Ant and Dec's showdown with Simon Cowell as they considered leaving BGT

Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly have revealed they secretly considered leaving Britain’s Got Talent, and said Simon Cowell ‘drove them nuts’ on set.

The pair, who have penned new autobiography Once Upon A Tyne, have opened up on working with the Syco boss and shared their fears they were being sidelined on the show before Simon convinced them to stay following a heated showdown in LA.

According to an excerpt in The Sun, the pair spoke about being unhappy at how the entertainment show was being edited, feeling their contribution was not being reflected in the finished product.

The TV presenting stalwarts, both 44, told ITV bosses of their concerns who then informed Simon, leading to crisis talks in Los Angeles in 2012.

Ant said they met at an Italian restaurant in West Hollywood, with the pair letting Simon ‘have it with both barrels’.

He explained: ‘We told him everything — that we weren’t being used, that we could be doing other stuff, that maybe someone else should take over.

‘To be fair to Simon, he sat there, took it all and listened intently for four, maybe five cigarettes.’

Dec added: ‘He made a promise to us: that things would change and that we’d never feel like that again.

‘He desperately wanted us to stay and we told him we’d do the next series and see how it went — and, to be fair to him, he was as good as his word, things did change.’

After the discussions, it was said 60-year-old Simon offered Ant and Dec a lift back to their hotel in his chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce.

The pair have continued to host Britain’s Got Talent since the meeting.

Simon made a contribution to the book and recognised Ant and Dec’s feelings.

He said: ‘If they’re p****d off, they’ll tell me to my face. And there’s no drama. There’s no entourage. If they’ve got something to say, they say it themselves, which I respect.’

Britain’s Got Talent returns to ITV on September 5 while Once Upon A Tyne is our September 3.

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