The Geordie couple were tested as possible cohosts for Denise in 1997, when Rick Adams, her original on-screen partner at Channel 4 brekkie, left.
Davina McCall was also considered as a replacement. However, bosses ultimately chose Johnny Vaughan to present with Denise.
Speak to The MirrorDenise stated: “When my co-presenter Rick Adams left the show, I held the fort down on my own for a while.
“Sometimes [I would be] working with various guest presenters with a view to them becoming permanent if the chemistry between us was right.
“We had Ant and Dec on, which didn’t work out – with two of them and one of me. Then we had Davina McCall, which was fine, but the producers preferred the combination of one boy/one girl.”
HuffPost UK reached out to Ant and Dec for comment.
The boys didn’t get the gig but they launched the Saturday morning kids show SM.tv Live with Cat Deeley in the following year. It was a huge success and a jumpstart for their careers.
Denise Van Outen
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After Johnny was chosen for the Big Breakfast gig, he and Denise went on to host Channel 4’s hit weekday morning show together on and off between 1997 and 2001.
During its 10-year run, the show was also presented and hosted by a number other hosts, including Chris Evans (Gabby Roslin), Zoe Ball, Kelly Brook, Kelly Brook, as well as Kelly Brook.
Last year, it was revived for a one-off special hosted by AJ Odudu and Mo Gilligan, as part of Channel 4′s Black To Front project.
Their performance on the show went down so well that viewers demanded a full-time return.
Denise previously teased the possibility of there being “conversations” about doing something to mark The Big Breakfast’s 30th anniversary later this year.
Johnny and Denise at The Big Breakfast 1997
She said MailOnlineLast year: “We’d want to see all the old faces return and play some of the old games too. I’m sure the fans would love it and see it as a real nostalgia trip.”
She also shared how lockdown helped to heal her relationship with Johny after they fell out when Denise discovered that Denise was renegotiating his contract and didn’t tell her.
They were briefly reunited on Capital FM’s breakfast show in 2008, but Denise left after only six months.
“Lockdown did a lot of things for a lot of friendships and people reconnecting and some people, their relationship went to dust,”She spoke for Good Morning Britain. “We were that lucky partnership that got back in touch.
“I would love to work with him again, we both said we’d like to do something.”