Strictly is a distant memory, but ITV’s sub-zero counterpart Dancing on Ice is skating back on our screens this January to fill the entertainment void.
- When is Dancing on Ice back on TV? Which celebrities have signed up? Who are the judges?
- Dancing on Ice 2019 pairings revealed
- Dancing on Ice confirms professional skaters
The show’s stellar line-up this year (including none other than Gemma ‘The GC’ Collins taking to the ice) promises a hell of a show to kick off 2019.
RadioTimes.com has caught a sneak peak of the celebs in action during the Dancing on Ice press day – and there were plenty of surprises. While some contestants impressed, others looked to have slipped off the pace in training.
But who’s the favourite based on our first look at the new celebrities? Here’s who we’re banking on becoming this year’s Dancing on Ice champion…
Dancing on Ice 2019 favourite: Jane Danson
Soap actors have a history of doing rather well on Dancing on Ice, with Corrie’s Brooke Vincent coming second last year to former X Factor alumnus Jake Quickenden. Jane Danson looks set to follow in her footsteps, having been paired with Corrie pal Samia Ghadie’s husband and Dancing on Ice stalwart Sylvain Longchambon.
Stepping out gracefully on the ice, Jane was confident in her skates, able to stop and start with little aid from her professional partner.
Speaking about her decision to do Dancing on Ice this year, she told hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, “I’ve always wanted to do the show, but this year I turned 40 and I realised that it was now or never.”
The chance to do meet head judges Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean proved to be an emotional one for Jane.
“My first memory was watching them doing the Boléro and it was such a surreal dream meeting them that I ended up crying,” she confessed.
Highly fancied: Richard Blackwood
Richard Blackwood appeared nonchalant on the ice as he skated in a circle with partner, new pro skater Carlotta Edwards, as if he’d done it a million times before.
Turns out, he may well have done.
The former EastEnders star, 46, let slip he previously used to skate to school every day when he lived in Sweden, before moving back to London when he was nine.
But Richard believes that’s unlikely to make a difference to him competing on Dancing on Ice.
“Yeah, that was back when I was 9; I’m now 46,” he told Holly and Phil. “It was a very long time ago.”
Outside bet: James Jordan
As a professional dancer, you’d expect James Jordan to be good, and he certainly has the poise and grace you’d expect as he took to the ice with pro dancer Alexandra Schauman.
But the 40-year-old former Strictly pro claims it’s actually been far more difficult for him to learn to dance on skates, as everything he learned on terra firma is reversed.
James is also struggling to be a pupil instead of a teacher on the show.
“I’m used to being good at things, and I prefer telling people what to do,” he told Holly and Phil. “But Alexandra is a great teacher.”
Whether James is truly passionate about taking the Dancing on Ice trophy is yet to be seen, but there is one thing he definitely wants to do.
“I’m really nervous but as long as I beat Brian McFadden, I’m happy!” he said.
The dark horse: Gemma Collins
Few genuinely thought Gemma Collins would make it on to the ice, after reports of diva strops and tantrums – but the TOWIE star has proved everyone wrong, and is actually really rather good.
The 37-year-old loved the admiring crowd as she skated alongside Matt Evers, waving as she skated (almost) unaided.
So confident in her abilities on the ice, Collins announced that she was prepared to take Torvill and Dean’s Boléro crown.
“There’s been tears but I just love it,” she said. “I am at one with the ice. I love her. I may never be Torvill and Dean but you never know, I could be taking their Boléro trophy.
“It’s very therapeutic on the ice. No-one can get to you there.”
Adding that she would be coming out fighting in Week 1 with a routine to Beyonce, will we be prepared to eat our words over The GC?
First out? Saira Khan
It might be a little mean to say Mark Little is unlikely to go far in the competition, because we didn’t actually see him skate (he’s been starring in panto and missed the press day). But pro partner Brianne Delcourt seemed doubtful they’ll be going too far in the competition, saying that they’ve at least had a laugh.
Loose Women star Saira Khan may be at risk from an early exit from Dancing on Ice: taking to the slippery floor alongside partner Mark Hanretty, she was kept steady by her partner and didn’t appear confident on the ice.
“I may be a Loose Woman, but I’m not loose on the ice,” the 48-year-old admitted. “I’ve never been skating in my life and my kids shamed me into it. Though I was voted most improved.”
Dancing on Ice launches Sunday 6th January 2019 at 6pm on ITV