How would describe the dynamic of the panel?
Well, there is no denying that having Jayne and Chris join the panel last year was a huge honour. To be there and be part of it, they’re the king and queen of the ice! You cannot say that they don’t know their stuff. We’ve got the top of the tree, they’re ice royalty. I think it added the gravitas to a panel that we really, really needed. Jayne and Chris embody our ice skating and ice dance better than anybody on this planet right now.
Do you feel like it was a benefit to the panel that you’ve now got that complete 50/50 split of skaters and dancers?
I think the most frustrating thing for me in years gone by, is that I didn’t have another dancer on the panel. I was always outnumbered as it were with ice skaters and skating experts. Therefore, I felt sometimes I was the only voice and the only one flying the flag for dancing and choreography. This time we have Ashley and myself both looking at the same thing. I think it creates a better balance and better equilibrium.
Do you think a lot of the celebrities underestimate the discipline that goes with doing a show like this?
I think it’s a bit like you sign up for these shows, you see them and think they look fun and think you could do it. Then when they’re here week in, week out, learning new routine and how to skate, getting injured and frustrated with the fact that they’re never going to take to it. Some of them are just never going to take to it, it doesn’t matter how hard they work or train, they’ll never be able to make it look good. That’s frustrating and I would imagine a bit demoralising. There comes a point where it really does matter now, because they’ve invested so much time, energy and effort, that they care. As difficult as it is and I do maintain that this is the most difficult show to come and do, because of the ice.
A lot of the celebrities that we’ve spoken to have singled you out as the judge they want to impress the most. If you could earmark a few things that you’ll be looking for specifically from show one and two, what would they be?
In show one and two, I am not expecting great performances but what I am looking for is that essence of somebody that is fierce and that has the potential to grow. That is somebody that is working hard, they’ve got the dedication and they’ve got the commitment and I can see they’ve also got the application. If I don’t see those then you don’t pull me in at all. If I see someone that has got more heart and soul invested in it than technique, in show one and two, you’re going to get my vote. People that come in with bad attitudes or they’re trying to make up loads of excuses as to why they’re not very good, that’s when I lose interest.
On the flipside of that, if you could earmark some of the faux pas’ that always catch your eye specifically or the things you just don’t like, what would they be?
I don’t like laziness. I don’t like bad attitudes. I don’t like people who always try and go for the sympathy card. I don’t like people that are constantly trying to tell us why it’s so difficult for them and they’re trying their best, I know they are, no-one is saying you’re not trying your best. So, excuses and excuses do nothing for me but alienate you from me warming to you.
You’ve been judging the show now for quite a long time, has anything changed about the way you approach your critique over that period of time?
I think so. I think the show has moved on itself and I’ve moved on. That said, I maintain that I will always give my honest appraisal. I think the approach that I’m finding works for me now is that it’s got to be tempered with my expert knowledge. I feel that as I am almost 50, I feel a little more paternal anyway so that side of me is coming out in my life and translates across everything.
If you could earmark any performances over the years that in particular gave you goose bumps, which would they be?
It would be Hayley Tamaddon when she did ‘Jai Ho’ and pretty much everything that Ray Quinn did! Jake Quickenden when he did the balletic piece, it was so unexpected.
If you could sum up the show to someone who has never seen it before, how would you describe it?
It’s the biggest, glitziest, glossiest dance show on the telly…but with danger!