Dancing on Ice returns to our screens this Sunday (17 January), with 12 new celebrities donning skates for the first time.
Despite the country being in lockdown, the reality TV series is set to go ahead in 2021, ITV confirmed last week.
Filmed under coronavirus safety protocols, it will once again be presented by This Morning’s Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.
The judging panel remains unchanged from last year, with former professional skaters Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean – who have appeared on the show since it first began in 2006 – joined by Diversity’s Ashley Banjo and John Barrowman.
But who are the contestants hard in training before hitting the ice? Read on to find out...
First up and with a headstart on his fellow celebrities when it comes to experience with ice, we have former Olympic skier Graham Bell.
The 55-year-old competed for Britain along with his brother Martin in the 1980s and 1990s, representing Britain at five Winter Olympics. He eventually retired in 1998, when he became a commentator in skiing.
In recent years, Bell has branched out into more general sports commentating, presenting the BBC’s triathlon world championship coverage, as well as on the Tour de France for ITV.
However, despite his winter sports background, Bell insists that he’s just as scared to take part in Dancing on Ice as the other contestants.
“My biggest fear is dancing in front of millions of people,” he said. “Ice doesn’t scare me. I’m used to ice but dancing, proper dancing. Not just the kind that’s drunk on a table wearing ski boots – that’s not dancing… I have skated before but that’s only a third of it.”
He will be skating with Yebin Mok.
Coronation Street fans will likely recognise Faye Brookes as Kate Connor, a role she played from 2015 to 2019.
The Manchester-born actor won a National Television Award for her time on Corrie, but isn’t just known for her on-screen work.
In fact, Brookes, 33, trained in musical theatre at drama school and has appeared in stage productions of Grease, Shrek the Musical and Legally Blonde.
“My mum screamed when I told her and I said, ‘You’re more excited than when I got a job in the West End,’” Brooks said of her Dancing on Ice debut.
“I’m in it to win it. I’m not doing a competition for the sake of it. I’m in it because I want to absorb everything, learn this incredible new skill and I don’t want to waste it.”
She will be skating with Hamish Gaman.
Jason Donovan is a household name who rose to fame on Australian soap Neighbours alongside his “Especially for You” collaborator Kylie Minogue.
Throughout his music career, he sold three million records in the UK and has had four number one singles.
Like Brookes, Donovan has a history in musical theatre, having starred as the titular role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in the West End in 1991. In 2019, he returned to the production to play Pharaoh in the revival opposite newcomer Jac Yarrow.
Asked whether he’ll be donning some extravagant costumes for Dancing on Ice, the 52-year-old said: “Listen, I’ve done Priscilla Queen of The Desert for two years on stage. I was in The Rocky Horror Show. I wore a coat of many colours! This is positively toned down. I am more than comfortable with fantastic costumes.”
He will be skating with Alexandra Schauman.
Rufus Hound is no newbie when it comes to dancing, having won the 2013 Strictly Christmas Special and given an unforgettable performance impersonating Cheryl Cole during Let’s Dance for Sport Relief in 2010.
However, ice skating is a totally different story for the actor and comedian, who is best known for appearing on panel shows such as Celebrity Juice and his stage work with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Hound has admitted that his time on Dancing on Ice is largely financially driven after the coronavirus pandemic brought the theatre and comedy circuits to a close.
“I wouldn’t have done this show for love nor money had it not been for the fact that the entire world stopped and everything I do to earn a living doesn’t exist,” he said.
“I’m doing the show for money because I haven’t been able to earn any money and I have a mortgage and a family. That doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to it and it doesn’t mean I don’t want it to go well.”
He will be skating with Robin Johnstone.
A sprint and hurdling athlete, Colin Jackson CBE has held the 110m hurdles world record for over a decade and is still the world record holder in 60m hurdles.
Jackson also is a presenter for a variety of BBC programmes.
Jackson appeared on one-off special Dancing on Ice Goes Gold and is coming back for “unfinished business”.
“On that show we only had very limited time on the ice to try and learn a real skill,” he said. “Doing the actual show gives you far more time to actually hone something and to learn something properly, more in depth. It genuinely feels brand-new, brand-new partner and everything, so I’m excited.”
He will be skating with Klabera Komini.
A man of many talents, 27-year-old Sonny Jay first found fame as a member of Britain’s Got Talent band, the Loveable Rogues, in 2012.
However, he’s probably best known now for his radio presenting work, hosting on Phoenix FM from 2015 to 2017 before moving to Capital Breakfast with Roman Kemp and Sian Welby.
Being a breakfast radio presenter definitely comes with its struggles, with Jay admitting: “Because I get up at quarter past four every morning I’m consistently tired every day. As much as I’m looking forward to the challenge of skating every day I know it’s going to be a massive task because I do a show every morning.
“It’s high energy so when it’s done you sort of hit a low. I’m going to have to pick up again, get that energy up to go into training so I’ll have to make sure that I’m not too tired. I don’t want to be one of those people.”
He will be skating with Angela Egan.
Former Hear’Say singer Myleene Klass first appeared on Popstars in 2001, but really found her voice as a solo singer specialising in classical crossover music.
She’s also known for her presenting work both in the UK and US.
“I’m a mum of three, a step-mum of two, there’s seven of us in our blended family. When else would a mum like me get the chance to learn a new skill,” she said of her Dancing on Ice journey.
“I spent all of lockdown teaching children and teaching my music classes that went viral and now it’s time for me to learn a new skill and be able to walk away with a bum like J-Lo’s! That’s the real reason I’m here! I am going to work so hard!”
She will be skating with Åukasz RóÅ¼ycki.
Real name Melesha Katrina O'Garro, Lady Leshurr is a British rapper who released her first mixtape when she was just 14.
Since then, she’s brought out five albums and a clothing line (named after her debut album, Friggin L).
Over the years, Lady Leshurr has been widely recognised for her musical talent, winning a Mobo for Best Female Act in 2016 and receiving the British Empire Medal at the 2020 Birthday Honours.
Asked how she thinks she’ll fare on the ice, she said: “I think maybe being good at dancing is a strength...I’m not good at ice! I’m good at picking up routines I think. I tend to not overthink things, when I’m performing normally I don’t even rehearse. For this I’ll obviously have to rehearse.
She will be skating with Brendyn Hatfield.
At just 18 years old, Joe-Warren Plant is the youngest competitor on this year’s Dancing on Ice.
Luckily, the Blackpool actor has been used to the limelight from a young age, having played the role of Jacob Gallagher on Emmerdale since 2010.
Last year, Plant was nominated for the British Soap Award for Best Young Actor.
But having spent more than half of his life portraying the same character, Plant says that he’s excited for the new opportunities Dancing on Ice will bring him.
“I’ve done Emmerdale for so long and never really done anything else,” he said. “I started there when I was eight years old and I’ve been there for ten years now so it’s exciting to try something new.”
He will be skating with Vanessa Bauer.
Billie Shepherd (née Faiers) is a TV personality best known for appearing on The Only Way is Essex along with her sister Sam.
The pair also have their own reality TV series, Sam & Billie: The Mummy Diaries, about life as young mothers.
Now standing on her own two feet (or skates), Shepherd says she is excited to appear on Dancing on Ice without her sister, explaining: “I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve never done anything on my own, I’ve always done stuff with my sister. I’ve never given myself a personal challenge like this so I feel like now at this point in my career it's good for me to step up and do something like this.
She will be skating with Mark Hanretty.
Denise Van Outen
From musical theatre to presenting and voiceover work, there’s very little that Denise Van Outen can’t do.
She is perhaps best known for presenting The Big Breakfast from 1997 to 2001, before going on to star as Roxie Hart in the West End and Broadway productions of Chicago.
As well as presenting, Van Outen has also taken part in a number of reality TV series, last year being unmasked as Fox on The Masked Singer UK.
So, does she think she could do well on Dancing on Ice? “I don’t ever go into anything thinking I’m going to win it but as the game picks up and the competition picks up you do get competitive, you can’t help it,” she said.
“I just want to learn to skate, do the best that I can and hope that I could win it. It’s more proving to myself and enjoying it and learning to do some of the tricks that I’ve watched other people do.”
She will be skating with Matt Evers.
Last on the line-up, it’s…Rebekah Vardy. Married to Leicester City footballer Jamie, Vardy is a model who has previously appeared on I’m a Celebrity.
However, she’s best known for her role in the “Wagatha Christie” scandal after Coleen Rooney accused her of leaking stories about her to the press.
Vardy denied the claims and sued Rooney for defamation, with a judge ruling in Vardy’s favour in November and asking Rooney to pay her nearly £23,000 in court costs.
Asked her greatest strength to bring to the ice, Vardy gave her determination, explaining: “I don’t give up and that’s my mantra really – live by the blade, die by the blade is what I would say!”
She will be skating with Andy Buchanan.
Dancing on Ice begins Sunday 17 January at 6pm on ITV