Having joined the Dancing on Ice judging panel for its reboot last year, Ashley Banjo has made himself a firm favourite.
The Diversity frontman, 30, is all set to join Jason Gardiner, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean ahead of the skating show’s return to our screens on Sunday night.
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However, Banjo says he will be forced to make a swift departure if his wife of nearly three years, Francesca Abbott, goes into labour.
The couple announced they were expecting a baby girl in October last year, with Abbott’s due date thought to be during the run of the new series.
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I am so excited to finally share the news that we are having a baby!! Now the time has come to finally say this out loud I have no idea what to say! I don’t know if words alone can explain how full of joy and happiness we both are. It has been a more difficult journey to this point than most people know but we are now here with one of the most precious gifts in the world… A little girl! I have so many strong and incredible women around me, I know she will have great examples to follow. Especially this woman right here – my wife and my rock. You are going to be the best mum in the world. I’m so excited to see our little one grow up and if by any chance she wanted to be like her daddy and bust a few moves, I’ve already got the dancing shoes covered! Can’t wait to meet you little sweetie ?????❤️ #firstbaby #nextchapter #family
“I would miss the show [if Francesca goes into labour],” he told RadioTimes.com. “It’s kind of a double-edged sword where you’d be gutted that you’d miss the show, but I’d have to be straight out. I’m not missing the birth of my first child! I’d be gone.”
Banjo also explained that he has a system in place to alert him to leave as swiftly as possible.
“I’m on constant alert,” he said. “I’ve got a pager on my belt to let me know. I’m ready to go.”
The new series of Dancing on Ice sees a diverse range of celebs take to the (slippery) floor in order to impress the judges.
This year Grease’s Didi Conn will grab her skates, alongside Strictly’s James Jordan, Corrie’s Jane Danson and TOWIE’s Gemma Collins.
After she was announced as a contestant, fans (and host Phillip Schofield) were initially sceptical as to whether Collins would even make it to the ice, due to her penchant for quitting shows early (she lasted just three days in 2014 series of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!).
However, Banjo is backing the reality TV diva to go all the way.
“I’d like Gemma to shock people,” Banjo said. “A lot of people have been saying she might not be that great. And actually, she’s got potential to be pretty good. She’s full of energy, she’s really bubbly.”
Dancing on Ice is not Banjo’s only show on our screens this month, with the star also fronting Channel 4’s picturesque new dating show Flirty Dancing.
The show sees Banjo separately teaching two singletons one routine which they then perform together on their first date.
“Dance is my thing,” he said. “I am intrigued in how different people find the right person. When the concept came up, my first conversation to show producers was about how I met my wife dancing. It does happen. I know friends who met their other half through dance.
“I knew there was something in it, so I just wanted to explore it.”
Dancing on Ice starts on Sunday 6th January at 6pm on ITV. Flirty Dancing stars on Thursday 10th January at 10pm on Channel 4.