We’re going into the second year of your new roles on the judging panel. Going in to it last year, how did you enjoy the new format and the new roles that you were taking on?
Chris: Well, I think we really enjoyed it. Having more of a voice about what was happening on the ice, that was the exciting part for us and a little bit less work for us older people!
Jayne: I guess we didn’t have the pressure of the choreography every week and getting it done on the Mondays and Tuesdays, which were very long days for us. Going from six days a week to essentially one day was nice!
Chris: It felt a bit like a puppy wanting to be involved, so we had to separate ourselves.
Jayne: We’re used to getting to know the celebrities on all different levels instead of just on a Sunday, and even to chat to them on a Sunday you feel like you can’t because they need to be focused. So, you can’t just have a little socialised chat with them. We had to keep ourselves a little bit separate. Again, as Chris said, it was nice to have a voice and have an opinion.
Last year was the first time the professionals had the fresh challenge of choreographing themselves. Is there quite a distinct difference between being a good skater and being a good choreographer?
Chris: Oh yes! They’re absolutely two distinctions. It’s alright being a great skater but there is a whole other skill set to being a choreographer as well. Certainly, the professionals need to get to know their celebrities and what the best things are to showcase them. If you’ve got a great skater, it’s easier…clearly! But when the celebrity is more challenged let’s say…you’ve got to work out ways to make them look the best they can be and certainly on the ice, that’s a whole other skill set. It’s not like a dancer on terra firma, there’s friction all the time so they feel secure. They feel the ground is moving underneath them the whole time, so you’ve got to find the comfort level, but at the same time showcase it and present them. It’s those pictures that come through the TV screen that’s going to impress the viewer at home and what we see as judges as well.
There’s no secret that the show requires a lot of training and discipline. With that in mind, would you say for the celebs taking part it is one of the toughest TV shows that there is?
Chris: It definitely is! It’s the hardest show for a celebrity and the biggest commitment. If you look at the time people have to commit to this, from the beginning of October through to the end of middle of March, that’s a huge commitment. It’s necessary to master the skill to hopefully take out certain amounts of jeopardy but you’ll never take out all the jeopardy in ice skating. We like jeopardy! I think the viewers like jeopardy…sequins and jeopardy!
Going into that first live show, if you could sort of sum up what it is that you’re looking for from the celebrities, if there were just a few words or a sentence, what would it kind of be?
Chris: Pazazz! Skating skill. The skating skill to begin with because that’s our background and we can see through the smoke and mirrors. Having said that, we appreciate the smoke and mirrors because what you’re looking for is to the best you can bring out in your celebrity and we’re also looking at the potential. Jayne: Someone who makes a good solid start. It might be a simple routine but if it’s done well, they’ll be the ones to watch because they’ll probably have those skating skills that we’re looking for.
Looking at you as the panel, as it currently stands, how would you summarise the dynamic of the judging panel?
Chris: I think it’s a great dynamic.
Jayne: I’m the only girl!
Chris: What’s not to love about that? Jason is very astute in his comments and what he sees. I think he was a bit reserved last year, maybe? He was finding his feet again! I think he will this year.
Jayne: They say people mellow with age! What he would say is that he was being honest.
Chris: Ashley is a very positive judge. He sees the best in everybody I think. He’ll highlight what they need to work on but he is a very positive person.
Looking back on the last series, what would you say your highlight was in terms of any particular contestant or moments that stood out?
Chris: I think Jake was a highlight, just in his ability. Jayne: Week on week he was a highlight because he kept just getting better and better.
Chris: And I think the week that Brooke sort of came out…she just blossomed one week! That was a highlight. The show itself came back reset and I think the production values that went into it were amazing.
Jayne: There was always loads of buzz around it, lots of energy and excitement around it.
If you could look back on the history of the show, which contestant for you has been the biggest revelation?
Jayne: Ray, I would think. He’s an unusual celebrity in the sense he just took to it and was amazing. He could skate at first but he carried on improving and working, so much so that he came back this year on tour with us and he was better than ever. It’s fantastic, he’s just such a talent. You get those people once in a while but another revelation for me was Kyran Bracken, because he couldn’t skate at all. He was falling all the time.
Chris: At this stage, this is your learning stage. We didn’t rate Kyran when he first started in October, and then by the show he had reinvented himself.
Jayne: He went away and did exactly what we told him to do, which was work on the basic skating and he took it all in. Obviously, he’s got that discipline as a sportsman and the competitiveness.
Looking at this year’s crop of celebrities, who are you most excited or intrigued to see?
Chris: I think as a group, they’re a great cast! We always talk about Dancing on Ice but of all these shows, it’s casting. I think this is most probably one of, if not the strongest cast we’ve had. So, we’re all excited about that.
The show is focused on celebs stepping out of their comfort zone and embracing a new skill, is there anything that if you could learn any new skill or craft, what would it be?
Chris: Lots of things! I need to be a motor racing driver, I need to learn to fly and I’d like to do a really good survival course.
Jayne: No none of that! Is there a shopping show or shopping challenge? How much money can you spend in half an hour?