A brand new line-up of fearless – or perhaps foolhardy – celebrities is ready to brave the ice as Dancing On Ice returns for its 15th series.
Hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby will once again preside over the action as the 11 stars strap on their skates.
Also watching them trying to wow us with their skills will be the ice panel – skating legends Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, Diversity star Ashley Banjo and former Strictly Come Dancing champ Oti Mabuse.
The series promises “show-stopping performances” and for Chris, 64, it’s a chance to lift viewers out of the January gloom. “It’s Dancing On Ice time!” he laughs. “It’s a glitzy and over-the-top jeopardy show. Families can sit down with the kids and be entertained by it.”
After 15 years at the helm, it’s no surprise that Jayne, 65 – who won gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics with Chris – describes the show as “our baby”. “It feels a part of us,” adds Chris.
Asked who they think might lift the trophy this year, the duo say RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star The Vivienne could one to watch.
“I have a feeling she’ll surprise people,” says Chris. Jayne agrees, adding, “We did the two days of boot camp and just watched her take in information. She’s got a good work ethic.”
As to whether they have any tips for the stars, they’re setting the bar high. “We want to be wowed and excited,” says Chris. No pressure then, celebs…
Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu isn’t content with just the Love Island crown, she wants to be the 2023 champion of DOI too!
“I’m really competitive and I used to ice-skate when I was a little girl,” she says. “I’ve always had a performance side in my blood.
“I do think Dancing On Ice will be hard, but it’s an opportunity to show a different audience a side to me. I think I’ll be good and I can see myself winning it.”
The 28-year-old, who describes herself as passionate and confident, says her friends and family can’t wait to see her in action on the ice – except for her boyfriend Davide Sanclimenti and her dad.
“I think my dad will be scared of me hurting myself. Davide will definitely be jealous that I’m doing this because he likes to move. It’ll be nice for him to see me skate. I think he might find that attractive – a bit of salsa music playing,” she says.
“I’d love for him to watch me rehearse. It’s exciting for him to see me because it’s an achievement. He’s my number one supporter.”
She then jokes, “The thing I’d be most scared of would be that Davide would be cheering me on while I’m doing a performance, I do the splits and then split my pants in half!”
When asked about the dangers that come with skating, Ekin-Su is quick to brush them off. “I’ve never been scared in my life. I’ve never been nervous in my life. I’ve always been confident,” she says.
“I think the only time I’d be nervous would be in the final. I know I’m going to fall and hurt myself because in life you fall and hurt yourself, but I’m ready!”
Mum-of-two Michelle Heaton isn’t the first member of Liberty X to take part in DOI – her bandmate Jessica Taylor finished third back in 2009.
Now, after years battling health and addiction issues, Michelle says she’s finally strong enough to compete.
“Even though I’ve always wanted to do the show and my name has been in the hat, it was never the right time,” says Michelle, 43. “I feel really strong and ready. I want to do it because it’s always been on my bucket list. The show’s magical.”
The star has been sober for nearly two years and says her dream is to make her kids proud. “My kids are my biggest supporters,” she says. “Faith [Michelle’s daughter] was with me when I received the call and I cried! Faith said when I was crying, she thought it was bad news. I told her I got it and she hugged me and said, ‘I’m so proud of you, Mummy.’”
Although Michelle says she’s “learnt not to be scared of anything”, there’s one move that does fill her with fear – the famous headbanger. “It’s not something you dream about doing, is it?” she jokes.
And after landing a place in Liberty X back in 2001 after a stint on Popstars, Michelle isn’t fazed by being judged, either.
“I had to audition all of my younger life and get approval to get to the next step. And here we are again,” she says. “I’m a massive fan of the judges.
Whatever their feedback is, I will accept it because they know more than me. I’ll accept it with decorum and grace.”
EastEnders legend Patsy Palmer now lives in sunny Los Angeles, so life on the ice might come as a shock in more ways than one.
The mum-of-four says she is doing the show for her children – Charley, Fenton, Emilia and Bertie – saying, “I always want my kids to see it’s good to be doing fun things – challenging yourself and getting out there. I’m 50 years old and I’m there for the 50-year-old women.”
Not that it’s the first time the actress has taken part in a challenge show. In 2005 she starred on Strictly, but has mixed memories of her time on the dance floor.
“When I was doing Strictly Come Dancing I used to get sick,” she says. “I hadn’t really watched it, so I didn’t realise how much spinning was involved. I was really gutted about that because it used to set me back. If I hadn’t had that, I think I could have gone way further in the competition. I’m hoping that with the momentum on ice, it won’t happen.”
Another issue is Patsy’s fear of injuring herself. Unlike Strictly, Dancing On Ice is renowned for its medical emergencies.
In 2018, Corrie star Antony Cotton fractured several ribs, while in 2021 presenter Denise Van Outen had to pull out after breaking her shoulder in three places.
“I’m obviously nervous about hurting myself, especially at my age,” she admits. “I don’t want to break any bones!
“Physically I’m not very strong and I don’t do any rigorous working out. Obviously, I’ve had four kids and C-sections really weaken your muscles.”
Asked how she thinks she’ll cope with the judges’ criticisms, Patsy says, “I’ll either cry or laugh! I’ll try and keep it level, but it’s never nice to be criticised when you’ve put a lot of work into something.”
Former Hollyoaks star Carley Stenson, 40, will be making a welcome return to our TV screens after more than a decade establishing herself as a West End star. But while she’s used to treading the boards night after night, the actress says skating live on TV is a much scarier concept.
“I’ve never done live telly before apart from interviews,” she says. “Performing live – that is scary and that is massive. Once it’s done in theatre, it’s gone and it’s not recorded. You might hit a bum note or you might forget a line, but it’s done and sometimes the audience doesn’t notice. This is recorded for life and that is a little bit scary!”
Carley, whose partner is former Strictly runner-up Danny Mac, gave birth to a little girl, Skye, 18 months ago and says she’s now ready to step back into the spotlight.
“My husband is so raring for me to just embrace something for me,” she says. “We’ve had a baby and I’ve put myself to the back. He’s just like, ‘Go get it. Go get it.’ He’s so excited for me.”
Her former Hollyoaks co-star and former DOI contestant Jorgie Porter has also been offering encouragement.
“I’ve already messaged Jorgie, actually,” Carley says.
“She said, ‘Do it. I had such a blast.’ She gave me advice, just as I gave her advice because she’s recently had a baby. We’ve kind of life-swapped!”
After months of nappy changes and night feeds, it’s no wonder Carley is itching to get onto the ice.
“I’m extremely grateful to have this opportunity,” she says. “I love performing and I would never get to do this on my own. I want to do everything and I want to do stuff that has never been done.
“I think I’m going to have a few days where the fear is going to kick in, but I’m going to have to just get over that.”
The Wanted star Siva Kaneswaran, 34, says he is feeling “a mixture of nervousness, terror and excitement” ahead of the live shows, but there is one person who will be helping him through.
Siva’s bandmate Tom Parker died from a brain tumour last March, and the singer says his pal’s death was one of the reasons he wanted to do the show.
“I’ve decided this year to do a lot of things that I’d never do and face my fears,” he says. “Obviously, this year has been eye-opening for me with Tom and witnessing his courage, which was infectious to say the least.
"It reminded me that life is worth living and to take it all and to enjoy it.”
Admitting he “falls over a lot” and is “quite clumsy”, Siva is trying to be positive about “skating on knives”.
“My strength would be that I like to be very repetitive with my movements, I’ll do it until I get it right,” he says. “I’m quite analytical in that way and I think that will help with the skating. My weakness would be that sometimes it can get too much for me and sometimes I get overwhelmed and hot under the collar and make mistakes.”
He adds, “I think it would be great to win and I’m aiming for that – I’ll do the best I can. Overall, I’m just looking forward to getting out there on the ice and hopefully at least putting on a show for people to get to know me.”
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK winner The Vivienne is going into the show with one goal only – to be crowned Queen Of The Ice.
“I’m very competitive and I want to win,” says the 30-yearold drag artist. “I think when people say they didn’t do it to win, they’re the people who didn’t win! You’ve got to put things out into the universe.”
Unfortunately, not everyone feels so confident about her chances on the ice.
“My mum is petrified!” Viv admits. “I’ve asked if she is going to come to a live show and watch and she’s like, ‘I don’t know if I could watch!’ My husband [David Ludford] is nervous too and he’s said, ‘Please don’t break anything!’”
The Vivienne says she is all too aware how perilous taking part in the show can be.
“I’m scared of getting kicked in the face. You could break anything! One of my friends, Jennifer Ellison, did the show and I keep seeing that video of her kicking herself,” says Viv, referring to the time in 2012 when the former Brookside actress cut her head performing a move called the scorpion kick.
“You’re being slung about on rock hard ice – the slipperiest surface ever – with knives on your feet. It’s pretty dangerous.”
While The Vivienne has some skating experience, she says she normally clings to the wall and admits “stopping is not my strong point”. But when it comes to getting glammed up in the famously glitzy outfits, the star can’t wait to get into character.
“It’s my dream to fly like in the Mary Poppins routine,” she admits. “I’d love to do Wicked. I’m a big musical theatre geek – I’ve seen Mary Poppins like 12 times! I love themes like ‘icons’ because I love Cher and Dolly Parton.”
One thing’s certain, if the judges’ critiques are too harsh, they’ll soon know about it. “I’m not afraid to snap back!” warns The Vivienne.
Joey Essex says the reason he wanted to take part in this year’s show was to “bring a nice bit of structure into my life”. But that might not be the only reason – according to reports, the 32-year-old has grown close to his skating partner, Vanessa Bauer, off the ice.
Admitting he “isn’t a professional athlete” Joey is still keen to thrown himself into the rink – possibly quite literally.
“I’ll take big risks. I want to excite people,” he says. “I’ll really push myself and put 150% into this. I’ll go overboard, which is quite dangerous really because you don’t know whether you’re going to mess it up.
“Potentially, I could do something quite ridiculous and fall over.”
So is he taking any tips from his former TOWIE co-star Gemma Collins, for instance?
“I’m not going to ask anyone for advice,” he says. “I’m going to be fresh out of the water, if that is a quote? And then I’m going to be fresh on the ice!”
Comedian Darren Harriott, 34, said: ”I like dancing and I like ice – that is actually a lie, I hate both! I just want to be graceful. I don’t have much grace. I’ve always said I’m like a full fridge and I want this fridge to move like it’s got wheels!”
Olympic Nile Wilson, 26, said: “I’ve been retired from sport for the last couple of years. This is essentially a new sport and I’m excited to feel like a professional athlete again.”
TV presenter and former footballer John Fashanu, 60, said: “I’ve been good at martial arts, boxing and playing football and the ultimate is doing something that is going to push you to the limits.”
Coronation Street actress Mollie Gallagher, 25, revealed: “As I’ve got older I’ve realised that I don’t have very good coordination and I’m always thinking of how I can improve it. After doing this, I’ll be able to do anything!”
Dancing On Ice starts Sunday 15 January, 6.30pm, ITV1
Click here for today's top showbiz news
Kate Middleton shows off gravity-defying bouffant hair – but was it an accident?
Adam Thomas teases Emmerdale return after his BBC Waterloo Road comeback
Corrie's Jennie McAlpine is 6 months pregnant! Fiz star tells all in exclusive OK! shoot
Get exclusive celebrity stories and fabulous photoshoots straight to your inbox with OK!'s daily newsletter
Source: Read Full Article