It's time to get your skates on for the return of Dancing On Ice. Olympic gold stars Torvill and Dean tell Marion McMullen why they are taking it ice and easy this time around
Does it seem like nearly four years since you last did Dancing On Ice?
Christopher Dean: The break has really helped. We got to a point where we felt we couldn't do anything more with the show. It felt it had reached its potential and we thought we had done everything possible. It was also 30 years since our Olympic win as well and it just seemed a poignant moment to step back.
I think the hiatus has been good for the show and it will come back really fresh. It left on a really good note, high up there, and it will come back bigger and stronger.
What did you get up to during your Dancing On Ice break?
Jayne Torvill: Chris and I did panto ... on rollerblades. That was quite challenging. We also had to learn lots of lines, but we did enjoy it. It was good fun, but it was hard work doing two shows every day.
Christopher: I do choreography for professional skaters as well. I’ve got quite a few teams going to the Winter Olympics in February.
What is it like bringing the show back again?
Christopher: ITV got in touch with us about a year ago and we started talks about how we could bring it back in 2018.
Jayne: (Laughs) We didn't have to think about it. We are absolutely thrilled that Dancing On Ice is coming back and there is a lot of excitement and energy about it with celebrities such as Great British Bake Off's Candice Brown, Love Island winner Kem Cetinay and Coronation Street's Brooke Vincent and Antony Cotton announced. We haven't seen any of the contestants – we want to be impartial and wait until the first show. I am interested to see Candice. She comes from a totally different area, but she's probably quite competitive.
Christopher: I'm a big Corrie fan, so I can't wait to see how Antony and Brooke get on.
What is different this time around?
Jayne: We are the judges this time. We were on the creative side last time doing choreography and performing. It was very intense work week-in-week-out, but now we will only be required on a Sunday to judge the routines.
Christopher: The heart of the show will still be the same. Celebrities dancing on ice with the potential to get better with more and more difficult routines. There will also be some twists and turns along the way.
What kind of judges will you be?
Christopher: Very compassionate. I think the whole point is to be honest. If they are doing a great job and look really strong and enthusiastic that is great but if they seem like they need help we can point them in the right direction and say what they need to work on to learn to be confident.
But, at the end of the day, most of all we will be honest. We also have Diversity's Ashley Banjo as a judge and I think he will bring a contemporary feel and Jason Gardiner is back. (Laughs) Jason will be Jason.
Do celebrities realise how tough the competition can be?
Jayne: I don't think they realise how many hours they have to put in. They also have new skates, so that's going to be painful, and they are going have blisters, but they still have to put in the hours in to do the basics.
Christopher: There is no magic bullet. It's two hours a day, six days a week. If they want to do more that's only going to be better.
Which celebrities have stood out for you over the years?
Jayne: Each series there are a few stand out people.
Christopher: Ray Quinn was a stand out one and (laughs) I suppose Todd Carty as well but for the wrong reasons.
You will also be touring the UK next March and April with 27 arena dates of Dancing On Ice Live. What is it like doing the live shows?
Jayne: Audiences love hearing the swish of the skates on the ice and it's all so much faster than it appears on TV. The first half of the show will be the competition and Chris and I will be both hosting and judging and audiences will get to text their votes as well. It could be a different champion every night.
Do you think Dancing On Ice has led to more people skating?
Jayne: I think following the 2006 series you did see people going into ice rinks a lot more and that's when pop-up ice rinks started in places such as Somerset House, the Natural History Museum and all around the country, and that has continued. It's great.
The Dancing On Ice Live Tour starts on March 23 and tickets are now on sale. Go to dancingonicetour.co.uk for details