As ITV’s Dancing On Ice returns to our screens this January, Danielle de Wolfe speaks to the celebrity contestants battling it out on the rink.
Bringing forth a brand new wave of celebrities, this year’s Dancing On Ice line-up is ready and waiting to don the sequins, quell their nerves and put their best skate forward as they step on to the ice.
The ITV favourite is a much-needed remedy to help chase away the January blues, as 12 new celebrities put their balance and co-ordination to the test live on national television.
The series will once again see the return of This Morning presenting duo Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, alongside Olympic gold medal winning duo Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, Doctor Who star John Barrowman and choreographer and Diversity member Ashley Banjo.
With the first live show gracing our screens on January 17, the opening instalment will see six celebrity skaters and their partners battle it out, while the remaining six will compete in the following week’s show.
As with previous series, the couples that find themselves at the bottom of the table will then face the infamous Skate Off, battling it out to avoid elimination.
So, as the class of 2021 lace up their skates and intrepidly venture on to the ice, we meet the celebrities set to glide on to our screens this new year.
– Jason Donovan
Best known for starring alongside Kylie Minogue in hit Australian soap opera Neighbours, actor and singer Jason Donovan, 52, finds himself swapping equators this time around for his on-ice debut.
“I’m a surfer, I’m a skateboarder, I’m a bike rider, I’m a skier. I love adrenaline. So I drew to skating for all those reasons… It’s one thing to skate around the Natural History Museum with your daughter at Christmas and it’s another thing to do a j-twizzle and a nutcracker with your partner.”
– Rebekah Vardy
Having taken part in critter-filled favourite I’m A Celebrity, 38-year-old Rebekah Vardy – wife of England footballer Jamie Vardy – is ready and raring to swap the jungle for the ice rink.
“I seem to be the only one who’s ended up hurting my pro, putting him in hospital. We were practising a trick and we changed it slightly from something that we would normally do. On this occasion, it went very wrong and the back of my heel and my blade sliced his face open. Yeah, it was quite scary.”
– Graham Bell
Olympic skier Graham Bell, 55, is no stranger to cold climates and icy surroundings. That being said, swapping skis for skates might just be his biggest challenge yet.
“I come in with a little bit of skating ability, we used to play ice hockey, we used to mess about on the ice, do a little bit of speed skating, and there is a slight crossover between skiing and skating, but when you start to perform – and I have zero dance training – I just don’t have the posture yet.”
– Denise van Outen
Actress and presenter Denise van Outen, 46, is no stranger to performing in front of large audiences, however, the ice is set to add an entirely new element to proceedings.
“I’m forever hitting my toe picks and going flying. I literally don’t think I’ve had one training session where I haven’t fallen over, and I have genuinely never been on ice before. I’ve never skied before in my life.”
– Sonny Jay
Radio presenter Sonny Jay, 27, is but the latest Capital FM DJ to take to the ice, after fellow presenter Roman Kemp came third on the 2019 instalment of the show.
“Roman [Kemp] is very excited for me to do this show, he was the first person I told that I was doing it because you don’t know what people’s reactions would be. He was just like, ‘Great, it’s a perfect opportunity for you to go on to a platform like that and show everyone who you are’.”
– Faye Brookes
Best known for her role as Kate Connor on ITV soap Coronation Street, Faye Brookes, 33, is channelling all her panto and on-screen experience ahead of the live shows.
“No matter how much training we’ve had dance-wise – and it was a while ago I did dance myself too – it does go against you because it’s the complete opposite. Hamish is like, ‘You’re doing the wrong arm!’ and I’m like, ‘How is that wrong?!'”
– Rufus Hound
It’s safe to say that comedian Rufus Hound, 41, is not entirely enthralled or prepared for life on the ice, as he dons his skates and throws himself into rehearsals.
“At no point in my life did I ever want to do ice skating or be an ice dancer. I find myself in a position where this is what I have to do to pay my mortgage… I’ve already been training with Victoria for three months and it’s three months I will never get back.”
– Lady Leshurr
The year 2021 will see British rapper Lady Leshurr, 32, swapping the mic for the rink as she discovers the plus side of learning to figure skate.
“One of the questions that I asked was, ‘Does it help you get a booty?’ and they said, ‘Yeah, you do get some good buns when you skate’, so I was like, ‘Yeah, sign me up then’.”
– Myleene Klass
Pop star-turned-presenter Myleene Klass, 42, is out to challenge people’s perceptions. Combining motherhood with ice skating? She says it can definitely be done.
“I’m doing this because I am in my 40s. I’m 42, I’m a mum of three, I’m a stepmum of two, and we’re not written off. I want to go forwards on the ice, I want to go backwards on the ice, and I want a J-Lo butt, so hopefully if I can tick all those three, I’ve won already.”
– Colin Jackson
Welsh hurdler and world record holder Colin Jackson, 53, is channelling all his sporting prowess (and Strictly Come Dancing experience) into this new on-ice challenge.
“One of the most important things I guess in dance is always finishing; finishing your arm action, having complete lines, posturing. Obviously I was a finalist in Strictly, so I learnt a lot of dancing technique along the way.”
– Billie Faiers
Television personality and TOWIE cast member Billie Faiers, 30, is well and truly stepping out of her comfort zone. With nerves being her biggest challenge, only time will tell for the reality TV star.
“I’m just nervous in general. I think because I’ve never done anything like this and especially not live. I just hope that I look OK doing it. It’s so out of my comfort zone.”
– Joe-Warren Plant
From the Dales to the ice rink, it’s been a complete change of scene for Emmerdale actor Joe-Warren Plant, 18, who has already experienced his fair share of tumbles.
“With the first two weeks when we started training, I went on to the ice without my knee pads on, which usually I would’ve done, and fell directly on to the knee. We had to miss like four sessions because of it.”
Dancing on Ice returns to STV, tonight, 6pm