But forgetting the moves may be the least of the celebs’ worries as they perform under the frosty gaze of dancer and veteran judge Jason Gardiner, whose famously bitchy comments are as sharp as the blades they’re expected to skate on.
As he rejoins the panel alongside Ashley Banjo, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, here’s everything you need to know about Dancing on Ice’s most vitriolic judge….
Jason Gardiner – the early years
Gardiner was born in Melbourne in 1971, launching his career in film and television at just 16 as he joined the original cast of the Australian version of 42nd Street.
He went on to star in a series of musicals, including West Side Story, Cats and Chicago.
However, it’s for his work as a choreographer that he is best-known, having worked with a galaxy of celebs including Kylie Minogue, Pink, Cher and Sir Elton John, as well as working with brands including Yves Saint Laurent, Benefit and MTV.
What shows did Jason Gardiner star in before Dancing on Ice?
Before he brought his barbed comments to Dancing on Ice, Gardiner was in the original British version of Queer Eye For The Straight Guy in 2005 as the show’s resident culture expert.
Its success saw Gardiner land his first judging role on BBC1’s short-lived Strictly spin-off Strictly Dance Fever in 2005, alongside former Strictly judge Arlene Phillips.
How long has Jason Gardiner been on Dancing on Ice?
Joining the show at its inception in 2006, Gardiner found his niche as one of the most acid-tongued judges in showbiz, giving Simon Cowell a run for his money with his crushing putdowns.
Some personal favourite insults he dished out before leaving the show in 2012 include telling wholly hopeless skater EastEnders actor Todd Carty that he “looked like he’d crapped himself”, crediting TOWIE’s Lauren Goodger with “all the sensuality of a walrus”, and in one particularly scathing attack comparing swimmer Sharron Davies to “faecal matter that won’t flush.”
The latter remark in 2010 saw 400 complaints to Ofcom, with Gardiner forced to issue a grovelling apology on his Twitter page.
And it wasn’t just the contestants who were on the receiving end of a tongue-lashing from Gardiner, with the judge once telling former Olympic skater and coach Karen Barber that “If her opinion mattered, she’d still be on the judging panel.”
What other shows has Jason Gardiner been a judge on?
Love him or loathe him, Gardiner’s cold remarks saw him picked up as a judge on short-lived ITV talent show Born to Shine in 2011. Sat alongside Denise van Outen, Gardiner would critique celebrities, who were learning a new skill from teenagers on behalf of charity Save the Children.
He also was a judge on the Davina McCall-fronted Stepping Out in 2013, a show that saw a series of real-life couples learn to dance. While it was originally pitched as ITV’s ‘rival’ to Strictly Come Dancing, it was not renewed after the first series.
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