Michael Barrymore has been forced to quit the upcoming season of Dancing on Ice after breaking his wrist, with former Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya stepping in to replace him.
The comedian and TV presenter had been preparing to star on the twelfth series of the ITV reality competition, which starts in January 2020. But ITV have confirmed that, after sustaining the injury in training, Barrymore had no choice but to withdraw from the show. Chinyanganya will be partnered by professional skater Jessica Hatfield.
Barrymore will still feature in Dancing on Ice on Christmas, the festive special which airs on ITV this Sunday, but was pre-recorded last week.
He released a statement about his withdrawal: “Shortly after shooting the Dancing On Ice Christmas Special I took a tumble whilst rehearsing for the January shows. After the fall, I thought I had sprained my wrist but it turns out that it is broken. Unfortunately, the medics have told me that I cannot compete.
“I am absolutely devastated; I have loved every second of the journey so far with my wonderful dance partner Alex Murphy and the support from the public has been overwhelming.
“I have been fortunate enough to work with such a great bunch of people over the previous few months; trainers, celebrities, pro skaters, the judges, Holly and Phil and the incredible production team at ITV who really are exceptional and help to make it the fantastic show that it is.
“I shall be in the studio for the first show on Sunday 5th January and hope to make other appearances throughout. I would like to wish the whole of Dancing On Ice 2020 the best of luck.”
While this is sure to come as a bitter disappointment to the 67-year-old comic and his fans, it is at least good news for Chinyanganya, who had said: “I am thrilled and privileged to be part of the Dancing On Ice 2020 cast. I am absolutely gutted for Michael, who is one of my all-time favourite TV presenters, and I wish him a speedy recovery.
“I’ve only got two weeks to get ready to ice skate in front of the nation so I’m looking forward to a Christmas and New Year filled with training on the ice!”
The Dancing on Ice Christmas special airs on ITV at 7pm on Sunday 22nd December, before the new series begins on Sunday 5th January 2020 at 6pm