Dancing On Ice could axe studio audience for upcoming series

The decision stems from continuing fears over coronavirus.

Dancing on Ice (ITV) judges, including Ashley Banjo, John Barrowman, Torvill and Dean

ITV’s Dancing On Ice may not have a studio audience when it returns in 2021, according to one of the show’s judges.

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Diversity dance troupe star Ashley Banjo joined the expert panel for the tenth series in January 2018, critiquing the efforts of celebrity contestants and their professional partners.

He has spoken out about the upcoming edition of the show, which is expected to return to ITV in its usual slot at the beginning of 2021, despite format changes necessitated by coronavirus.

“Discussions about Dancing On Ice have already started and they are talking about not having an audience right now,” Banjo revealed to Daily Star.

Rival show Strictly Come Dancing has had to take similar measures this year, dispensing with a live crowd due to concerns over social distancing and potential spread of the illness.

It would mark the first time Dancing On Ice has ever gone without a studio audience, who usually make themselves known while the judges give their feedback.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the upcoming series, as fans are excited by the prospect of Dancing On Ice introducing a drag queen contestant.

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star Baga Chipz is rumoured to be in the running for a spot on the Dancing On Ice 2021 line-up following up on last year’s milestone of first ever same-sex couple, comprised of singer Ian ‘H’ Watkins and Matt Evers.

Strictly is seemingly following suit this year, reportedly adding two same-sex pairings to the competition this winter, including both an all-male and all-female couple.

Banjo added: “The show is good for having ‘firsts’ and we’ve never had a drag queen… well, not any that we know!”

Other names rumoured to be taking to the ice are Coronation Street’s Sally Dyvenor, actress and TV presenter Denise Van Outen, as well as Love Island star Luke Trotman.

It remains to be seen whether contestants will be expected to follow the same strict lockdown procedures as those on Strictly Come Dancing, who are reportedly expected to quarantine for six weeks ahead of the premiere.

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Dancing On Ice returns to ITV early next year. If you’re looking for something else to watch, check out our TV Guide.