THE VOICE UK: INTERVIEWS WITH COACHES & HOSTS 26

The search for a new vocal superstar is back as The Voice UK returns to ITV in 2018.

Pop sensation Olly Murs joins Jennifer Hudson, Sir Tom Jones and will.i.am to complete the superstar panel of coaches – and Emma Willis is back as presenter.

New coach Olly is no stranger to talent shows, first finding fame on The X Factor, where he came second in 2009. He has gone on to sell more than 17 million records worldwide and notched upfour UK No.1 albums and four No.1 singles. His most recent album 24 Hrs hit the No.1 spot in November 2016 while in 2017 he played two consecutive tours selling in excess of 600,000 tickets.

Singer, songwriter, producer and entrepreneur will.i.am returns for his seventh series – the only coach to appear on The Voice UK since the very beginning. Will – who also appeared as a coach on the first series of The Voice Kids on ITV in 2017 – is one of the most successful artists in the world, winning seven Grammy Awards and selling more than 12 million singles in the UK alone. He has produced international artists including Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Nicki Minaj while his group The Black Eyed Peas have sold more than 76 million records globally

Legendary artist Sir Tom Jones has had huge success in a career spanning six decades, selling more than 100 million records and clocking up 36 Top 40 hits in the UK and 19 in the US. The recipient of Brit Awards for Best Male and Outstanding Contribution to Music as well as a Grammy, Sir Tom’s music career started in 1965 with the worldwide hit It’s Not Unusual and continues with great critical and popular success to this day. He was awarded an OBE in 1999 and received a Knighthood for services to music in 2006.

Grammy, Oscar and Bafta-winnng artist Jennifer Hudson returns after winning the 2017 series with her act Mo Adeniran and fresh from her stint as a coach on The Voice’s US version. This is the first time a coach has appeared on The Voice on both sides of the Atlantic at the same time. The singer, movie star and Broadway actress first found fame after her breakout Academy Award-winning performance in Dreamgirls, which followed her finalist-run on American Idol. She went on to make her recording debut with her self-titled album, selling millions of copies worldwide and garnering her first Grammy Award. Her subsequent albums, films and television roles kept her in the Billboard Top 10 and earned multiple awards and attention. Her Broadway debut in the 2015/2016 musical revival of The Color Purple garnered her another Grammy win.

Emma Willis again returns to present The Voice UK after completing hosting duties on The Voice Kids in the summer.

Meanwhile, The Voice UK’s digital platforms will bring fans all the backstage gossip as Jamie Miller, a finalist on the last series, returns as digital reporter. Since appearing on the show, he has signed a US recording deal with Atlantic Records, home of Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and Aretha Franklin.

This year’s winner will again scoop a recording contract with music giants Polydor, home to global stars Take That and Ellie Goulding as well as the UK’s biggest breakthrough artists including The 1975 and Years & Years.

The series begins with solo singers and duos competing in the Blind auditions in the hope that the coaches hit their buttons and turn their red chairs for them. If none do, the coaches lose their chance to see the acts at the end of each performance in a format twist that was first introduced last series. With only ten spots to fill on each team, the competition is fierce. The coaches then whittle down their teams at the Battle rounds, with each able to ‘steal’ one act from a rival. The teams get smaller still during the Knockouts while the public get their say at the live Semi-Final – deciding who will make it through to the final. The winner of The Voice UK 2018 will then be crowned by the public during the spectacular live finale.

The new series of The Voice UK launches on ITV on 6 January 2018 at 8pm.

INTERVIEW WITH WILL.I.AM

How different does it feel being back on The Voice UK after doing The Voice Kids in the summer?
It feels good to be back. The only time the vibe seems similar is when you have a 16-yearold singer up there because our cut off for The Voice Kids is 14. So a 14-year-old singer is really no different to a 16-year-old singer. I have 16 and 17 year olds on my team this year. That is the only time when there is blend, when you can’t really recognise the experience as different. Other than that, the fact there is Tom Jones there and Jennifer Hudson and now Olly makes it different. I really enjoyed working with Pixie and Danny on The Voice Kids. I like The Voice Kids a lot.

What dynamic does Olly bring to the panel?
Olly is quite mysterious like Gavin Rossdale. He has similar circus antics as Ricky Wilson and he has the heartthrob front-man performer vibe that Danny from The Script had. He is like all three of them together. I like Olly a lot on the show.

You have been playing a few mind games with Olly on the panel…
They weren’t mind games but because I’ve been stressful before making decisions on the show, I am just trying to make it light and for him not to stress too much as it clogs you from just enjoying the person singing. When you are extra critical or super cynical you are not really enjoying the moment.

Jennifer is the reigning queen, is she more confident this year?
Jennifer is great, she is great on TV. I am happy she did this show again and that she committed to do both The Voice UK and The Voice US because she could have easily said, ‘I’ve had a great time in the UK but I’m doing the US show now and I’m not going to break my back going back and forth’. So I am happy she is still doing The Voice UK.

You have had the experience of doing two versions of The Voice when you did the UK and Australia shows…
Yeah but for some reason, the trek from LA to London is manageable but it really feels like Star Trek the journey from LA to Australia. You really feel you are going to a different planet it is so far away!

How is it to have Tom back too?
Think about it, Tom has an excuse not to come back. He has a new hip, he is 70 years old-plus, he could just say, ‘I am going to relax!’ But Tom is like, ‘I have got a new hip and I’m coming on The Voice and I’m more vibrant than I was last season!’ I don’t know where he is getting the energy from but I want to be like Tom when I am in my 70s.

Are you looking for anything different on the show this year?
I am looking to work with people post-The Voice. Whoever I can work with after the show. That is what I have been turning for. That is what I am excited about.

What keeps bringing you back to The Voice UK?
Just the UK, I love it here. I just like this country, Britain. Any excuse. Although for some reason when I do my British accent it sounds like an old man!

INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER HUDSON

How does it feel to be back?
I’m so excited to be back! It feels different returning after having the winning contestant last season. My first season, I had the pressure of being new and now I have the pressure of being reigning champion. I am trying not to think about it too much and just have fun with it.

You are doing the US version of The Voice as well, is there a different vibe to the British show?
There isn’t anything drastically different between the two shows aside from the accents! All of the contestants are pursuing their dreams and both shows have passionate coaches. British people are definitely a little more reserved.

What is it like having Olly on the panel?
I love it! He is so fun. I love his energy and excitement. Since he also had a similar experience, he can relate to the contestants too, which is cool.

You share that bond…
Definitely. We can relate to this experience. That helps me support the contestants even more and is helpful to the contestants, as now they have two people in that position on the panel.

Is it nice to be back sat between Will and Tom?
Always! It is so fun and such an interesting panel. You have Tom, a legend, who I am always blown away by. It is just a joy to be in his presence and sit next to him and watch and learn from him. Anything he says is just gold and I just think, ‘wow.’ Just telling his story is history, iconic.

Will, I swear his mind is like outer space. Just trying to understand his thought process and how he thinks keeps me going. What is Will saying? What is he thinking? Where is he going with this? But it makes it a very interesting panel.

Have you got any further down the road to understanding where Will comes from and where his thoughts emanate from?
At one point I thought I had him figured out but I am finding I haven’t. He has gotten crazier! It is his charm and I love it. It just shows how we are all individuals!

Your two final acts from last year, Mo Adeniran and Jamie Miller, are both doing well…
Mo is so busy, I knew from the moment he won he would be. Once the ball starts rolling it never stops. Even for me, once I was on the American Idol rollercoaster it never ended and I see the same for Mo. Jamie is like a little brother. He will text me or send me videos. He is always singing something. If I can support any of my acts in finding their dream, I am here. Once you are in JHud Productions you are stuck with me!

Does it feel strange being interviewed by Jamie now he is the digital backstage reporter?
I am so proud of him. I am still coaching him, I tell him he has to believe in himself.

During filming you brought a collection plate in with you, tell us about that…
A fan gave it to me in America. She said every time I sing, I take everyone to church and gave me a collection plate. I said I would take it with me to The Voice UK. In church, we take up a collection after the choir sings. So if the acts have sung exceptionally well, I feel the need to get up and take a collection from the audience. Of course any money collected will go to charity.

You didn’t know what many of the coins and notes were in the plate!
I have no idea what the money is! I have travelled all across to the UK and I still can’t figure it out. It is fancy currency!

You sing a lot for the audience during breaks as well…
I always love to sing. I love singing for the audience. Sometimes I just sit there and do it subconsciously. Whenever I am performing, I want to hear the audience too. They want to be part of it too.

Do you think you can win again this year?
I definitely think my team can win again this year. I am still passionate about the contestants and I feel that is what helped us win last season. The passion will never die.

INTERVIEW WITH SIR TOM JONES

How does it feel to be back and with a new panel member, Olly Murs?
It feels great to be back, I love doing The Voice UK. Olly is a fresh face, he is energetic and enthusiastic. He is doing really well.

Has his arrival changed the dynamic on the panel?
Not really because Will, Jennifer and myself know one another well but Olly is a refresher, he throws something new into it.

You did pretty well winning pitches in the Blinds this year…
With my track record on the show, singers trust me. If they’ve watched the show, they would have seen what I’ve done with singers to bring them forward. I’m so pleased with the talent on my team, it seems like a good year this year for me.

Is it good to have Jennifer and Will back too?
Those two, they are like friends to me, it is like when you haven’t seen someone for a while then you see them, you know them so well you just click straight back in again. That is how I am with them.

Is Jennifer more confident this year now she is the reigning champion?
She was confident as soon as she sat in that chair! That is her personality, she is a very experienced, confident person. Of course she’d like to win again, we’d all like to. When you get a winner it is reassuring that you’ve done a good job and you have brought that person to where he or she should be.

During breaks in the Blinds you’ve been singing to the audience a lot…
Since The Voice UK moved to ITV, it feels more relaxed and more like you can do whatever takes your fancy at the time. They like to see us together interacting with each other as opposed to fighting one another, which I like.

You’ve been very open about your new hip, how are you feeling now?
I don’t need any kind of aidnow, I am walking fine and it’s getting better and stronger every day.

Your finalists last year, Into the Ark, have been touring with you…
They have got a bright future ahead of them. They’ve been developing through experience and they are writing and performing consistently.They seem to be quite unique as there is nothing like them around at the moment and that is a good thing. They are going to tour with me in America next spring, which I’m looking forward to.

What are you looking for on the show this year?
I am just looking for people who hit me and move me. If they can move me then they can move an audience. We all look for that but not exactly in the same way. What moves Willor Jennifer or Olly maybe wouldn’t move me and vice versa. We hear different things in singers. Sometimes we all hear the same thing and that is why we all turn. When we all say, ‘I’ll know it when I hear it,’ it is difficult to explain what ‘it’ is until you actually do hear it.

What is it that keep you coming back to The Voice UK?
I like helping other singers. I like passing on my experience and explaining what I feel a singer needs to do to be successful,and this is the best way for me to do that. It is like singing itself – I am doing something I would do anyway but this is part of my profession now, coaching, just like singing is. I love it, I love doing it and I love helping people. It is part of my life and the way I have always felt about music and the business, to give back to aspiring artists and try and help them along. I want to pass on my knowledge and experience. Being on this show is perfect for that, particularly as I have been in the business so long.

Do you think you have the winner this year in Team Tom?
I always think I do, I wouldn’t have picked these singers otherwise. But I can always see the potential in the other teams as well, I know what I am up against. I think this year there are more really good singers than we have had before so it is going to be more difficult. We have one steal at the Battles but I wish we had more!

INTERVIEW WITH OLLY MURS

How does it feel joining The Voice UK as a coach?
It feels amazing. It is incredible to be part of such an amazing show and a show that I have watched from afar for many years. I am really enjoying being part of such a fun, exciting show, it is brilliant.

What’s it like being the new boy on the panel?
It is mad. When I first started I was really nervous to be the new member, it is like being in a new class at a new school with all new kids, I have got all these new people to meet and they all know each other and they have got to get to know me. Will they like me or not? I don’t know, but I have settled in brilliantly. I was really nervous to start off but everyone is really lovely and the whole team is great to work with and they have made me feel really welcome. They are really fun.

Are some of the other coaches on the panel playing games with you?
I think Will is probably the most competitive that I saw, he was trying to get into my head and trying to convince me to turn when maybe I shouldn’t but that is what it is all about. It is all fun and games and I think especially when you are on The Voice UK it becomes ultra-competitive because one of us is going to win the show with the team we have got and obviously we all want to have a really good team and we all want to win. I think there is always going to be that nice little competitive edge and I think Will always brings that. I love it, it is all banter for me, I like it when people are testing me out and having fun with me, it is great.

Did you know any of the other coaches before joining the show?
I knew them as artists and what they have achieved but I didn’t know them personally. Sir Tom is probably the only one I have properly met before and had a conversation with. We met at a gig in Germany, myself, Tom and Gregory Porter were all there singing. We all got chatting after which was nice. Will and Jennifer I have never met before but I have admired them from afar and so it was just lovely to meet them all. They all have their own personalities which is really fun. I’m sure they were probably thinking, ‘who the hell is this guy with bags of energy?’ but I am hoping they are liking me just as much as I am liking them.

Have you got a strategy to win?
No I haven’t at all! My strategy is just to pick a really good team and I think everyone on the panel just wants to find a star, that is what it is all about and to give our knowledge and advice and try and coach a big star. That is the whole point and hopefully give these guys the opportunity that we were given. That is the only strategy I have. It is very difficult, maybe ask me next year and I will maybe have a different strategy if I am doing the show because I’ll probably have a bit more experience but at the moment it is just about picking the right team. I am just really happy that we have all got really good teams and really strong singers.

You have come from a talent show background yourself, does that help you on the panel?
Yeah of course, it helps me to be able to give the contestants my advice and they also know I have been through that experience and I can help and guide them with that. If they have any questions they want to ask I can help them. But when they get to the later stages of the competition it is really about picking the right songs and that is what I want to try and get across to them. I hope they have the confidence in me to help them with that but they also need to know themselves and find themselves as an artist. I definitely think that the experiences I have had doing reality TV shows will definitely help them and that I have had such a successful career coming from a reality TV show, not many people get that opportunity so I am very lucky that I am part of that group.

Is it good to be back on Saturday night TV on ITV?
Yeah of course, I love the ITV audience and they obviously know me really well over the years being involved heavily with The X Factor. It is going to be great to be in people’s homes on a Saturday night again. Hopefully they will really enjoy this series just as much as I have loved being involved in it. I think it is going to be a fantastic year, I am feeling really confident and excited about it. I can’t wait for people to watch it.

How important are shows like The Voice UK in finding talent?
They are massively important, especially for someone like me who was working in a call centre in Essex. My mum and dad didn’t have the finances or didn’t know anyone in the music industry so I really didn’t have the opportunities. I didn’t know where I could go or what I could do so these shows really do change people’s lives. You still have these really amazing characters and what I love about it is when you find those characters who aren’t professional singers and are just normal regular people who really want to change their lives. That is what I love about these shows, being able to give someone the opportunity to change their life and be the next big thing and that’s why people like to watch. They always like to see the underdog do well.

Are you looking for anything particular from the acts this series?
I am looking for presence and an energy. It is very difficult as a coach when you are sat there waiting to press your button and you are hearing an amazing voice. I remember the day I was at the Brits at The O2 and Adele came out and sang Someone Like You and I remember, it was the energy in the room. The song was amazing and her voice is incredible but there was this real energy in the room that everyone was just so in awe about what she was doing and how beautiful the song was. It was just a really amazing moment. For me as a coach, what I am looking for is obviously a great voice but also something that attracts you. I heard some amazing voices at the Blinds but they didn’t always connect with the audience. That is what I am looking for, someone who cannot just sing but really connect with an audience. If anything the audience and the singer are pressing your button before you press it.

Viewers might just think you’re looking for a pop act, is that right?
What I am looking for is someone who isn’t like anyone else already out there. I want people who are individuals and characters, people who are different. I am looking for a team which is full of individuality and uniqueness. There is no point in me trying to compete with Sir Tom Jones or Jennifer Hudson as they are going to go for the big singers, the big divas or operatic singers, so to me I am looking for a pop voice but also people who are unique and charismatic characters.

Being the new member of the panel, has it been important for you to win pitching battles against the other coaches?
It was so important. I think the first time all the coaches turned for an act and I was up against everyone and won, it was a massive moment. Listen, you are sat across from Sir Tom Jones, the experience he has achieved and what he has done in his career, the success that he has had is amazing. When I get to Tom’s age, if I can have the career he has had, it would be absolutely amazing. When you look at Jennifer Hudson, she was on American Idol and then has gone on to win Grammys and an Oscar, that is amazing, an incredible achievement, she is an amazing artist. Look at will.i.am, as a singer and producer, he has achieved massive things. I have had a successful career myself as an artist but these guys have been doing it a lot longer than I have. I have a little less experience but I like being the underdog, I’ve always been the underdog.

It was interesting for me to go into this knowing that I’m going to be going up against three very experienced coaches but the good thing I have on my side is that I am probably the most current artist from the panel that is right in the thick of the action on the pop charts now. I think that is why I have been picked a few times over the other coaches as well.

Who would you say is your main competition on the panel?
I think it has to be Jennifer. She was the winner last time, the one to beat. Myself, Tom and Will, we have just been all about beating Jennifer Hudson as we can’t let her win again! She has been the one we are all up against.

INTERVIEW WITH EMMA WILLIS

Are you excited to be back?
I am very excited to be back! Normally it feels like quite a long time between series but, because of filming The Voice Kids in the summer, it has gone by really quickly this time.

Last time you were filming The Voice it was full of little people, does it feel weird to be back to the adult version?
will.i.am said with The Voice Kids there was such a phenomenal level of talent on that show that the grown-ups really have to up their game and I think he’s right. If the grownups aren’t as good this series we’re going to be like, ‘I’ve seen a 10-year-old better than you!’

We have a new boy, Olly Murs, this year…
He is a brilliant addition. He is very much like Jennifer, he knows what it is like, he has experienced it so he can relate to every single person who steps up on that stage. He is such a nice guy and he is so successful. In a time when it is really hard to become successful in music if you are just starting out, he is someone who is still achieving it so I think he will have really good knowledge and advice.

It is unusual to have two coaches who both have first-hand experience of these type of shows…
You have got different sides of the pond, Jennifer is a worldwide megastar and Olly is massive all around Europe and everywhere, it is not like he is just a British artist. Olly knows what it is like to come from a show that is very British and how to succeed at it while Jennifer knows how to do that on both sides of the Atlantic and over in America she has also won Grammys and an Oscar.

It is all about your voice but you have to progress and have stage presence as well and they both know about that.

Jennifer is back as reigning champion…
She was that good with us the Americans wanted her too! I am so pleased she is back, I love her to death. I’m really pleased she is here.

And Will and Tom are back too…
I saw Will when we did The Voice Kids and he is just utterly bonkers and totally genius in equal measure, he is so amazing at what he does and for me has made The Voice what it is today. I also love Tom, he is just such a gentleman. They are both like captains of the ship. You can’t have Pirates of the Caribbean without Jack Sparrow and we have two of them!

The show has kept the change from the last series that if no coaches press their buttons for an act they don’t turn around at the end. Do you think it worked well?
I think it worked well but I didn’t realise how brutal it was going to feel until the first one. When we heard it as a concept we were like, ‘that’s a good idea’. I think we do get more information from the coaches as to why they didn’t turn. It is year two now so the acts will be more prepared for it.

From the last series, roots have been put down for success by Mo, Into the Ark and Jamie Miller…
These things always take time and it is not instantaneous. The way I have always seen it is the music business is so difficult that if you are not massive and established, trying to start now is so hard so this show provides a platform and then they have to run with it.

The coaches can put through the best people possible but then they have to work really hard when they leave here. Mo is just about to release music and his voice is ridiculously good; Jamie Miller I think is going to fly, I think he is going to be our little pop star and Into the Ark are constantly touring, they have been on tour with Tom Jones. I bumped into them at so many festivals over the summer when [husband] Matt was playing. I was like, ‘oh, Into the Ark are playing too, I’m just going to watch them then I’ll be back!’

What is it about The Voice that keeps bringing you back?
I love the talent that we get on this show because I don’t think it is predictable. The show is so warm and it is something your whole family can watch at the weekend and it celebrates the best of what we can find that year. What is not to like about it? I love seeing people achieve what they want to achieve. I get excited and carried away.

And you can see the acts actually perform on stage from your vantage point in the studio now as well…
Last year it was really nice being there and experiencing it. It is always nice being with the families to watch it and if their loved one gets a turn it is amazing but if they don’t I feel awful. I am the one who has to go, ‘ok, thanks for coming. Oh this is awkward!

INTERVIEW WITH JAMIE MILLER

Tell us about your role as The Voice UK’s digital reporter…
I am going to be bringing the backstage gossip from the contestants and speaking to them after they come off stage for The Voice UK‘s digital platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

Does it feel strange to be back?
This is what I find so crazy, a year ago I was in my hotel room praying Jennifer Hudson would turn for me and now I’m back as the digital reporter. It is really cool to be a part o f it all and watch people achieve their dreams. This show can change your life, it has really changed mine.

What was it like to meet up with the coaches again?
Jennifer was my coach but I like to think they were all mentor figures to me, they all got on with me and they were all giving me advice. They have got plenty of advice to give me for this season as well!

What have you been up to since the final?
I have signed a deal with Atlantic Records in America. I have been working on my music in New York and Nashville and I am moving to LA soon! It has been really exciting and full on but it is really cool. The Voice UK changed my life. I was in a call centre a year and a half ago and now I ’m just chilling with Jennifer Hudson and will.i.am! It is really cool.

Tell us more about your deal with Atlantic Records…
Khloe Kardashian posted about me and that went super-viral, I had a lot of offers coming in from different record labels in America. My manager knew the Atlantic chief executive and he said to come in for a showcase. I did the showcase and they signed me three days later.

How did the Khloe Kardashian link come about?
I literally have no idea. I woke up one day and my mum was like, ‘this lady called Khloe Kardashian has posted about you,’ and I was like, ‘how do you know her name?!’ and then I obviously looked and it all blew up. I sent some flowers to her house to say thank you!

What advice have you got for this year’s acts?
I’d say just go for it, don’t have any regrets. Nobody is going to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. Just smash it and give it everything you have got.

What is your best memory from the show?
Doing the duet with Jennifer. That was my best moment. That was a moment I have always waited for so to do that and end on such a high was a dream come true.

What is your relationship with Jennifer like now?
Me and Jen are really close, we are like family, she really looks out for me.

What is the big dream for you?
I just want to do music for the rest of my life and so signing with Atlantic is one part of that. I’m going to be releasing music early in 2018 in America. I’m starting in America and working my way back to theUK. I have got a really good team behind me so I am really excited.

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THE CAST OF SILENT WITNESS REVEAL ALL 48

Made by BBC Studios, the prime time hit Silent Witness returns to BBC One this January. The longest running British crime drama currently airing on TV, the series follows a team of forensic pathologists helping police solve murders using clues found on the bodies of the victims – the silent witnesses.

Emilia Fox, Richard Lintern, David Caves and Liz Carr return as the dynamic Lyell unit, for five new topical thrilling two-part contemporary stories set against the familiar landscapes of London.

EPISODE SYNPOSES
Moment Of Surrender (episodes one and two)
Written by Ed Whitmore, Directed by Charles Palmer
When Nikki’s (Emilia Fox) pathologist friend Sally Vaughn (Emma Fielding) disappears, suspicion falls on her colleague, David Cannon (Julian Rhind-Tutt), who is invited to work at the Lyell while police investigate Sally’s disappearance. Nikki is tasked with keeping close watch over his movements as his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic.

Duty Of Candour (episodes three and four)
Written by Matthew Arlidge, Directed by Destiny Ekaragha
A series of tragic events are linked to the hacking of a hospital database and the subsequent blackmailing of patients in return for silence over their guilty secrets.

A Special Relationship (episodes five and six)
Written by Graham Mitchell, Directed by Diarmuid Goggins
A US Diplomat is shot dead in a central London square, forcing Nikki (Emilia Fox), Jack (David Caves), Clarissa (Liz Carr) and Thomas (Richard Lintern) to work closely with the Embassy and the FBI to overcome jurisdictional hurdles.

One Day (episodes seven and eight)
Written by Timothy Prager, Directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan
A road traffic accident leads to the Lyell team uncovering a large number of abuse cases in a group of homes providing assisted living to those with disabilities. The team – Clarissa in particular – has to fight not only for justice but against prejudice and discrimination.

Family (episodes nine and ten)
Written by Michael Crompton, Directed by Colin Teague
It’s Christmas morning and Nikki, Jack, Thomas and Clarissa are just settling down for their respective festive celebrations when they are interrupted by a call-out to a family home – and the horrific aftermath of a shooting spree.

INTERVIEW WITH EMILIA FOX

What stories can we expect from this series of Silent Witness?
The series opens with an episode written by Ed Whitmore, which deals with what’s happened to the Lyell team in the aftermath of Nikki and Jack’s return from Mexico, where they thought Nikki had been buried alive.

Nikki is desperate to return to work and becomes involved in the case of a missing colleague, where the main suspect, David Cannon [Julian Rhind-Tutt] is invited to work at the Lyell so that the authorities can keep him under surveillance. The episode turns into a cat-and-mouse thriller between Nikki and David: she thinks he is guilty, but can’t be totally certain because she is still affected by paranoia and trauma following her experience in Mexico.

While the Silent Witness stories normally stand alone in a series, we do have some continuity for the regulars to follow (dealing with the events that happened in Mexico). Each crime story still takes the regulars into a different world. The second episode explores an extremely topical subject – the tragic events linked to the hacking of a hospital database and subsequent blackmailing of the patients. The third episode is a whodunnit about the shooting of a US diplomat in London and how the Lyell team have to work with the U.S. Embassy and FBI to overcome jurisdictional hurdles. It is about the special relationship between the UK and the U.S and it also becomes a love story!

Clarissa leads the fourth episode, which starts with a road traffic accident that leads to the team uncovering abuse cases in a home that provides assisted living to those with disabilities and it results in the team fighting for justice and against prejudice and discrimination. It’s great to have Charlie Creed Miles in the series and it introduces two new actors Rosie Jones and Toby Friedman. This episode is massively important to the series because the audience have long requested to see Clarissa more involved in storylines and Tim Prager, who writes many of our issue-led storylines, has championed this as an important and relevant subject for Silent Witness to explore.

The last episodes complete the arc of where the series began. The episodes are called Family, which is an action-led episode and focuses on the complicated family who the case is about, but also sees the team find their way back to each other. You see each of them independent of each other at Christmas and yet brought together by the mystery and crime they try to solve, which I think is really the heart of Silent Witness.

How is Nikki recovering after her experience in Mexico?
After thinking she was going to die, Nikki’s realised that she’s been given a second chance to live and appreciate life – I thought it was essential to refer to that. She is eager to start work and return to normal, but she is being told to stay away from work and Jack won’t return her calls and is distancing himself from her because of his guilt at not being able to save her. This leaves Nikki feeling purposeless and isolated from the Lyell team family. This series explores Nikki post trauma, feeling very unsettled and alone with this vulnerability. She is paranoid and still having flashbacks from Mexico.

Tell us about Nikki’s new love interest Matt Garcia (played by Michael Landes)
In this series you see Nikki begin a relationship with the U.S. ambassador to London, Matt Garcia, who is played by Michael Landes. It is significant for many reasons, most of all because it is the first proper relationship we have seen her in for many years – particularly since Harry, with their will they/won’t they relationship. You see Nikki want to commit to a relationship at last and it is in the aftermath of looking at life and her relationships post what happened to her in Mexico. It also enables Nikki to move forward from the trauma and to finally find happiness in her personal life. Who knows for how long it will be, but it was lovely to play Nikki having something to smile about again.

Last year was the series’ 20th anniversary. Were you happy with the reaction from fans, particularly to the Mexico episodes?
Last year was such an exciting milestone for Silent Witness, and it was an absolute joy to hear about people’s reaction to the series and particularly to the last episode where the audience seemed to care about what happened to Nikki. I care about the series so much and it is the absolute best when you know that the audience are enjoying it too – they are who we make it for. It made it even more of a pleasure to come back for series 21, to see what happens to Nikki and the rest of the Lyell team and to get involved with some more cases that I always find fascinating, both personally and professionally.

Tell us about the guest stars of this series.
One of the joys of Silent Witness is getting to make five two-hour films each series, which means we get to go into five different worlds, where the bodies and cases take us, and it means we get to work with five different guest casts.

This series opens with a fantastic cast including Julian Rhind Tutt and Emma Fielding, both of whom I have worked with on plays; Pippa Bennett Warner, Pete Sullivan, Alex MacQueen, Susannah Fielding, David Bamber, Kelly Hunter and Alan David to name a few! We have Neil Stuke coming back in the last episode to reprise his role as Detective Cooke from a few series ago. We have amazing actors like Michael Landes, Elliot Levy, Sharon D Clarke, Charlie Creed Miles, Nitin Ganatra, Ian Burfield, Natasha Little, Tanya Franks, T’Nia Miller, Alex Price, Simon Bond and Douglas Fielding. We also see new faces like Rosie Jones, Toby Friedman, Kiza Deen, Grace Hogg-Robinson, Dino Kelly and Tom Hanson.

I don’t want to miss anyone out, but we are always so lucky to work with such great casts and it is always such a delight when actors want to come back again.

Is there a particular story from this series you enjoyed bringing to the screen?
I really enjoyed playing the cat-and-mouse scenes with Julian Rhind-Tutt in episode one, and the therapy scenes in the second episode which I found emotionally challenging. There were fun and surprising scenes to play between Nikki and Matt in episode three (and maybe later too – I don’t want to spoil anything!)

The final episodes had some challenging action scenes to play and I worked with an amazing horse – I genuinely sobbed my heart out because the horse was so good at acting! Most of all I love being back with the regulars Liz, David and Richard, and any scenes that we get to play together are probably my favourite.

INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD LINTERN

What stories can we expect from this series of Silent Witness?
This year’s Silent Witness has an amazing range of exciting stories which will take us into the minds of some highly dangerous individuals, malevolent organisations and even into the exalted arena of the American Embassy in London. Families will be torn apart, a care home appears to offer danger instead of refuge, and a highly complex data theft leads to deception and ultimately murder. As always, the body in post mortem at the Lyell speaks volumes and leads the police investigation in thrilling and unexpected ways.

We see Thomas’s daughter appear for the first time, what can you tell us about her?
Rosie is a teenage girl whose parents have separated. She comes with all the complex emotional baggage that any teenager has, and then some more on top. She’s difficult, loving, vulnerable and hard as nails all at the same time. She’s a great character who bursts unexpectedly into life at the Lyell, which challenges Thomas to cope with an emotional firestorm in addition to his work on a complex investigation. Behind all her actions is a young girl looking to her dad for his love and attention.

Do you think it’s important that Silent Witness continues to portray topical storylines?
Silent Witness goes wherever the great stories are hiding. Sometimes that takes us into the mind of a serial killer, sometimes into the heart of a social issue. The vital thing for us is how the team at the Lyell react to the forensic discoveries that they make, and how they assist the police in bringing the criminals to justice. However, the show has never shied away from dealing with topical storylines and this year is certainly no exception.

Is Thomas surprised to see Nikki back at the Lyell so soon after Mexico?
Thomas is delighted to see Nikki alive and well and back in England. Like the rest of the team, he’s concerned that her professionalism and sense of duty have brought her back to work too early after the trauma of Mexico. However, he’s wise enough to know that she doesn’t respond well to being told what to do!

What qualities do you think each member of the team each brings to the Lyell?
All great teams add up to more than the sum of their parts and the Lyell centre is no exception. Thomas is in charge, and when necessary can lead from the front with assurance and power. Clarissa is a genius for looking sideways at forensic detail and coming up with ideas no-one else had considered. She is unflappable and tough, and combines her forensic expertise with a dark wit. Clarissa and Thomas carry out a lot of the forensic study at the Lyell Centre itself. Mostly, their role is to facilitate and analyse Nikki and Jack’s investigative forensic work and to coordinate the police response from a forensic standpoint.

Nikki and Jack can be relied on for persistence, their pursuit of the facts and their second-to-none forensic experience. Jack has a fearless approach to the darker side of police investigations and Nikki combines a similar strength with an understanding of the emotional impact of the crimes being looked into.

INTERVIEW WITH DAVID CAVES

How is Jack coping after his experiences in Mexico?
To begin with, he’s not coping very well. He is feeling low and guilty because he could not save Nikki. This causes some tension between them. He is shy and awkward around her and can barely look her in the eye. He feels he failed her. He tries to distance himself from her because he feels so useless and it’s unbearable for him. She tries to reach him but he’s emotionally unavailable.

Jack appears to have a love interest in one block this series, what can you tell us about her?
He works closely with a detective on a case and there is an attraction. They flirt a bit but mainly enjoy working together.

Jack is also back boxing this series. Was that fun to film?
We see him training himself and someone else in the gym. He does mixed martial arts and boxing is definitely a part of that, but by no means it all. Actors generally love the physical stuff because it’s immediately dynamic and you have a very strong, simple action to play. For example, my fist must connect with this punch bag, or I must get this series of moves right with my partner in the scene. It’s always great to film. Plus, it’s so integral to who Jack is. Fighters have a very particular mindset and discipline which I love to get into when playing the part. He’s a doer and I like that he gets stuff done.

Are there any episodes you are particularly looking forward to watching this series?
All of them but especially One Day, which takes place in and around two care homes and feature Clarissa and Jack in a big way. We get more of a glimpse into their relationship and I think it’s a fantastic story. People might be shocked but hopefully impressed that we tackled the difficult subject matter head-on. Liz is outstanding in it.

INTERVIEW WITH LIZ CARR

Are there any stories this series you are particularly proud to be telling?
There is a block called One Day that are episodes we’ve been trying to make for a long time – particularly by myself and the writer Tim Prager who introduced Clarissa and Jack into Silent Witness six series ago. The subject is close to both of our hearts, which is disability hate crime. In the five years since Tim first pitched this theme it has, upsettingly, only become more prevalent. It’s a story that hasn’t been told on TV before and to be part of this has been a great honour. I’m immensely proud of the resulting episodes and hope it both entertains and provokes discussion when it’s aired.

Is Clarissa surprised to see Nikki back at the Lyell so soon after Mexico?
Clarissa obviously worries about Nikki, knowing she’s been through such a life-changing time in Mexico, but she isn’t a sentimental person. She’s a pragmatist who realises that people heal and deal with trauma in their own way. I think she’s initially surprised but ultimately knows that coming back to work is a very Nikki thing to do.

Max is back this series! Did you find there was a good reaction from fans when they found more about Clarissa’s personal life?
This time last year I was really eager to see what the audience would think of Clarissa’s husband, not least because I’d played a part in the writing and casting of Dan Weyman as Max. I really hoped we’d got it right as it was important to me to show a disabled woman in a good, long term, loving relationship, which is something we don’t see enough of on TV and something I never saw on screen when I was growing up. I’m thrilled Max is back and equally thrilled the audience seemed to approve of the other man in Clarissa’s life!

What qualities do you think each member of the team each brings to the Lyell unit?
Nikki has so much heart. Perhaps too much at times, but her keen sense of justice and her integrity and humanity make her strong and vulnerable in equal measure. Jack is brilliant at his job, single minded, and whilst he doesn’t suffer fools gladly he is intensely loyal to those he respects. Thomas’s mind is sharp with necessary diplomacy and has a strong faith in his team even if he doesn’t always approve of their methods or actions. Clarissa has intelligence, common sense and a down-to-earth sense of humour which are integral to how she does her job and how she lives her life.

Last year was Silent Witness’s 20th Anniversary. Were you happy with the reaction from fans, particularly to the Mexico episodes?
More than ever, I get stopped in the street with people desperate to know if Nikki survived Mexico, if there will be another series, if anyone be killed off and if will there be more Clarissa. Viewers are so invested in the characters and the stories. It’s always fun being able to reassure them that Nikki survived, that there’ll be another series and that there will more Clarissa than ever before in this series. However, as for anyone being killed off, I couldn’t possibly comment!

DANCING ON ICE: INTERVIEWS WITH THE HOSTS, ICE PANELS & CONTESTANTS 40

Dancing on Ice will skate back onto screens as it makes a triumphant return to ITV in 2018

Legendary skating duo Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean will be reunited with original hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on the show that sees celebrity skaters take to the ice in a bid to dance and dazzle their way to glory.

With a brand new cast of celebrities plucked from the world of TV, music and showbiz, a refreshed line up of skating professionals, a spectacular new set, and more ambitious routines than ever before, the show’s revival will prove unmissable event television.

Torvill and Dean will both sit on a revamped ice panel alongside the formidable Jason Gardiner and choreographer extraordinare Ashley Banjo. ITV Racing’s Matt Chapman will commentate.

Having originally run on ITV between 2006 and 2014, the series pairs famous faces alongside professional skaters, who each week perform in a bid to impress both the panel and the viewers at home.

The full line up of celebrity skaters and their professional partners is as follows:

Donna Air and Mark Hanretty
Cheryl Baker and Dan Whiston
Alex Beresford and Brianne Delcourt
Candice Brown and Matt Evers
Kem Cetinay and Alex Murphy
Antony Cotton and Brandee Malto
Max Evans and Ale Izquierdo
Lemar and Melody Le Moal
Jake Quickenden and Vanessa Bauer
Perri Shakes-Drayton and Hamish Gaman
Brooke Vincent and Matej Silecky
Stephanie Waring and Sylvain Longchambon

INTERVIEW WITH PRESENTERS HOLLY WILLOUGHBY & PHILLIP SCHOFIELD

Wow! It’s back! How excited are you both feeling?
Holly: I can’t wait! There have been rumours the show was coming back for a couple of years and I was asked if I’d be interested if it were and obviously it was that bite your hand off kind of thing! Now it is, everyone does feel it is the right time to bring back DOI.
Phillip: It is the right time. It definitely needed a break. We had broken most of the people who would have done it! We had to hatch some more celebrities to break because it is so hard. But it is not a case of bringing it back – it is a reboot. The team we have got in place is brilliant and it is a whole new show. Yes it has ice in the centre of it and there is a competition but it will look and feel different. There is a new studio, Jayne and Chris are on the panel and that frees up our professional dancers to choreograph. They will choreograph the routines; they will be working on ensemble stuff, which you never saw before. Jayne and Chris always did the skating and the pros were the supporting cast. But now they are the stars of the show and that’s exciting.

And thanks to Dancing on Ice, you’ve formed an incredible TV presenting partnership. You first started working together on the show didn’t you…?
Phillip: Dancing on Ice is what started it all off. It was the first time we worked together. We had such fun on DOI that when the position became vacant on This Morning, I said ‘Holly is the only person I want. If I can’t have her I am not playing’.

Have you missed doing the show – particularly you Phil?
Phillip: Yes you always miss doing a big show like DOI especially during the first winter off. But what I loved is it finished with great dignity. I was so proud of the last show. It was a beautiful show. I do always think it’s a bad idea to cancel anything. If you cancel something, it can’t come back. If you rest it then it can come back. If I were a TV exec, I’d never cancel anything! I would rest everything!

Holly is it nice for you to be returning to the series?
Holly: Definitely. What is really nice is I have found a new appreciation for this kind of show (which I love) since having the kids. It is exactly the type of show we sit and watch as a family. We love Strictly, The X Factor and we love sitting there watching those big family event TV moments. It is nice my children are now old enough to come and watch and enjoy DOI.

Do you feel there has been a gap in the Sunday night TV viewing schedule?
Holly: Yes, especially January!
Phillip: That’s the lovely thing about it. DOI runs after Christmas and you are ready for it.

Jayne and Chris are going to be head judges. Do you think they are going to surprise people?
Holly: I think so. Before this, we saw them bringing a lot of camaraderie to the set, they were the shoulder to lean on and they were brilliant at it. But what you don’t see and know is how much knowledge they have of the sport. To see this side of them is going to be good. It’s going to be great to hear their opinions.
Phillip: They are both very lovely people and so I think they will be constructive and helpful. There isn’t a mean streak in either of them. They will be supportive but they will also spot everything. There is nothing you can hide from them.

And there’s the arrival of Ashley, the dance guru…
Holly: The blend is really good. And also the thing about Jason being on the panel, too, is you may go ‘OMG that was a bit mean’ but he used to get the biggest change out of them! He might say ‘the shape of your arms is looking like a tree’, but then the next week they would have graceful, beautiful dancer arms.
Phillip: We have got a great balance on the panel. We’ve got two of our best skaters and the backbone of DOI. Without them, we wouldn’t have got the show off on telly in the first place. Ashley is fantastic with dance choreography, he’s a super guy.

Jason can be very honest can’t he?
Phillip: Occasionally he needs to turn the hit button off but I love it. When people boo and he says something and everyone goes ‘OMG’, it just makes me laugh.
Holly: People know what Jason is like now. If it was me and he was critiquing me, I would be disappointed if he didn’t say something like that! You want him to do a Jason on you!
Phillip: It’s like Craig Revel Horwood, Paul Hollywood, Simon Cowell – there is always someone. I know they will want to impress Jayne and Chris but with Jason, they always look to him to see what he is going to say. If he says something nice, you see their shoulders relax a bit. They want to impress them.

Do you think DOI is the hardest reality show?
Holly: It’s up there. You can seriously hurt yourself.
Phillip: There is no question it is tough. There is the combination of skill and danger.

Lets talk generally about the contestants. Do you think the actors will have an advantage when it comes to performing?
Holly: I think it will help. That is their skill.
Phillip: Antony Cotton will be fun.
Holly: And he’s got the relationship with Jason!
Phillip: He said ‘if Jason hits me with anything I am going to have a go right back at him’ and I thought ‘OMG That is not a good idea’! Hopefully they might be quite fiery! Brooke will be good. She could be our Hayley Tamaddon.
Holly: Brooke was training before she even got on the ice. She has been hitting the gym, trying to get strong, as she knew with lifts, you needed a strong core. She is definitely taking it seriously

And the sports stars are going to be fit aren’t they?
Holly: Exactly, and they have the desire to win.
Phillip: And then you have got Kem. He is indestructible. He is mad for it, falling over, hitting the ground hard, having another go, he sounds like he has the one thing that is essential – he is fearless. If you do something like this, you don’t want the fear. Candice is also fantastic. She is one of the ones who surprised me the most that she would have a go.
Holly: They are all brave.

Are you envious of the celebrities taking part?
Phillip: I am envious when they are really good. But I am not envious of the hours and hours they put into it, falling over and that freezing cold moment when you are face down on the ice rink.
Holly: I remember the last time we did the show and the ice rinks had an unprecedented number of people coming in to join. It had this effect where people wanted to ice skate and that can only be a good thing.
Phillip: I went into an ice rink. The woman said ‘OMG because of you we have sold out of everything”. And I replied ‘that’s a bad thing?!’

Do you think this year’s DOI could be bigger and better?
Phillip: The whole set is different, the way the show is being done is different and there are big screens with great projection onto the ice. That’s going to be amazing.

What are you most looking forward to?
Holly: Seeing the celebrities on the ice for the first time. You get a gauge of what standard they are at. There are so many things I am looking forward to! I just want to be back!
Phillip: I am a bit of a geek. I want to see what the new graphics are like.

Holly, have you started planning your outfits?
Holly: I haven’t started shopping yet. I am looking forward to that. There are not many shows where you can really glam up. I am also looking forward to seeing what the skaters are wearing – that whole explosion of sequins, glitter and glamour especially in January when it is just dark and dreary

And Phil. Will you be buying new suits?!
Phillip: We are already talking about suits!
Holly: Every Monday morning, you will be covered in glitter.
Phillip: The one thing that drives me crazy is the glitter. You have to get used to it on DOI. You can’t have a glitter phobia, which I have! I can’t bear it. Why? If it gets on your hands and you can’t get it off or there is a piece on your face and they start picking at your face, it drives me mad.

Do you find it tiring doing DOI and then going straight to This Morning first thing Monday?
Phillip: It is only telly. You are not digging ditches or fixing people’s brains! It is great fun to do.

What has been the reaction like on the streets from the fans?
Phillip: There has been 100 per cent warmth towards the return.
Holly: People are excited.

And finally, who has been your favourite ever contestant?
Holly: I loved Ray Quinn. He was so amazing and a great skater. I kept thinking ‘you could have done this. Skating could have been your thing’.
Phillip: For me, it was Suzanne Shaw. She was a beautiful skater.

ICE PANEL INTERVIEWS

INTERVIEW WITH HEAD JUDGES JAYNE TORVILL & CHRISTOPHER DEAN

Wow! Dancing on Ice is back. What was your reaction when ITV first approached you?
Jayne: About a year ago we started having talks. We were secretly excited about it but we didn’t want to get too excited in case it didn’t happen! Now it obviously is, we are absolutely thrilled.
Chris: We are really excited. It’s nearly four years since we left and we were ready for a break when it finished – that’s for sure. But after a couple of years, our feet started to get itchy and when there was some suggestion of it coming back, we got really excited. When ITV asked if we would be part of it, of course we said we would!

Your feet got itchy. But did people in the street start to ask you to bring it back?
Jayne: So many people said to me ‘oh I wish DOI would come back’. I already knew it might be and kept saying ‘you never know’.
Chris: What’s great is the show is going to come back refreshed. There’s a whole load of new people working on it. The heart of the show is all about teaching celebrities to skate. It’s being refreshed with different people working on it.

Did you bring any ideas to the table to make it bigger and better?
Chris: Oh yes there are lots of little tweaks. I am so looking forward to it all. There is lots of nostalgia and freshness. I can’t wait for show time and getting back out there and showing off what skating can be about.
Jayne: The new look set will give it a fresh feel too. It will have a new look and it will feel different.
Chris: There are a lot of new professionals.
Jayne: Yes new skaters.
Chris: And really good judges!

It’s great you are going to both judge. Did you want to step away from teaching?
Jayne: ITV asked us to be judges. They wanted to change things around and they really wanted us to be head judges this time. We thought about it and thought ‘yes we never have judged before’.
Chris: We are the most qualified virgin judges there are!

What kind of judges are you going to be? Are you going to be harsh?
Chris: We are going to be honest and truthful. But at the same time, we know what is good, what is bad and what are smoke and mirrors! We will pull that out for sure. We want to do a good critique that helps the contestants move forward. We don’t want to put them down but tell them where they need to work on. Sometimes the truth might hurt but hopefully it will push them to do better things.

Will you mind if you are dubbed the new mean judges?!
Chris: No. If it’s what we see and think, that will be it. We aren’t going to be contrite. We are going to be who we are
Jayne: I agree. I am looking forward to it because for me personally, I will react on the spot and to what I see. I will be excited every Sunday to see what they are going to bring, what routines they have come up with – and hopefully feel excited.

And how will you feel if the audience boo you?!
Chris: We might be booed but I don’t feel we will have to explain ourselves! We are just telling it how we see it. You can be critical and give a critique. A critique is to find a positive but also explain what they can do better.

Everyone remembers Todd Carty. Will you laugh as judges when there are comedy moments?
Chris: Definitely. When everyone talks about DOI, you’ve got the talent of Ray Quinn, Hayley Tamaddon and Beth Tweddle in the past but then people go ‘our favourite was Todd Carty!’ It was a comedy gold moment.

Jason Gardiner is back on the panel. Are you pleased?
Jayne: It will be good to have him back. He did all the series bar one of the nine. It will be good to have him there.
Chris: Jason has his way of describing things. But in actual fact if you get beyond the acerbic, he’s quite on the mark.

Ashley brings a whole new dimension with his dance background with Diversity. Are you excited about him being on the judging panel too?
Jayne: It will be nice to have Ashley because he will look at things differently. He has a different take on things. He doesn’t claim to know an awful lot about skating but he knows so much about dance and the different styles of dancing. That will be fantastic.

It’s exciting you’ve got loads of new professionals too…
Jayne: The professionals will be doing all the choreography. We don’t know what we can expect from them yet.

Will the professionals perform?
Chris: There is going to be an opening number from the professionals most weeks. The professionals have got to form a bond with the celebrity to bring it together. There’s going to be pressure on them, not only to skate but also to bring the best out of the celebrities and what they are capable of.

So what are you looking for from the celebrities?
Chris: Talent. I think, first and foremost, we want to see someone who can skate. And then when they can skate, we want to see what they bring to it – the emotion, choreography, a neat originality, stability, strength, personality, performance and quality. All of those things are important to be a well-rounded skater.
Jayne: For me, the first thing I am going to look at is the skating ability – that they glide over the ice, they are in control because at this stage they should be all working on all the aspects. They should be working on forwards, backwards and the three turns because if they can do those well, then the professional is able to do a lot more with the choreography.
Chris: They have got to be able to move forwards, backwards and backwards to forwards. Then you start lifting and then you can start doing real choreography

Will you mind if someone who is very good finds themselves in the bottom two after the public vote?
Chris: The wonderful thing about the public vote is the fact that whoever captures the imagination of the public will get their momentum forward. That’s up to them how they make it happen. If they can skate and have a personality, they are on to a winner but if they can’t skate and have a personality, then it’s a whole different game in what they try to do

Let’s talk about this year’s contestants. Who are you most looking forward to?
Chris: It’s hard to say. We are not going to see any of them until the week before when we do a dry run. I am personally a big Coronation Street fan. And so I will be looking forward to watching Antony and Brooke. They can tread the cobbles but can they glide on the ice?!

And then there are the sports stars. Perri and Max?
Jayne: They are used to training and obviously they have competitiveness in them. They will be ones to watch.

There’s Jake, Cheryl and Lemar – all singers.
Jayne: If they can master their skating skills, they will be more confident performing.

Then there’s Stephanie who is an actress. Performance is key isn’t it?
Chris: Yes I think people who have been in front of the camera are going to have that ability to be a little less afraid. Having said that, you put someone on ice with the camera and sequins – that is something they are really apprehensive about.

Candice and Kem – the TV reality stars. For them, it’s completely different because they are so out of their comfort zone.
Chris: You never know! We have worked with people in the past where we have been surprised they can do it! Sometimes it is that natural gyroscope in your body to allow you to skate. Kem has got a larger than life personality too.

Donna and Alex could surprise everyone.
Chris: Absolutely. We are waiting to see ( just like everyone else) what they will be like. Skating is a skill to be learned.

Do you think DOI is tougher than other rival dancing shows?
Chris: Gosh yes. You’ve got to learn how to skate before you can dance on ice.

Holly is back presenting with Phillip! Are you looking forward to the original presenters being back together?
Jayne: Yes! DOI brought them together in the first place. It was the first time Phil and Holly had worked together. Since that time, they have worked together on This Morning and become household names as a duo. People see them together.
Chris: You get to that point where you know what the other one is thinking!

So as it gets closer to the return, have you got an extra spring in your step?
Chris: I think so. We are so looking forward to it coming back. We developed the show from its conception with ITV so we feel very close to it. We feel it’s a part of us and we would definitely have felt a little bit upset if we weren’t involved. Everyone has memories of past contestants and how it was. It always generates a warm feeling. People will hopefully come back to it wanting to watch it. And hopefully the return will be bigger and better!

What else are you both up to at the moment?
Chris: After the series finishes we take it on tour. We are excited about that. We haven’t hung up our skates yet!

And finally, do you think this programme works well for Sunday nights?
Chris: I think so. It’s the right time of the year. It’s a little bit gloomy, a little bit cold and so now Sunday nights are about cosying up and watching the sparkles of DOI!

INTERVIEW WITH RETURNING JUDGE JASON GARDINER

Are you excited about being back as a judge on Dancing on Ice?
I feel honoured that everybody is so happy about it returning and that they wanted me to come back as a judge. It is flattering. There has been such an overwhelming response from members of the public on Twitter. They’ve got in touch and sent such nice messages to me saying things like ‘the show wouldn’t be the same without you’ and that really does resonate. Many others have told me the show helps them get through winter and how much they look forward to it. That’s so lovely. Shows like Dancing on Ice bring families together. It is fun and entertaining.

Do you think now is the right time to bring it back?
I do think absence makes the heart grow fonder! Dancing on Ice is part of TV history and I feel so proud of its legacy. We all put a lot of work into making the programme brilliant.

So will you be as straight talking as ever?!
It’s how I am. I am not there to sugar coat anything. I am there to be a judge. I know I get tarred with the ‘Mr Nasty’ judge on this show but there always has to be a Mr Nasty – I get it. What I find interesting is many members of the public tell me that they like the fact I am straight down the middle and I keep it real. The celebrities who make it to the end say thank you to me. I feel really honoured they do. They work so hard and it is not an easy show to do. They come up to me and say ‘love or hate you, your comments, however hard they have been, have really motivated me to do better’. That is lovely. I am not there to state the obvious. What I am there to do is say how they can be better. People may have exception with the way I do that but there is a method to my meanness. I am a pussycat compared to half the people who trained me! Tough love does drive you to be better. It makes or breaks you. Some of them can take the criticism and improve whilst others get freaked out and crushed by it. Therefore it is goodbye to them.

What advice would you give to the celebrities listening to your comments?
I am telling the truth. If they are clever and they don’t let their egos get in the way, they will see what I am saying is actually going to help and not destroy them. I am fair. If you look at the history of the show, I always have kept it real. If someone really moves me then I will tell them they have done an amazing job. I will give the credit when they deserve it. But I am not going to sit there on week two and say ‘it’s great you are trying’. I am not there to judge whether they are trying because everybody is trying. It is whether or not they are delivering. I am very impartial and I don’t have favourites.

But do you mind being called Mr Nasty?
I find it lazy and really boring! I will be really disappointed if no one can come up with a different catchphrase for me. But I bet you any money that is not going to happen!

What would your catchphrase be?
It is not up to me. I am just a judge.

Are you delighted Jayne and Chris are going to be on the panel?
I love Jayne and Chris. I did this show initially because of Jayne and Chris. They are huge idols of mine and they are phenomenal. They are so dedicated and hard working. I like all that kind of stuff. It’s the same stock I come from. We get one another, they have the same level of perfection and discipline (as me) and it is all those things I find absolutely delicious about life. They are ice skating royalty. The panel is evenly divided this year between two incredibly experienced ice skaters and two incredibly experienced dance choreographers.

Who do you think this year’s runners and riders are?
I don’t want to cast any expectations on anyone or predict that a person is going to be better for one reason or another. We have to be impartial and for me, they all have to be on an even playing field. I want to see them all when the viewers do and when they do it live. That for me is so exciting. I don’t care what they have done, what they look like and who they are. For me it is what they deliver on ice in their routines. I am not there to judge their careers. I am there to judge what I see. That is my style and I am not changing it. If they don’t give me the goods, I will tell them why.

What are you most looking forward to?
I am excited about seeing what the set is going to look like and where we are going to be for the next ten weeks. I get excited about seeing how we can take people who have never skated or danced and watch how they grow and how they bloom. A lot of them won’t but the little gems that come along and light up the stage to create magic is fantastic. When I see they get it, I can’t wait to watch the show every week. I love that kind of magic. It is what I live for.

Do you like the comedy gold moments too?
For me personally, those kinds of moments don’t do anything. I understand why the public love it. But I like talent. I like to see things that are good. I like it when people are great. Mediocre is not what turns me on. I like surprises and I want to feel the magic. Then I am hooked. It’s a very tall order though to ask for!

INTERVIEW WITH NEW JUDGE ASHLEY BANJO

Now the return of Dancing on Ice is approaching, are you getting excited?
I am super excited. It’s such a classic show. It’s exciting to be part of anything as big as this and to be part of something that is SO legendary is a real honour.

You are a brilliant dance choreographer, but iceskating definitely isn’t your forte is it?
If it was an ice skating show only, I don’t think I could be a judge. Nor could I be a judge in the Olympics. I am not an ice skater. But this is not that. It is an entertainment show and it is dancing on ice.

It is all about creating a great performance. You have got Torvill and Dean on the panel and you can’t get any bigger expert than them!

How do you see your role?
My role is something different to the others. They know what they are looking for and they have been doing it for years. I am really looking forward to going in and looking for the creativity and invention. I know they have the skates on and they can glide but I want them to show me something that is different.

So what kind of things are you looking for?
I want to see beautiful movement and something that entertains me. Entertainment can come in so many forms whether that’s through the connection of a love story, comedy or drama. I am there to be drawn in from a performance. It will be based on what I feel. I have got the best seat in the house.

What kind of judge will you be?
I think I will be relatively tough. I am honest but I do think I am sound and fair.

I think in this show, I might come across tougher than I normally do because I am looking for the performance and the choreography. Yes sometimes it is good enough to get around the rink but I am judging a layer above that. I am looking at their strength and performance quality, which they can’t start worrying about until they

Do you think criticism is important?
One hundred per cent yes. I am there to be myself. I will always give my views and positive feedback but I want to be me. This is very important.

Will you mind if the audience boos you over a critique you have made?!
It is part of the show. It’s fun and it is entertainment. Everyone should be the best they can be. They should all take pride in what they do.

Do you have respect for the celebrities taking part?
I’ve got massive respect. A lot of people say ‘oh its just an entertainment show’ but they are going out there, learning a new skill and putting their body and mind on the line.

Are you looking forward to judging alongside Jayne and Chris?
They are legends. It makes complete sense to have people on the panel who are experts in their field. Jayne and Chris are the most qualified people in the world to sit on the panel. Jason doesn’t mince his words and he has great experience. I direct and I choreograph. It’s a great panel.

Do you think it will help contestants if they are used to performing?
Yes definitely because they are used to being in front of the camera and playing a character. But all that changes when you put a pair of skates on!

Are you expecting the sport star contestants to really go for it?
They are used to being competitive and putting their bodies through the physical onslaughts. They are used to training and the daily practice.

How do you feel the reality stars will do?
They have got an edge. The reason they are popular is because they are popular personalities. Kem is Kem because he is such a big personality and he brings a lot to the VT’s and performances.

Do you have any runners and riders yet?
That’s a really good question! I have not seen any of the celebrities yet and so I have no idea what their current ability is. Even though I know their names and careers, I have not seen them skate.

Can you believe how far you have come since winning Britain’s Got Talent?
We are so proud. We will be going on our tenth anniversary arena tour next year. We are consistently driven in what we do.

Would you ever follow your brother into the I’m a Celebrity jungle?!
No never! You have to have a certain mind set to go in there!

And finally, do you go ice-skating for pleasure?
I used to when I was younger. I own a pair of skates and blades. I love skating. I haven’t skated for a while but I can skate. I think judging on this show will inspire me. I can’t imagine going through this without going skating!

INTERVIEW WITH DONNA AIR (PARTNERED WITH MARK HANRETTY)

What is the biggest appeal about doing Dancing on Ice?
The sparkles! The costumes. And also getting fit and learning to ice skate. I’m really hoping I come out of the show with a six pack. And I might even get a bottom. It’s all to play for!

What is your biggest fear about doing the show?
My biggest fear is hurting myself because I’ve been in a situation before where I’ve hurt myself and not been able to walk. I broke both my ankles, so it’s added to my fear, but I have to put that out of my mind, because that alone could cause an accident. I just need to get my head into gear, which will happen when I get on the ice. I’m hoping I don’t snap on the ice because let’s face it I’ve got skinny little legs.

Have you skated before and how would you rank your skating ability?
I haven’t really skated. At Christmas I will often go to the rink with my daughter, but that’s about it. The last time we went skating my daughter said I needed one of those penguins that the children have. I’d like to get to being a 7/10 by the end of it, and to be honest I just want to get through it without having an accident.

As a dancer, are you usually first on the dance floor or last up?
I’m always first on the dance floor. I love dancing. But obviously without blades on the bottom of my feet. I absolutely love dancing, but being on ice is going to hurt. A whole different ball game.

Are you a naturally competitive person?
I would say no, but I’m going to really try to be competitive on this. My daughter burst out laughing when I said I wasn’t competitive. Maybe I am a bit more than I think, but I need to tap into my competitive edge more. I need to try to be more hungry for it.

What do you hope to get out of the show?
I really want to conquer my fear of hurting myself. I want to feel a sense of achievement for taking the challenge. It would be easy to not do it just because you’re scared. I want to feel I’ve thrown myself into the experience, and I’d like to come out of it being able to skate in one piece, feeling fitter and stronger.

Do you take criticism well and are you nervous about the judges’ comments?
I’m alright with criticism. Especially if It’s constructive, that’s an important part of life. The problem I have is I criticise myself more than anybody else so I can take criticism off other people because it’s never quite as harsh as the criticism I’ve given myself. I can be quite tough on myself.

The costumes are always a stand out part of the show – will you be embracing the lycra and sequins or does it fill you with dread?
I think if you’re doing a show like this, you have to embrace it. The team are already standing by with the spray tans, curlers, and lip gloss. And I say bring it on.

Who do you think your biggest supporters will be going into the show?
Loads of people hopefully. A lot of my girl friends will come down. My daughter and her friends will come along. A few of my friends from Newcastle will visit, as will of course my family and loved ones. I hopefully won’t be short on support.

Your weekends will be fairly hectic from now on – if you weren’t doing Dancing on Ice what would you be doing?
I’d be watching Dancing on Ice like everyone else. I would be at home laughing at people like me who are silly enough to do these shows. That’s what I like doing – I love watching ITV shows like I’m A Celebrity…I enjoy watching that from home, all comfy without bugs crawling over you. I love chilled weekends with my family at home, cooking, going to the park and doing simple chilled things. But that will all change for the next few months.

Do you have any other unfulfilled ambitions?
I would like to do more drama work again. I feel I’ve got more to give as an actress. I’m looking forward to doing some fun weekend TV, because I usually shy away from it. Actually it’s nice to go back to my roots, because it’s what I grew up doing. A lot of the stuff that I do work on is business focused so I’m looking forward to shaking it up and having fun. It will be good for me.

Do you enjoy exercise and getting fit?
I’m not the sort of person who would go to the gym or do squats or any kind of repetitive exercise. Hence I have no bottom or stomach muscles. If you give me something to do though, like ice skating or horse riding, that has my name all over it, because it’s an experience. I know though at some point I’m going to have to put in some gym work to do stabilising and core stuff.

Did you watch the show before and what is your favourite Dancing on Ice memory?
Jennifer Ellison and the blade in the head! That scared me. That in itself is a massive responsibility because I don’t want to cause anyone else any injury. Imagine how bad you would feel injuring your partner. So not only do I not want to harm myself but I don’t want my partner harmed. They are all very brave to take us on.

INTERVIEW WITH CHERYL BAKER (PARTNERED WITH DAN WHISTON)

What was the appeal of Dancing on Ice for you?
In reality, losing weight. But when I was in primary school I was obsessed with ice dancers because they looked so beautiful. And when I won a prize once, I chose an ice dancer picture book and it was pictures of beautiful dancers so I’ve always loved it, even before Torvill and Dean. I used to go on the ice with these iron straps onto your legs. The big appeal for me is to actually be doing it now

Have you done much skating before?
As a child, I used to go and put those leg braces on and just go around the ice like any beginner. I used to watch the people who could really ice dance and wish I was them, watching them spin. I just think it’s so beautiful. It’s more beautiful than ordinary dancing because your legs glide, it’s so much more fluid.

If you had to rate your skating ability now out of 10, what would it be?
0.5 now. By the end of the show, there’s no way I’d make a 10 but I’d love to get to a 6 or 7.

Have you got any fears about doing the show?
I broke an ankle years ago, jumping out of a plane as you do, so I’m fearful for my ankles. And also falling flat on my face and being an embarrassment to my kids.

As well as the skating side of things, this is also about dancing… how do you feel about that?
I love dancing. If I feel comfortable, I can be the first up on the dancefloor! I’m not a trained dancer but I think I have fairly good natural rhythm. I’m really looking forward to this show because of the fluidity of ice skating, plus dancing, it looks beautiful.

Are you a competitive person?
I am competitive but I am also a good loser and I am fully expecting to lose because I’m not as agile or fit as I was 40 years ago. I expect it to be won by someone who is young and supple, seriously, who is going to win at my age? But I would like to come somewhere in the middle.

Apart from new skills, what else are you looking to get out of the show?
I’m hoping to shape up. I saw Linda Lusardi after she did Dancing on Ice and she looked fantastic, all of her muscles were in the right place and she didn’t have an ounce of fat on her. She said it was because of Dancing on Ice. That workout, you’re not just dancing, you’re really using all of your muscles so I’m looking forward to toning my body up.

How do you feel about Judge comments and how well do you take criticism?
I’m fine, I can take it on the chin. I’m not competitive enough to worry about someone saying I did something wrong. It’ll be water off a duck’s back until you see my cry! I’m joking you won’t.

How are you feeling about the sequins and colourful costumes?
I love it! It’s every little girl’s dream, the only trouble is I wish I had the little girl’s figure again! After you have children and after you go through the menopause, all of a sudden you have no waist, I don’t know why. There is this thing that happens. You suddenly wake up after the menopause… I don’t need air, I don’t need breath, I just need them to squeeze my stomach in so I have some kind of shape. I’ve got boobs and I’ve got a bum, I just need a waist now

Who are going to be your biggest supporters while you are on the show?
My family, my twin daughters and my husband will be in the audience. Fizz and all of my mates from school will be supporting me, I still see them all. And all of the Fizz fans, they’ll be so excited I’m doing this.

Your weekends will be full on with Dancing on Ice now but what is a usual weekend like for you?
At the moment, gigging with The Fizz. Travelling around the country and working. If I’m at home and I’m not gigging on a Saturday, maybe I’d go shopping with my girls, do some gardening and in the evening all sit in, have a stir fry and watch some television. On Sunday, I might go for a run, I like to do 5 miles and then I’ll prepare the dinner. We always have a lovely big Sunday roast and if possible have friends over.

Are there any other ambitions that you still want to achieve?
It’s never going to happen. I wanted to play Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady and there comes a time in your career when you are just too old. My ambition was to win the Eurovision Song Contest so how lucky am I that I actually fulfilled my childhood ambition. I had two ambitions, one to win the Eurovision and one to win an Olympic gold medal. Winning the Eurovision is like winning an Olympic gold but for music so for me, I have fulfilled those. And now, it’s to see my kids do well.

Have you got any standout Dancing on Ice memories?
I remember watching my friend, Linda Lusardi. She was a model then an actress so who knew that she could dance on ice as well? And I don’t suppose she knew either so I thought it was amazing that she was as brilliant as she was.

INTERVIEW WITH ALEX BERESFORD (PARTNERED WITH BRIANNE DELCOURT)

What is the biggest appeal about doing Dancing on Ice?
Dancing on Ice was the show that I always wanted to do out of all of the reality shows. I actually phoned up one of the producers when it was on before and said I’d love to do it. So when I heard it was coming back, I got super excited. I’m over the moon that I’ve got this opportunity to do the show I’ve always wanted to do but there is a fine line between panic and excitement!

Have you got any skating experience?
I used to rate myself and think I could skate a little bit. I used to ice skate weekly when I was a lot younger in school, then I stopped and I’d only ice skate at Christmas when the ice rinks pop up. I usually do it on Good Morning Britain presenting the weather from the London ice rinks. Last time I did that, I fell over live on TV! I have been on the ice before but there is definitely room for improvement.

Have you got any fears about doing the show?
I guess the reality is that you could get hurt so obviously falling over on ice is not going to be comfortable. No one wants to get injured but at the same time I won’t hold myself back.

How do you rate your dancing skills?
I am not the first one up on the dance floor but when I’ve had a few drinks, I am 110% on the dance floor but I won’t be able to drink before the show! The dancing hopefully, I will be OK with. I’m hoping if I have a lack of rhythm, the skates will smooth that out.

Are you naturally competitive?
It’s going to be a great experience and I will make friends but in the back of my mind will be the fact that I’ll have to go up against somebody that I like at some point and potentially be the reason that someone has had to leave the show.

That won’t feel great because who wants to end someone’s experience? But there is no point in doing the show unless you are willing to be a bit competitive and try and be the best that you can be at something new

Apart from wanting to learn this new skill, what else are you looking to get out of the show?
It’ll just be great to be on a massive show which is going to be an incredible experience. The dancing aside, I know that I’m going to enjoy the friendships and entertainment side of it as well. Hopefully I can entertain a bit as well and do something that I don’t usually do. It’s going to be a completely different show for me. I’m used to live TV but live TV on ice is completely different! Stepping out on to the ice for the first time, live, that’s when I’ll either sink or swim.

How do you feel about performing for the Judges – do you take criticism well?
I think if they were being really critical about me I’d just try and laugh it off. But I’ll also take what they say seriously if it’s constructive criticism. I’ll take it on board and try and bite my tongue if they get nasty.

Are you ready for the sequins and lycra?
I feel quite comfortable about lycra. I go to the gym a fair bit so I do put on a bit of lycra from time to time. I don’t mind a splash of colour, in fact pink is one of my favourite colours. I’m used to the brighter colours, the glitz and glamour. I’m used to getting dressed up. The performing side of it will be fun, it’s a bit of theatre really isn’t it?

Who will your biggest supporters be while you’re on the show?
My family, they are all over the moon and looking forward to it. They’ll be just as nervous as I will be. The missus and my son are really excited about coming down to the show on weekends. In this industry, you can’t always share the experience with them but them being able to watch will be great.

It’ll be a new experience for all of us as I’ve never done anything like this before and they are along for the journey

Your weekends will be full on with Dancing on Ice from now on but what is a typical weekend for you usually?
My family home is in Bristol so on Fridays, I hotfoot it to Paddington and jump on the first train I can back to Bristol. I’m quite a home body and weekends are spent in the house. I couldn’t think of anything better than a Saturday evening, Chinese takeaway, bottle of wine, my little one running around and sat down and watching television, Strictly and The X Factor. I like to be home and cosy rather than being at a nightclub, I’ve left my raving days behind me and I’m ready to pick up the skates!

Have you got any other unfulfilled ambitions you would still like to achieve?
I just enjoy working in television and I don’t want to be boxed off as the weather guy, I know I can do more than just present the weather so I’d love to do other shows as well. It’s been a great experience and there are so many people that I look up to in this industry who are doing more than one thing. I’m looking forward to potential opportunities that could come from being in other people’s living rooms each weekend.

Have you got any stand out Dancing on Ice memories?
I remember Todd Carty, bless his cotton socks, trying to get himself around the ice rink. Then at the other end you’ve got Ray Quinn who when I found out I’d got this show, I naturally started to research clips on YouTube. He comes up very regularly online because he was amazing and I actually had to stop watching his videos because it does frighten you how good he was. He looked like a pro! I don’t know if anyone will ever be as good as he was, but I hope that I am. The competitive side of me says I can do this.

INTERVIEW WITH CANDICE BROWN (PARTNERED WITH MATT EVERS)

What is the appeal of Dancing on Ice for you?
Learning a new skill and taking on a challenge. I love sport and used to enjoy taking part in so many different sports and was ok at them but I would love to have been really good at one of them so the idea of being trained properly in such an amazing skill, I’m really excited about. I do like a challenge!

Have you got any fears about Dancing on Ice?
I think the main one is what everyone will say, falling on my bottom. Fear makes you practice doesn’t it, it was the same on Bake Off. I didn’t want to fail, so I practiced and you just have to hope you get a little bit of luck along the way. I’m looking forward to it more than anything.

Have you skated much before?
I skated a bit when I was younger and my mum and dad used to take us to Scotland and we’d go ice-skating or skiing and then a few years ago, I went with the girls but then we’d end up at the pub about half an hour later… I can stand up, I can move and I can stop and last time I went I didn’t land on my bottom so that is positive. I’d put myself at about a 3 or a 4 out of 10 at the moment – there is definitely room for improvement and more learning, learning, learning!

How do you feel about the dancing part of Dancing on Ice?
I’m a great jumper, I can jump really well! I have no fear of looking silly, I do that most days so I love to have a bop but I’m definitely more of a bop and a shuffler. It’ll be interesting to see how I get on with the choreography side of things, having to learn that. I can’t wait to fully get involved in it and start taking on a different character and become someone different each week, hopefully. I love a good dance and I love a good shake!

You have some experience of being in a competition from Bake Off – are you very competitive?
With Bake Off we had to be reminded that it was a competition because we all got on so well and we all helped each other

I don’t have it in my nature to wish something would go wrong or badly for someone else because that is not how I think. At the end of the day it is a competition and you get into it because you would like to progress but I can’t think too much past the first week yet. Naturally I am competitive. I love sport, I used to play a lot and I love watching it now. I think I’m passionate more than competitive but of course I would like to do well!

What are you hoping to get out of Dancing on Ice?
Just being able to say that I did it. That’s a big one for me. I want to raise my confidence in another area, push myself and say, ‘Yes I did that!’ Also I can’t wait to meet all of the different people, meeting the other celebs competing on the show and the people backstage, and get my hair and make-up done. I can’t wait to get into those sequins and sparkles. I want everything, if you’ve got an idea let’s do it. I’m quite happy to do everything and surprise people. I can’t wait for the whole experience; it’s going to be like nothing I’ve ever done before.

How do you feel about the lycra and the sequins?
I am so ready to embrace it. I want all the lipsticks, I want all the feathers, I want all the sequins. I love getting dressed up so this is getting dressed up and then some so I’m looking forward to that and the creative side and being able to ask 101 questions to learn all about it. ‘How big a wig can I wear?’ for example!

Do you take criticism well – how do you feel about performing for judges?
I like asking questions – what can I do to improve and get better? And it was the same on Bake Off, I wanted to know why something had gone wrong, what they would have done differently and how I could have improved. I like to learn new things and I want to know about it. That constructive side of criticism is so important and I will take their feedback on board because I will want to progress. I don’t know what I’m doing so if someone is telling me ‘you need to do this to get better’ then I will.

Who will your biggest supporters be while you are on the show?
My biggest supporters will be my friends and my family, my other half Liam has always been my biggest cheerleader. He has been amazing from the moment we met. My mum and dad are incredible and my brother and sister. Then you’ve got the extended family. And then my friends, they’re all amazing and have been a real support through lots of things. I’m very lucky to have an incredible group of friends and family who will probably laugh at me, cry with me, pick me up and dust me down and hopefully vote lots. They’ll be there every week hopefully

Your weekends will be full on with Dancing on Ice from now but what is a typical weekend for you?
At the moment it is baking shows or demos all over the country. Recipe developing as well and writing. A lot of it surrounds baking, it’s very rare I’ll have a day where baking isn’t involved. Then it’s time with Liam and the dogs. It’s a very different life at the moment, to a year ago, but it’s amazing. And always food related!

Have you got any other ambitions you want to fulfil?
I am ambitious but ambitions were never anywhere linked to anything like this because it’s so unexpected. Anything that has happened to me in the last 18 months has been so unexpected. I never expected to get on The Great British Bake Off, I didn’t expect to win and I didn’t expect any of this. When opportunities arise like this, I’m like ‘Yes, I’m going to run with this and do the best I can!’ I just want to keep taking opportunities because I’m very aware it could go too. I’ve always said for many years I’d like a little cake shop, nothing big or fancy so at some point, there might be one of those.

Do you have any stand out Dancing on Ice memories?
Hayley Tammadon when she did ‘Jai Ho.’ My goodness, I think I’m just going to have to try and channel all of that because it was absolutely incredible. Everyone is really different and has been, people like Ray Quinn doing that jumping split when he won. I want to do that! But the massive stand out moment was Hayley’s ‘Jai Ho’ it was just perfect, spectacular!

INTERVIEW WITH KEM CETINAY (PARTNERED WITH ALEX MURPHY)

What is the biggest appeal about doing Dancing on Ice?
I’m a very competitive person, and I’ve always been into my sports, so it’s a chance to work towards something. I might not be amazing at first but I can keep training and getting better. My family have always loved the show as well, so it was something that really excited me.

What is your biggest fear about doing the show?
Trying to lift my partner, but falling over and hurting myself and her. I’m quite small so I need to have a small partner, otherwise I won’t be able to lift them. Imagine lifting someone and trying to skate? Surely you fall over. And then if I fall over, what do I do? Do I get up? Do I carry on? Do I just lay on the floor on the ice?

Have you skated before and how would you rank your skating ability?
I have been on an ice rink before with my friends, but not in a very long time. I’ve just been on and fallen down a few times and that’s about it. I want to be as good as I can be. I am going to put everything I can into it and take it very seriously in terms of my diet and training. It’s not about where I come in the show, it’s about developing.

As a dancer, are you usually first on the dance floor or last up?
I am definitely up first. I think my dancing’s good; I’m just a bit eccentric with my dance moves. I’ll definitely be putting some moves into the skating

Are you a naturally competitive person?
I’m very competitive. I’ve played football semi pro all my life. For me, I’m not doing it to be at the bottom. It’s not about beating other people, it’s about doing it as well as I can and not finishing thinking ‘I could have done better.’ It’s a competition so I want to win.

What do you hope to get out of the show?
Just doing something that is out of my comfort zone. I want to push myself and do something really competitive, and hopefully see lots of progression. It will be fun, even though we are all up against each other, hopefully it will be one big family, like Love Island was.

Do you take criticism well and are you nervous about the judges’ comments?
I’m not very good at taking criticism, my mum and dad say. I’m getting better I think, but I’ll probably be a bit scared of the judges. If they give me criticism, I’ll stand there like a little boy being told off. But I’ll be working myself up, so if they give me criticism I will be going home and analysing it, trying to improve. So in some ways it will help me because it will make me more competitive.

The costumes are always a stand out part of the show – will you be embracing the lycra and sequins or does it fill you with dread?
I’m so extra it’s a joke! I want more colours, more sequins. I love that type of stuff. If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it properly. I don’t want to wear a basic outfit, I want to be over the top. That’s just the way I am.

Who do you think your biggest supporters will be going into the show?
Hopefully the Love Island fans, as they’ve already voted for me to win that show. So I’m hoping they really get behind me and push me through. Hopefully families and mums and dads as well, as the older generation who haven’t seen as much will hopefully like me and vote for me. My mum and dad will come down a lot and Chris said he’d come to as many as he could.

Your weekends will be fairly hectic from now on – if you weren’t doing Dancing on Ice what would you be doing?
I like to go for dinner, go for drinks, meet my friends, and have a good time. I like to socialise but on a Sunday I try to chill at home, watching films. I get loads of snacks and just chill and try not to overdo it.

Do you have any other unfulfilled ambitions?
I’d love to do presenting one day. When I’m ready for it. I see people like Rylan and I find him really interesting to watch as he is so his own character. I never thought I’d be doing Dancing on Ice and I’m excited about it, so whatever comes my way. Who knows? I could be a pilot, I’ve always wanted to be a pilot.

Did you watch the show before and what is your favourite Dancing on Ice memory?
Watching Todd Carty fall over. He flew down the tunnel. It was so funny.

INTERVIEW WITH ANTONY COTTON (PARTNERED WITH BRANDEE MALTO)

What is the biggest appeal about doing Dancing on Ice?
The most appealing thing genuinely is that I’m very competitive and that I enjoy a challenge. I’m most looking forward to the learning process; I’m a great believer that you never stop learning. I’m also a real company person. I love being part of the Coronation Street family. So hopefully this will be a new tribe of people for me to be part of. I know Samia and Sylvain very well, and Samia still skates as it’s part of her set up now – so who knows what will happen.

What is your biggest fear about doing the show?
It’s really dangerous. I’m glad that nobody has to pick me up, but the downside is I have to pick my partner up. I hope I don’t end up with a Russian shot putter as a partner! A 6ft Amazonian woman coming towards me! I want someone who is 3 foot, 3 stone that I can wing round. I’ve also got this weird fixation about slicing my fingers off. I don’t know why.

Have you skated before and how would you rank your skating ability?
I’ve done a spread eagle and I was told I had open hips. I’d say I’m a 1 now. I can go forwards, that’s about it. I’m somebody that goes skating in New York. I do like roller blading, I’ve done it a few times in Miami. I’m good at that, but ice is a whole other thing. But the end of the series, the competitive side of me would like to be a 10, but in reality I’m hoping for a 7.

As a dancer, are you usually first on the dance floor or last up?
I am really shy normally, and I’m often the last one on the dance floor. If I’m in a room purely full of friends and it’s all people I know, then I’ll absolutely get up and dance. When it’s not that, I’m the last person to get up and dance. I think I’ll enjoy all the showing off, apart from the three minutes dancing! All the skating, training, playing up to camera, laughing, I will love…

Are you a naturally competitive person? Do you think you and Brooke will have any rivalry?
I would never be competitive against Brooke as she’s like a little sister to me and I adore her. Everyone else I will be competitive with, but not Brooke. I’ll be the opposite with Brooke. I am my father’s son, my dad is the most competitive man. We’ll see what happens, but I am fiercely competitive.

Do you take criticism well and are you nervous about the judges’ comments?
No I don’t take criticism well, not in any way, shape or form. It’s not productive, it’s actually counter productive, and it doesn’t encourage you. Critiquing is slightly different. Luckily I’ve known Jason for many years – so we’ll see what happens. I know him, I adore him, but we’ll see what happens.

The costumes are always a stand out part of the show – will you be embracing the lycra and sequins or does it fill you with dread?
I will not be like Max Evans being photographed with no top on! I’m not going to be someone that’s fleshing loads of flesh but I’ve said officially if there’s space for a sequin, stick it on. I don’t want to be doing serious love dances, so I want my routines to be fun. If I’m doing Copacabana, I want ruffles…me doing this show is what it says on the tin. There’s no point me coming out all serious and smouldering. Fun, fun, fun, and I will embrace every sequin.

Who do you think your biggest supporters will be going into the show?
Everyone will become very familiar with my mum Enid. Everyone will know her. She’s officially the nicest person in the world. She’s just discovered social media in the past couple of years. She’ll be there every week.

Your weekends will be fairly hectic from now on – if you weren’t doing Dancing on Ice what would you be doing?
I’m lucky enough to have a house that can accommodate a few people and I always have friends round. That’s my favourite kind of weekend – having a house full of people.

Do you have any other unfulfilled ambitions?
I hate flying, I hate heights, and I hate enclosed spaces, but it doesn’t stop me from flying. If I don’t get on a plane I will never see the world. I jumped out of a helicopter in the jungle, which was the worst day of my life. I do a lot for Help the Heroes, who I’m an ambassador for, and I’ve just been asked if I will jump with the Red Devils. I’ve said yes. It’s not an ambition, but I suppose it’s considered an ambition. In a perverse way, I’m looking forward to it. But I can’t believe I’m saying that out loud! I’m also doing more writing, which is another ambition of mine.

Did you watch the show before and what is your favourite Dancing on Ice memory?
When Samia hurt herself, I was in the audience. I was sat next to her mum in the audience, and Samia was really upset backstage and didn’t want to go on. Her mum asked me to go and talk to her. So I ended up walking across the ice to speak to her. She needed a bit of a pep talk and that’s why I remember it, because it’s a nice memory of a friendship. So I technically have been on the ice. As a performance memory, it’s Hayley Tamaddon doing Jai Ho.

INTERVIEW WITH MAX EVANS (PARTNERED WITH ALE IZQUIERDO)

What is the biggest appeal about Dancing on Ice?
For me being a sportsman, to be able to train and become better at another sport is just huge. I’ve always considered myself to be a sporty guy, I’m sporty in a lot of things but I had no idea how to skate so I’m just massively excited. I think fitness is always going to help you no matter what but one thing I really need to work on is my flexibility and do some yoga, which is something I never really did when playing rugby, it was more about strength and power. I think I will need to get a bit more flexible though!

Have you skated much before?
Before my audition for the show, the last time I’d skated I was a kid, around 13 years old. I do have balance and I do have rhythm, I like dancing so hopefully I’ll pick up the skating but very limited experience. Based on how my audition went, I would say I am about a 5 now and by the end I’d like to be between an 8-10.

Do you have any fears about being on the show?
Surprisingly I have no fears about hurting myself, I’m used to that from the rugby. My biggest fear is I do not want to hurt my partner, that would be the worst because recently I watched the top 10 worst injuries on Dancing on Ice online. I don’t care about myself, I just don’t want to hurt my partner.

Dancing on Ice is about dancing as well as skating – how do you rate your dance moves?
I’ve grown up with a brother who, most would say, is the entertainer so I’ve had to keep up with him so I’m always up on the dancefloor fairly early trying to keep up with him. I’ve got no issue with dancing, I love dancing, I love all different types of music.

Are you naturally a competitive person?
Yes I’m massively competitive. I’ve got a brother very close in age and we’ve grown up competing in everything so I’m really competitive. No one wants to be the first one out but I definitely want to get more than half way through the competition, I want to try and win it.

Apart from the winning title and learning new skills, what else are you hoping to get out of Dancing on Ice?
I’ve been told, and I get the feeling that, Dancing on Ice is like a family atmosphere so it’ll be nice above everything to make new friends from different walks of life. I’m looking forward to meeting the other celebs involved, the pro-skaters and wider members of the team. I love people, meeting new people and hearing people’s stories so I’m looking forward to making new friends and having new experiences.

How do you feel about the Judges’ comments – do you take criticism well?
Yes. Without sounding too big headed, I haven’t been criticised too much in my life, I’ve been very fortunate so it might be something new to me if I’m having to deal with that. I take constructive criticism as a good thing, it’s only going to make me want to be better.

The lycra and sequins are also a big part of Dancing on Ice – how do you feel about the costumes?
I’m easy when it comes to stuff like that. I’ve got no issues, I actually prefer to be showing a bit more skin than not. The crazier and more colourful, the better! I’m looking forward to that part of it.

Who will be your biggest supporters while you’re on the show?
Obviously, hopefully, a lot of my old rugby team mates and rugby fans. Hopefully they’ll enjoy seeing this different side of me. I like to think maybe the ladies will be impressed by some of my dance moves!

Hopefully everyone will show support and get behind me. I couldn’t wait to tell my family – when my brother Thom was on Strictly Come Dancing, I couldn’t wait to go and watch him so he will be coming to watch me.

Your weekends are going to be really full on with Dancing on Ice now but what is a typical weekend for you?
Since retiring from rugby, it’s been nice not getting beaten up every weekend so weekends are a bit more chilled, I do a bit of work at rugby games, commentating and punditry but also I just enjoy the weekend, getting out. What has been great is that I can finally go to weddings, I missed so many playing rugby. I also like to keep fit and go to the gym and let my hair down a bit on nights out which I never did before.

Have you got any ambitions you still want to fulfil?
I am desperate to be a dad so I can’t wait to have kids. I’ve already been lucky to be good at a sport, one thing I always dreamed about was to inspire people. Another great thing about Dancing on Ice is that it is a family show and is about inspiring people as well because you can go from being a complete beginner not being very good at something, to getting better and improving and hopefully making it closer to the final. I want to keep inspiring people so I’ll be able to do that through this.

Have you got any stand out Dancing on Ice memories?
When I think of Dancing on Ice, I think to Kyran Bracken doing so well and going on to win it which has really inspired me and given me a lot of confidence that a rugby player has come before and gone on to do so well. Aside from that is the stupidity of watching all of the Dancing on Ice injuries. I’ll focus on Kieran winning it!

INTERVIEW WITH LEMAR (PARTNERED WITH MELODY LE MOAL)

Welcome to the show – how do you feel?
It’s exciting, it’s still daunting, things feel a bit real but it’s a lot of fun. I think I’m going to have a laugh, it’ll be good.

Tell us about your partner, Melody.
Melody is a lot of fun, we had an interesting first day on the ice and she definitely put me through my paces.

What is the biggest appeal for you to do Dancing on Ice?
Learning a new skill. I’ve been doing a lot of cycling this year. When I heard about Dancing on Ice’s big return, I thought it would be a good opportunity to get a new skill under my belt and see how well I can do.

Have you done any skating before?
No, I went ice-skating once when I was about nine or 10. Everyone I was with was older than me, my brothers and sister and friends and I was worried someone was going to go over my fingers with a blade so after that day, I never went back. It’s been interesting, my first steps on the ice were not encouraging in my opinion but I like learning things and pushing myself. This is definitely out of my comfort zone.

What is your biggest fear about doing the show?
The only thing that I’m afraid of is falling, breaking something or hurting myself seriously. I love my day job, I love singing and performing so I don’t want to get on the ice and break anything or damage anything!

As well as the skating, there is a dancing element to the show – what are you like as a dancer?
I have a musical background but I’d say I was more of a mover than a dancer. I’m not sure I gave the dancing as much thought when I signed up. Obviously once you start to train, you realise choreography whilst standing on the ice with no grip is totally different to what I am used to, so when you factor those things into the equation, learning to skate becomes even more difficult.

Are you competitive?
Yes definitely, I want to learn a new skill but in everything I do in life, I push myself to 100 per cent so whatever my 100 per cent is, I will be giving that. Hopefully it’ll see me through.

Apart from the winning title, what are you hoping to get out of the show?
Honestly, I want to have a good time, I want to have a laugh and have fun. Initially I was quite afraid of getting on the ice but I just want to keep getting better!

How do you feel about potential criticism from the Judges?
I take criticism well, it’s part of what I do. I am very hard on myself when it comes to music and pushing myself in that way. I am probably the most critical person, period, so I’m always up for constructive criticism and bettering myself. I don’t think that will be a problem. I just think the hardest thing is going to be the blades, that is what is proving to be most difficult at the moment. If I can master that then I think there is hope.

Will you be embracing the sequins and colourful costumes?
I’m not sure that comes first hand for me but it’s in keeping with the show and the fun vibe. It’s a bit of fun.

Who will be your biggest supporters while you’re on the show?
I’ve got two little ones who I reckon will be my biggest supporters. My family and friends.

From now on your weekends will be full on with Dancing on Ice but what would a typical weekend usually be like for you? I’m usually out performing somewhere so it’s a show of some sort and then I’ll be travelling. It’s always a weekend of work or studio, writing the songs. And of course I try to see my family as much as I can but usually at this time of year it’ll be filled with shows.

Have you got any other ambitions that you still really want to fulfil?
I’ve ticked most boxes. For me at the moment, in all areas of life, it’s just bettering myself and having experiences and moments to make memories. Dancing on Ice is a memory, a moment and an opportunity to learn something new so I intend to make the best of it.

Have you got any stand out Dancing on Ice memories?
I remember seeing Ray Quinn, he was a great skater! I caught his performances and routines. I think someone also performed to one of my songs, so I definitely watched that one. Whenever you see someone on ice who can actually skate, they move so gracefully and beautifully, you think ‘I want to do that!’ It’ll be interesting to see if eventually I can move the way I think I am moving in my head.

INTERVIEW WITH JAKE QUICKENDEN (PARTNERED WITH VANESSA BAUER)

What is the biggest appeal about doing Dancing on Ice?
Free ice skating! In Doncaster, it’s about £7.50 a go normally! And obviously to learn to dance. I’ve not done any skating before. When I was 13 or 14., I used to go to discos on a Thursday night where you would just go to skate after girls, but that was it! The last time I actually skated was about three of four years ago, just with mates. This is totally new.

What is your biggest fear about doing the show?
Kicking my partner in the head with the blade on my skate. It’s bad enough kicking someone in the head without one! I’m quite big and I think I need to become more elegant. I’m quite clumsy. I’ve got good coordination but I am clumsy. My legs are long. That’s my biggest worry – injuring my partner.

Growing up playing football, I’ve had so many injuries that I’m just used to it. Having no fear might help because I want to be someone that tries ambitious things like back flips. You have to get out of your comfort zone and not be afraid.

Maybe doing the jungle helped with that but I’ve always been out there and like throwing myself into things.

Have you skated before and how would you rank your skating ability?
I’d say I’m a five. I’m average. I can stand up on the ice and I can skate a bit. I want to get to a ten by the end – like the Mighty Ducks!

As a dancer, are you usually first on the dance floor or last up?
I used to be up on the dancefloor first – I would do dance offs at school. Since I turned 25, for some reason I just can’t dance like I used to. Even on The X Factor I didn’t really dance – it was very much slow love songs. I think I’ve got rhythm.

Are you a naturally competitive person?
100%, I’m very competitive. Every show I’ve done, I’ve wanted to win. I’m just planning to try hard, and do well, and if I win, I win. Even me and my brother get uber competitive over Fifa!

My whole family are competitive and growing up in a football background, when I lost I would spend two days in a bad mood.

What do you hope to get out of the show? Hopefully I will make some new friends, learn how to ice skate – it’s such a massive show. It’s always been me and my mum’s favourite show. The fact that I can do it and my mum’s always wanted me to be on it is enough to me. If I win though, even better!

Do you take criticism well and are you nervous about the judges’ comments?
Because I’m not an ice skater, any criticism I get I will take on board and take it as constructive and use it to become better the next week. I probably won’t argue back…probably! It was easier to argue back when I was judged on my singing, because I can sing. That was my thing and I had done it for years but this is a totally new skill, so whatever they tell me I’m going to take it on board and come back the week after better.

The costumes are always a stand out part of the show – will you be embracing the lycra and sequins or does it fill you with dread?
I’ve been walking around in my fiance Danielle’s tights for the last week, so I’m buzzing to do it. The more out there the better! Anything they give me, I’ll whack it on.

Who do you think your biggest supporters will be going into the show?
Probably Danielle and my family. My mates are never really that supportive. They will text me but they won’t be down there with pom poms. They will watch me on TV, and then tweet me afterwards. My family will be there every week, as will Danielle’s family. Carl will probably have a laugh at what I’m wearing.

Your weekends will be fairly hectic from now on – if you weren’t doing Dancing on Ice what would you be doing?
Going out or chilling with my family. I’m not much of a party animal anymore, so I’d rather stay in and go to Danielle’s mum and dad’s house or go and write some songs in the studio, and just try to keep busy.

Do you have any other unfulfilled ambitions?
I feel like this is such an amazing opportunity and I’m really happy about it. I count myself very lucky. Whatever I get out of this experience I will just take it and run with it. I would love to present my own TV show though.

Did you watch the show before and what is your favourite Dancing on Ice memory?
I think Ray Quinn, who is a friend of mine, was unbelievable. Chris Fountain did a spin and how he didn’t end up on the bottom of the ice from spinning so quickly was incredible. They are the kind of guys I am watching and thinking ‘if I can be anywhere near as good as they were, then I would be happy with what I get out of it.’ You don’t often get a professional coach to teach you to ice skate, so it’s pretty cool. Whatever I can get out of it, and if I can do some spins along the way, then I’ll be buzzing.

INTERVIEW WITH PERRI SHAKES-DRAYTON (PARTNERED WITH HAMISH GAMAN)

What appeals to you about Dancing on Ice?
The glitz and the glamour, that’s the one thing when I heard about the show, I thought, I want in.

Have you got any fears about the show?
Yes! I might forget the routine. It might get all too much for me and I might forget what I’m supposed to be doing but I’ve got a strategy for if that does happen… I’ll just smile to the camera.

Have you done any skating before?
When I was really young, I used to go ice skating with my cousins. So I can go forward and backwards, I’ve got the basics but it’ll be interesting to see how much I can improve my skating. I would rate myself as a 7 out of 10 at the moment. I want to be a 9 by the end. Well you want to be a 10 really. I’ve got the basics but there is room for improvement.

How do you feel about the dancing side of Dancing on Ice?
I love dancing. If I hear music, it’s got to be loud and I love a boogie. Dancing on Ice is going to be very different. Even in my audition I was a bit stiff! And you’ll be more cautious than just dancing on the dance floor. I don’t know if you’ll see my best dance moves on the ice but hopefully it’ll be some controlled movement.

Are you a competitive person?
Yes. No one wants to be kicked out early. Obviously I’m going to do my best to try and get as far into the show as I can. I will enjoy it, this is an experience that doesn’t come about all the time and it’ll be very different to what I usually compete in. My coach was a bit cautious about me coming on the show because I’ve had a knee injury previously, but I got told that I wouldn’t be able to run again but now I am and I’ve had no issues so far, I want to prove to myself and anyone who ever doubted me that I have been able to come back, race, win a silver medal at the World Championships and now do this show. I’ve not been put off by having an injury in the past, it is spurring me on more to prove I can do it. I injured myself running, you can hurt yourself anywhere. There is a team behind us that look after us and it’s a risk that I’m willing to take.

Apart from new skills, what else are you looking forward to getting out of the show?
I love being in front of the camera. Eventually, my career as an athlete will come to an end so I need to think about what will be my next path and I hope people will get to see another side of me. At the moment people see me on camera doing post-race interviews when I’m out of breath. But this time, I want people to see a bit more of my personality.

How do you feel about taking criticism and performing for Judges?
I don’t take criticism well, I really don’t. I will probably be rolling eyes. My running coach doesn’t criticise me, he is always really positive so this is going to be interesting to see how I react to it. It’s going to be something that I am not used it. I don’t like it. I’ve just got to be tough skinned.

How do you feel about the lycra and sequins?
I am going to be embracing it. Obviously I race and most of the time I’m in lycra but this is going to be a glammed up version. I’m looking forward to it all!

Who will be your biggest supporters when you are on the show?
My family. They will be coming down every week. They are already talking about getting t-shirts with my face on! It’s a show that we grew up watching and I always get asked if I’d like to do a TV show like this and so of course when I was asked, I was so excited. My fiancé as well has been pushing me to do it.

Your weekends will be full on with Dancing on Ice now but what is a typical weekend for you?
I’m always out and about, whether at an event or out for food or round my mums. I’ve always got something happening, whether it’s a christening or a birthday so I think I’ll be trying to rest a bit more as this is going to be full on.

Have you got any ambitions you still want to achieve?
I want to give back and inspire people in sport. I already go into schools and talk to kids but I am currently working on a website doing similar and I really want it to do well. Other than that, travel the world. I travel a lot as an athlete but you never get to see anything. I’ve got a list of places that I want to go.

Do you have any stand out Dancing on Ice memories?
I’ve been watching a lot of Beth Tweddle’s performances back. I’ve been watching a lot of her stuff as a fellow athlete. There is an elegance that I’ve felt being on the ice, it’s so beautiful to watch.

INTERVIEW WITH BROOKE VINCENT (PARTNERED WITH MATEJ SILECKY)

What is the biggest appeal for you to do Dancing on Ice?
Dancing on Ice for me is one of those shows where when I was a teenager, I’d watch with my nana, with my mum, thinking ‘I want to do that, it’d be so good to do, such a good experience.’

Why turn down this opportunity? It’s something new and fun and a massive challenge and then when it’s Christmas and ice rinks are open, I can do the head banger and no one will think anything of it.

Have you done any skating before?
I’ve been about three or four times but nothing to the point where I can move at any speed. I like to go and watch people fall over. Karma will get me back! On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best, I want to be a 10 by the end. I’m probably a 4. It’s my favourite number. I don’t think I’m horrendous but I’m definitely not the best yet.

What is your biggest fear about doing the show?
I haven’t really thought about fears. I don’t really think of fears when I agree to do things, I just think ‘yeah, let’s do it.’ Obviously the main one is being injured because nobody looks good with one shoe and a boot. I’m not really fearful of much else. Not in a cocky way, I just focus more on the positives.

As well as the skating, there is a dancing element to the show – what are you like as a dancer?
I’m going to have to learn to dance as well! I dance on a Saturday night, in the club, with the girls. Where you can bat off any awkwardness with a dance off and then I’ll get my drink or go to the toilet. I’m on that ice and I’m for all to see and I can’t professionally dance but I’m going to give it my best shot, definitely.

How competitive are you feeling?
Very! No, I’m not competitive until I know somebody wants to beat me, then I’m competitive. With my boyfriend, he wins most things that we compete at, bowling, golf, things like that I’m rubbish at and it doesn’t bother me. Until I know that he really wants to beat me then I really up my game. There is no point in doing it if you don’t want to win – I want to win!

Apart from the winning title, what are you hoping to get out of the show?
I’ve stopped smoking for the show so I’m not out of breath when they are telling me I’m getting scores of nine and ten! I’ve come on a journey with my fitness, not really drank, have been eating well, training and it’s been a lifestyle change for me. Dedicating this time to myself and to my body, it’s just a mega challenge for myself so I’d like to come away from it with some selfsatisfaction, saying well done and patting myself on the back.

How do you feel about potential criticism from the Judges?
I don’t want to cry, what if they say something horrible and I cry? I do take criticism well with anything whether it’s a scene at work, I like criticism and I like to know what I can improve. That’s going to be a massive thing for me, to take criticisms on board and go back the next week having improved. I will value what they say, they are the judges for a reason. So I’m going to take what they say and work on it and try and make it better.

Will you be embracing the sequins and colourful costumes?
I am very much a trainer, black jeans, black top kind of girl. I generally look like I’m going to a funeral most days but I’m going to embrace my inner Paris Hilton for this. I’m going to go with whatever they want to give me!

Who will be your biggest supporters while you’re on the show?
My mum and my boyfriend, they are obviously going to be my biggest fans. My family, I’ve got a lot of friends, a lot of the girls want to come and watch so I’m excited.

From now on your weekends will be full on with Dancing on Ice but what would a typical weekend usually be like for you?
I’d get up and I’d have a McDonalds breakfast. Then I’d go and see my nana and my grandad and then I’d get ready, go out with the girls that night. Then stay in bed all day Sunday in pyjamas, and eat McDonalds breakfast again. I’m quite normal. I’m excited because a change is as good as a rest, I’ll embrace change.

Have you got any other ambitions that you still really want to fulfil?
I’d love to have my own clothing company. No sequins. All black. I have such a passion for fashion and I like clothes, I love looking at clothes, I like buying clothes, I like buying other people clothes. I really want to do something with clothes.

Have you got any stand out Dancing on Ice memories?
My friend Hayley Tamaddon did Dancing on Ice and she did Pussycat Dolls, Jai Ho. She was amazing in it. It wasn’t until I watched that back that I realised how cool Dancing on Ice was. Watching other people back and seeing what is in store for me has made me really excited to get to it!

INTERVIEW WITH STEPHANIE WARING (PARTNERED WITH SYLVAIN LONGCHAMBON)

What is the biggest appeal about doing Dancing on Ice?
I really want to learn the skill. I really loved ice-skating when I was younger, and it was something I always wanted to do. I’m not a trained dancer, but to be able to put the two together and actually be good at it would be great.

What is your biggest fear about doing the show?
Falling, or misjudging a landing. I suppose that’s everybody’s fear isn’t it? It’s the fear of the unknown. But you have to trust. Have you skated before and how would you rank your skating ability? I’m not sure how good I’d be – I’d say average, maybe a 5. I can skate on two feet which is an achievement given I can’t walk in heels most of the time! I don’t know how I’ll be once the tricks and moves are thrown in. I’d like to get to a ten. I will learn, work hard, and aim to stay on two feet the whole time. And hopefully not hurt myself!

As a dancer, are you usually first on the dance floor or last up?
Get a Prosecco down me, and I’m Beyonce! I love dancing. I love to go out, and I love to dance. I’m not a trained dancer, I’ve never been to a dance class. I think I’ve got rhythm.

Are you a naturally competitive person? You are also following in the footsteps of other Hollyoaks stars…does that make you want to get further than they did?
I didn’t think I was, until I got this. But now I think I am. I want to do well. I will push myself. I’m not timid in that way where I think ‘I can’t do it.’ I’ll push myself to get the best result. In terms of my co-stars, Jorgie Porter is actually my favourite contestant of all time. I was mesmerised watching her. I would love to be as good as her. What do you hope to get out of the show? Just to do myself proud and complete the task in hand. I want to learn a new skill and do it well to the best of my ability. And hopefully to make some new friends as well. I want to make my kids proud, and my family and friends.

Do you take criticism well and are you nervous about the judges’ comments?
I don’t take criticism well. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m quite sensitive. I will try to take it on the chin but I do let negative comments bother me a bit. I tend to be a people pleaser. I will try to take it on board as constructive criticism. I don’t know how I will react to criticism. My blood might boil if I think it’s unfair or unnecessary, but I can be quite emotional as well. If something hurts. I won’t know until I’m in that situation.

The costumes are always a stand out part of the show – will you be embracing the lycra and sequins or does it fill you with dread?
I will absolutely embrace the sequins! I love dressing up, and I love glamorous clothes and sequins and I can’t wait to be a little doll.

Who do you think your biggest supporters will be going into the show?
The Hollyoaks fans, my kids, my cast members and my family and friends. I’m hoping the fans get right behind me – and any new fans I make along the way!

Your weekends will be fairly hectic from now on – if you weren’t doing Dancing on Ice what would you be doing?
A typical weekend is dinner, a few drinks, and then onto a late night bar. I’m not really a club sort of girl. But I like late night dancing. Or watching The X Factor with a Nandos. If I wasn’t doing this show I’d be sat at home watching it.

Do you have any other unfulfilled ambitions?
I like taking on new challenges, and for me this is a huge challenge, and it has become an ambition. I take anything that comes along. Hopefully being an actress will help me on this as well, in terms of connecting with the performance. Especially with music, you have to get involved with the lyrics and the message in the story.

Did you watch the show before and what is your favourite Dancing on Ice memory?
There are so many! I love the finals. Hayley Tamaddon’s Jai Ho, all of Jorgie Porter’s routines. Also Matt Wolfenden, he was amazing.

Are you doing the show to stay in shape?
Yes! I want a new bum. I’m doing this to get my bum lifted off the floor! I do yoga a lot to help with my flexibility and core and strength. I’m trying to put a few pounds on me as well because I know I’ll lose weight training. I want to get strong.