Daniel Whiston is a household favourite when it comes to Dancing on Ice - currently airing its ninth and final series - and we got the chance to chat to him about his time on the ITV ice rink, his biggest competition out of the group of all-stars and just what lies ahead for him when he skates off the screen in a few weeks time.
You've been with Dancing on Ice from the very beginning, how have you found this whole experience?
Life changing. If someone could have told me that this is what would have happened to me ten years ago, I wouldn't have believed a word of it, but it completely changed my life for the good - it's been fantastic, it really has been an amazing journey.
I could never have thought it - it's been brilliant and opened up doors for me, giving me opportunities that I would never have had, and also winning the trophy three times have been three very special moments for me.
Well you've touched on my next question, you have been champion three times making you the most successful professional from the show, how does that feel?
Fantastic. Amazing. To get the chance to skate The Bolero with three celebrities and also lift the trophy at the end of it has just been an incredible experience.
It's been full of wonderful experiences the show, and like I said it really has opened doors for me that I would never have had - like different opportunities and challenges that I face, which have just been brilliant.
You won last year with Beth [Tweddle], but this year you're competing against her - is that a strange dynamic?
Yeah it can be sometimes, obviously me and Elizabeth are really good friends, and at first it was a little bit of a worry - it was like 'oh I can't believe we're gonna actually be skating against each other this time' - however, it's been brilliant just to be working with her again.
We've had opportunities with the show this year where we've been on the ice together; we did The Duel together and also this week is a team challenge where we're gonna be on the ice together again so, it's just really nice to be working together again because she's a great friend.
You mentioned this week's team challenge - can you tell me a little bit about the routine that involves?
Well basically, what happens is from the leaderboard last week, the two top couples have their own teams. So, you're looking at Ray and Maria, and their team, then second on the leaderboard is me and Hayley, and we've got our team, and we go head to head.
So, there's three couples on a team, and they go head to head - whoever wins that team challenge gets double points - so it could flip the leaderboard completely upside down.
Obviously everyone's rehearsing as much as they can and giving it everything they've got because it really can change the leaderboard completely, and put whoever's at the top of the leaderboard absolutely at the bottom. So this week is quite a big week.
There's no way of calling it because you don't know what the show is gonna do. The twists and turns of the format of the show really determine how the leaderboard's gonna end up. So there's no way of saying 'this person will win', because the format's changing every week. There's lots of surprises in store, I'm sure.
It's a very tight competition at the moment with everybody nipping at each other's heels - who would you say is your biggest competition?
Well I think Ray Quinn and Maria are absolutely brilliant. They're top of the leaderboard every week and obviously they're our main competition, but the thing about Hayley is she started on the leaderboard, and every week she's worked her way up, which is brilliant. She's bettering herself every single week, and the two of us are delivering something new every week - a new trick or a new feel of the programme.
What we love to do is act a piece out - we kinda like to tell a story through our routine, and obviously Hayley being an actress, that's great for her, so, she's climbing the leaderboard every week but I think at the moment, Ray is the top of the leaderboard.
But again, this format this week with the team challenge could change everything.
What would you say are some of your favourite styles of routines are to perform?
I really enjoyed last week's routine because normally me and Hayley have very 'smiley' and 'showbizzy' type routines, and last week we had quite a serious number where we didn't smile and performed an acting piece. It's really nice when you get something different.
Also our 'Jai Ho' routine from a few years back was brilliant because Bollywood on Ice had never been done before.
So, again when you get a new style that's never been done before that's always a challenge, and I like to do things that are new.
How intense would you say training is?
Training is very intense. With Hayley's schedule as well with Coronation Street, it's very busy.
We're literally, if we're not on the road we're on the ice, then on the train. We're literally moving around the country because Hayley's got her Coronation Street schedule as well.
But, there's no complaints because we're doing something we love. We both love - obviously skating is my career - but I love to skate; me and Hayley have known each other since we were 12, so it's a good laugh and Hayley's in her dream job with Coronation Street, so there's no complaints.
Yes it's very hard, but we're having a ball.
How is Hayley coping with everything?
She's coping really well. She's very much into the challenge Hayley. She loves to be given new stuff, she loves to learn new stuff, and the schedule being heavy is not an obstacle for Hayley. She tackles it head-on.
So finally, what's next for you following this series?
Well, we go on tour, which takes us to about May time.
Then me and Karen Barber - one of the judges on the show - we run our own skate school which we tour around the UK with, so we'll be touring around the UK with our skate school.
I've had some really interesting meetings recently, maybe some new stuff with myself. I'm not allowed to say what, but hopefully some exciting stuff in the pipeline!
Catching Dan perform with Hayley in tonight's episode of Dancing on Ice at 6.15pm on ITV.
The Dancing on Ice Skate Off also airs tonight, at 8.30pm on ITV where one couple will be sent home.
Tagged in Dancing on Ice