of primetime ITV television. Stephen landed a lucrative presenting gig in 2007 to 2019, fronting ITV2 spin off Britain’s Got More Talent after the main show on ITV.

He took over as the host of Catchphrase as the program was revived on the channel in 2013 and also hosts very popular show “In for a Penny” that originally started life on Saturday Night Takeaway.

In 2020 he became host of another primetime show, Rolling it, cementing his iconic presenter status.

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway airs at 7pm on ITV and ITV Hub

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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