After four years away, the ice rink is being smoothed over and the lycra is making a return.
In the new year, Dancing on Ice makes a comeback to ITV for its first new series in four years, and we have so many questions.
Who’s got a shot at winning? What are former coaches Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean going to be like as judges? And will they be getting into shouting matches with Jason Gardiner?!
To find out, RadioTimes.com asked the Olympic skating legends…
1. Why is Dancing on Ice making a comeback now?
Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean on Dancing on Ice (Getty)
“Over the years we’ve gradually missed it, because it was a big part of our lives for almost 10 years,” explains Jayne. “The opportunity that it was going to come back was really exciting for us.”
“When it came up that ITV were interested to bring it back onto the screens we were excited to be invited and be a part of it again,” adds Chris. “I must say, after a couple of years, you never know what you miss until it’s gone, and I think we got itchy feet.
“There’s always that question of ‘will it be successful again?’ but I think ITV hopefully know their audience,” adds Chris. “I think it was a good show, it left in a good way and many people that we know would say to us ‘we miss it’, but I think there were a lot of people who did enjoy it and will be looking forward to seeing it back on the screens again.”
2. How is Dancing on Ice going to be different?
Original presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby are returning to the show, as is former judge Jason Gardiner. However, Torvill and Dean are now going to be judges alongside brand new face Ashley Banjo.
“Ashley’s a lovely person,” says Chris. “We’ve worked with him on a couple of occasions, and his life is dance so he will bring the knowledge of dance and movement from his perspective. And at the same time I think he’s a larger than life character. I think the judging panel’s going to be quite entertaining!”
Jayne also teases a “completely new set”, with Chris hinting that the judges will be “freed from confinement”. He wouldn’t say any more than that, but does this mean we’ll be seeing them sat not behind a desk but perhaps wandering around the periphery of the rink? We’ll have to wait and see.
What he does reveal is that there’s going to be “a lot of multimedia around” and “there may be interactivity”, with the professional ice skaters – the ones who are choreographing the routines. In the past, they would be assisted by Torvill and Dean in creating the routines. Now, the pair are just going to be judging.
3. What are Torvill and Dean going to be like as judges?
Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean for Dancing on Ice 2018 (Trevor Leighton)
“I think we’re going to be fair and honest,” says Chris. “We can see talent and we can see when someone’s pulling the wool over our eyes as well, so we’ll judge it accordingly. The thing is, you can have criticism and you can critique. And we are there to critique to help them move forward, whether that’s the truth hurts sometimes or whether the truth moves them forward.”
But both of them tell us that they’re prepared to be critical of the celebrities’ skating ability. “If that’s how we see it,” says Chris.
“But I always like to find something positive to say as well as criticise, and hopefully it will encourage them rather than put them down,” chips in Jayne.
The elements they’re going to be hottest on are “technique and ability”, with Jayne saying that she will give contestants “a lot of credit” for trying hard. Chris also says that he loves a trier. “I love to see the commitment, and you don’t have to be the best to show that. But at the same time, the talented one is going to be the winner.”
4. Will they clash with Jason Gardiner?
During DOI’s former incarnation, the Ice Panel underwent many overhauls. But the one near-constant was Jason Gardiner. The famously acid-tongued judge is now the only face returning to the show. Having famously clashed with coach Karen Barber and, well, nearly everyone over the years, are the Olympic champions worried about sitting alongside him?
“I think you can always be a target can’t you? It’s how you react to it. But it’s just words – sticks and stones…” says Chris. “You know what, whatever Jason’s going to have to say, that’s his opinion and you either like it or dislike it,” he adds. “You can say what you like – it’s your opinion, you’re a judge, that’s what you’re there for – in the same way that we’ll have an opinion.
“I might even disagree with Jayne! We bicker all the time anyway, we’re like an old married couple.”
5. Who is going to win Dancing on Ice?
Candice Brown on Dancing on Ice 2018 (ITV Pictures)
With the full celebrity line-up revealed, Chris and Jayne are eyeing up a few stars that they think we should keep an eye on during this series. “I’m a big Corrie fan so I’ll be keen to see how Brooke Vincent copes with the ice,” says Chris. “From her social media she seems to be on the beach a lot, so I hope she takes to the ice as well as she takes to the beach.”
Jayne, meanwhile, thinks it will be interesting to see how Candice Brown does. “She’s clearly competitive, being part of the Bake Off and indeed winning it,” she adds. “She would have had to work hard and be quite disciplined to win that show. But there are quite a few sports stars in there as well, and they’re going to be quite disciplined.
“And also the pain factor…” chips in Chris. “They have a higher threshold for pain, I think. But having said that, our best skater of all time was Ray Quinn.”
6. Will they perform the Bolero again?
Over DOI’s lifetime it became an annual event to have Torvill and Dean perform the Bolero during the final. Their Olympic gold medal-winning routine – which they famously performed at the Sarajevo Olympics in 1984 – was always one of the biggest highlights of the series.
When Dancing on Ice was cancelled by ITV, they said it would be their “last Bolero”. So, will it still be?
Chris simply said: “Never say never”…
Dancing On Ice Live is touring the UK from March 23rduntil April 15th 2018. For tickets and venue information, click here.