Phillip Schofield and Holly Willougby will return to their hosting duties of Dancing On Ice this coming weekend, bringing the series back from the dead and introducing a whole host of new celebrities hoping to make their way through the entire show and take home the title of winner when all is said and done. Alongside them are some ice skating professionals, with both old and new faces making their way onto the small screen.

Cheryl Baker and Dan Whiston / Credit: ITV

Cheryl Baker and Dan Whiston / Credit: ITV

One of those professionals is Dan Whiston; he’s been with the show since the very start and is now back, paired with former Bucks Fizz member Cheryl Baker. We got the chance to ask him all about the show this year, his experiences with it so far and more…

How excited are you to be returning for the new series of Dancing On Ice?

I’m really excited! It feels absolutely amazing to be back on Dancing On Ice! I’d heard rumours in the past about the return of the show and they never came to anything, so I was overjoyed to hear it was actually coming back. Dancing On Ice has given me nine years of fantastic memories, including three wins and I’m looking forward to year number 10!

You’ve been in training with your celebrity partner Cheryl Baker; how is she finding taking to the ice?

I was so excited to meet my celebrity partner, the gorgeous Cheryl Baker from Eurovision-winning Bucks Fizz! Cheryl has been working so hard on the ice and really is a joy to work with. We have so much fun and laugh a lot, which in my opinion is the key to success. The more fun you have, the more progress you can make.

Can you talk us through a ‘typical’ day training for the show? If indeed there are any ‘typical’ days!

We normally arrive to the rink a good hour before we skate so we can warm up off ice. This normally consists of a jog around the car park, core strengthening exercises and a good stretch. We then take to the ice, normally working between three to four hours. Little breaks for cups of tea are essential!

You’re the show’s most successful professional when it comes to winning or finishing high, so is there an added layer of pressure there?

Not really. I look at this as a brand new journey starting again with Cheryl from the beginning. My aim is to make Cheryl the best skater she can be and for her to have a great time along the way.

How intense a schedule is this for the celebrities this year?

As we get closer and closer to our first live show the schedule and the training gets more and more intense! Long days with regular spray tans before each live show. The atmosphere becomes electric!

What do you make of this year’s judging line-up?

I think Jayne [Torvill] and Christopher [Dean] are a fantastic addition to the judging panel. You cannot get better qualified judges than the King and Queen of the ice! However, I will really miss their coaching and support during the training sessions and the development of the routines.

How will you deal with Jason Gardiner’s cutting criticism this year, if he has any to throw your way?

I think it’s great news to hear that Jason will be returning as a judge. I know he’s everybody’s love-to-hate Dancing On Ice judge and yes, sometimes what he says can be wrapped in barbed wire, however, underneath his spiky delivery is usually some constructive critique which we will need to take on board and work at if we are lucky enough to be in the competition for the following week.

Why do you think Dancing On Ice is so beloved by everybody watching at home?

Dancing On Ice is so popular because you never know what you’re going to get! It’s a similar concept to Strictly Come Dancing but with blades on our feet, which brings that element of danger! Out of all the years and all the routines that have been created on Dancing On Ice, to this day I am still frequently asked about the infamous moment of Todd Carty’s trip and fall off the ice, or Jennifer Ellison kicking herself in the head with an ice skate blade. On a live show, anything can happen!

Finally, what else should we expect from you in the coming months away from the show?

Away from Dancing On Ice, I have expanded my subway businesses and have recently opened Clip’n’Climb Blackpool; a state of the art climbing centre, with former Dancing On Ice judge, Karen Barber. I have also become a qualified Zumba instructor, teaching hundreds of fitness fans weekly. Off the back of this, I was lucky enough to be offered my own fitness DVD called Daniel Whiston’s Dance Fit. I’ve also enjoyed travelling the UK with Karen Barber teaching our skate schools, hopefully inspiring a new generation of Dancing On Ice professionals!

Dancing On Ice begins this weekend on Sunday, January 7 at 6pm on ITV. 

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