Sunday, 10 January 2010

A frosty reception

Dancing on Ice Friday: 8th January 2010

Hello, and welcome back to Bitching On Ice! It's entirely possible that you're all sick of ice and frost and associated things considering the weather we've been having this week, but I'm afraid you'll have to suffer through it for the next hour, because Dancing On Ice is back for a brand new run. Carrie will be here later tonight to bring you the full lowdown on the first competitive show of the new series, but because ITV is determined to stretch the brand as far as it can, there's a new show on Fridays this year as well, and the very first hour is a special hour-long curtain opener, which I shall now be recapping for you. Onward!

Incidentally, Dancing on Ice is sponsored by Macleans toothpaste this year. You'll probably be very familiar with that fact before too long.

We open with a lightning-fast series of shots of some of this year's contestants: Sinitta! Mikey Graham! Hayley Tamaddon! Heather Mills! Bobby Davro! Danniella Westbrook! That girl off The Inbetweeners! Ste from Hollyoaks! Mrs Gordon Ramsey! Gary Lucy! Jeremy Sheffield! That Baldwin kid off Coronation Street! Okay, you really don't want to know how many times I had to rewind and rewatch that segment to get all of those in the right order. And I assume Dr Hilary Jones was in there somewhere, but try as I might, I couldn't find him, and I was a bit scared that if I freeze-framed it one more time, my PVR might explode. So if you're reading this, Dr Hilary, I apologise, but be assured that your exclusion is not intended as any kind of slur. OR IS IT?

Anyway, Phil tells us that Dancing On Ice is back (like, duh) and tonight the class of 2010 will take to the ice! Yeah, for about 30 seconds. Way to get our hopes up, Phil. Over shots of them all frolicking in a winter wonderland (and to think of the money they could've saved on that studio set if they'd known about the weather in advance. They could've filmed it in Putney for a fraction of the price), Phil says that they're all hoping to win. Bobby Davro pretends that he is taking it seriously. I am as yet unconvinced. Mikey says that nobody comes into something like this intending to not win, and he's no different. This statement is belied somewhat by Kieron Richardson saying immediately afterwards that at present he doesn't actually think he can do it. In your face, Mikey Graham and your ill-founded clichés! Heather is just going to do her best, Danniella is looking forward to the challenge. Hillary is terrified. Sinitta has confidence in absolutely everything apart from her ability to skate. Oh, just come out in a dress made of palm leaves. Sure, your nipples will be sharp enough to use as tattoo needles, but hey, someone'll vote for ya, I'm sure. Phil informs us that there will also be a Very Special Performance from Ray Quim, and if you think I'm sitting through THAT a second time, then hello, I don't believe we've met before. There'll also be a trip down memory lane, and lots of Torvill and Dean, which is basically the only thing I'm here for. There will be highs (Suzanne and Lovely Matt scoring the first perfect 30 in the history of the show) and the lows (the alarming body count of people maiming themselves over the past four years), the amazing lifts and the dramatic falls. Get ready to be amazed, folks, it's Dancing On Ice 2010!

Titles! Is it just me, or has the theme tune been funkified-up a little bit?

Phil and Holly arrive, both looking positively lovely. Phil jokes that at minus ten degrees, the studio is currently the warmest place in Britain. At least, I think he's joking. Holly teases the arrival of this year's celebrities for the very first time, but before all that, it's time for a little bit of Jayne and Chris. They're performing a cheese-alicious routine to The Jacksons' 'Can You Feel It', and fortunately no-one claims that this is a heartfelt tribute to Michael, WHO IS DEAD, or anything. It's a great routine, but by far my favourite bit is about two thirds of the way through where Chris loses his balance during a knee-spin and has to spend the rest of the routine skating about with a dirty great white mark on his knee. HA! Well, might as well start as I mean to go on, right? It finishes, and there is much cheering and applause. Because it was good, I mean, not because it's over. [Poor Chris. Thought he looked very wobbly yet fierce during this. Welcome back, Princess! - Carrie]

Phil beckons them over to the Safe Spot to join him and Holly, and asks how they think the celebs might be coping backstage right now. Chris trots out the usual "excited but nervous" truism and talks about being out of one's comfort zone, but he thinks they've all got the right attitude. Holly asks Jayne what the last four years have been like, and she replies "exhausting!" in that way that is only half-kidding. She does say that it's been a great experience for both of them to meet so many people who've never skated before (oh, come on, Torvill. Most of them had skated before, just not in these sorts of circumstances) and join them on their JOURNEYS. Right, six minutes into the new series, chalk up one mark on the Journeyometer.

Holly says that we've seen over 270 routines over the past four series, as well as 46 celebrities and thankfully only nine broken bones. This is, of course, the cue for a history VT. VT Chris says that he and Jayne quietly agreed to stop skating in 1998, and when the call came through about the show, they were somewhat concerned about the concept, but when they SAW THE POSSIBILITIES, they got excited. Chris says that the highlight was coming back to skate with "whatshername here", and Jayne grins that she was going to say that too. Aww, they're quite cute sometimes. Holly (in an interview clearly conducted on the set of This Morning, just as Phil's will be in a minute) says that no one imagined they'd get back together, and we see their very first appearance on the show. VO Phil says that once they were back, they faced a more difficult challenge - teaching celebrities to skate. And this show can bollock right off if it expects me to believe for one second that teaching celebrities to skate is harder than winning Olympic gold. Now, had he said that the more difficult challenge was resisting the urge not to swipe Ray Quinn across the face with the business end of an ice skate, I may have been slightly more in agreement. Andi Fucking Peters talks about the honour of having legends like Torvill and Dean teaching you how to skate. Jayne says tactfully that they were used to choreographing people "at a certain level", and so it was "interesting" to be in this new situation. David Seaman talks about that feeling of getting onto the ice for the first time. Which, incidentally, he did on BBC One's Strictly Ice Dancing before he was on this show. Just sayin'. Gaynor Faye recalls having bruises everywhere. Andi Fucking Peters talks about waiting for the first show to start, when it was new to everyone and no one knew if it was going to work.

Grainy footage of the first show, fished out of the ITV archives. Phil recalls being very nervous, and that it became apparent very quickly that this was going to be HUGE. We see snippets of all the contestants from series one doing their thing, and then Phil mentions the 36 other celebs who took part in subsequent series. Not by name, obviously. But there are shots of Suzanne and Lovely Matt, and Zaraah and Lovely Fred, which is all that matters. Chris says that the reality sets in as the first show approaches. Melinda Messenger recalls wanting to scratch her way out of her contract for Live From Studio Five the tunnel before the first show. Tastefully, Donal MacIntyre says that given the choice in that moment between doing the show and being in a war zone, he would've chosen the war zone. Stay classy, Donal! (Although if I'd had the choice between Ray Quinn being on the show and being in a war zone, etc etc etc.) Coleen remembers the feeling of relief as the song ended. Chris Fountain says that when he got back into his dressing room afterwards, he realised how much fun he'd had. [Nice to know he enjoyed himself, because his end-of-series bitchface indicated that he didn't so much. - Carrie]

Then it's time for a montage of the less talented contestants: Andi Fucking Peters falling on his arse as he skated out and taking poor Tamara Sharp over with him. Then there's the not remotely scripted moment where Todd Carty went shooting off into the tunnel and yet mysteriously managed to come back out onto the ice and finish in exact time with the music. How convenient! "I caught my toe pick," says Todd. Yeah, yeah, and the rest. Over more shots of other contestants (including Lisa Scott-Lee, bless her), Phil says that the experience of the show is something that none of them will ever forget. And then we see Noted Bisexual Duncan James kissing Nicky Slater on the forehead. Karen Barber says that she hopes the show goes on for a long time because it's the best job in the world. Elsewhere, the CEO of Kleenex also hopes that Karen continues to do this job for a long time. Coleen claims it was the best thing she's ever done. A very old-looking Gareth Gates says that it's great learning a new skill and showcasing it in front of people. THE BARROWMAN lies through his teeth that it's the best thing that ever happened to him (either that, or they spliced in footage from an entirely different piece of his interview - come on, no one's falling for that, are they?). Noted Bisexual Duncan James fondly recalls the sparkly outfits and big hair, bless him. Suzanne says that it taught her anything was possible. I can't remember if she said anything else, my attention was slightly stolen by archive footage of Lovely Matt's Lovely Arms. Sorry. Chris and Jayne are just so happy to have this opportunity. So happy!

With that, we're back in the studio, and it's time for an ad break. Don't go anywhere!

If anyone out there can make sense of the existence of Popstar to Operastar - please, enlighten me. [Particularly as Darius Danesh's Campbell's biog has always carried the information that he started his singing career as part of the Scottish Opera. Mysteriously, his official site with said career info is now no longer in operation. - Carrie]

We're back, and Phil and Holly are ON ICE! How exciting. They're not skating, though. Boo. They're just introducing another VT package of some of the series' best partnerships, starting with Gaynor and Daniel, champions from 2006. Gaynor says that there's no way she could've won the show with any other partner, except maybe Christopher Dean. Snerk. Suzanne and Lovely Matt are next, with Suzanne saying how hard it is to find a partnership that works so well, and Lovely Matt says that they were emotionally on the same page. Kyran talks about how Melanie constantly pushed his boundaries, while Ray says that not every day was a charm (it certainly wasn't, you weasel-faced irritant). Kyran says that the most exciting thing about being in the final is having the opportunity to do the Bolero. Unless you're Jessica. Or Zaraah. Or Duncan. Or Bonnie. Lovely Matt says that being able to choreograph your own Bolero makes it that much more special, while Suzanne talks about how the music takes over your body. Ray says that it meant a lot to him and it was their chance to shine. Daniel remembers the absolute silence from his Bolero with Gaynor, and Gaynor says that it's a very surreal moment. Then we see each winner in turn being informed of their victory, including a brilliant shot of Chris Fountain's epic bitchface when Suzanne won. Man, I wish I didn't have to delete that bit from my PVR. (As we were watching, my boyfriend remarked how awesome it would've been how, as Ray was waiting to hear if he'd won, they'd declared Leona Lewis the winner. I'd have paid good money to see his face then.) Then there's about sixteen different ways of saying "WINNING FEELS NICE", which I do not wish to recap in any more detail than this.

After that, we're back in the studio for Ray and Maria's special new performance to 'I Gotta Feeling' by the Black Eyed Peas. I didn't recap his performances when they counted for anything, and I don't intend to start now. From there, it's time for another VT, this time all about the Ever-Changing Ice Panel. Apparently there are some judges on this show that aren't Robin Cousins. Who knew? Now that very-talented-at-musicals-but-neither-use-nor-ornament-on-this-show Ruthie Henshall has departed, we've got a new judge: Countess Emma Von Bunton. Emma says that she's sure people expect her to be nice, but she tells it like it is - though she's no Jason, thank God. She says that she knows what it takes to entertain an audience (sales of your last album would beg to differ, Ms Bunton), so she wants to see a great performance.

And now they're all in the studio! Well, except for Robin, who of course realised that this was a colossal waste of everyone's time and made other plans instead. Good for him. Jason is wearing some ridiculous jacket with leather straps and buckles and looks like a damn fool. Plus ça change. Emma is very excited about Sunday and having the best seat in the house. Jason says that he does actually want the celebrities to do well because it's painful to sit through bad performances. Man's got a point. Nicky is asked which bits of which celebrities he'd use to build his perfect skater, and he replies thusly: "I'd use Ray Quinn as the base, and then I'd add to that the edginess of Chris Fountain, Coleen's kiss-and-cry skills, and the entertainment magic of the one and only Todd Carty." What, no Suzanne? FAIL. Also, "Coleen's kiss-and-cry skills"? What does that even mean? God, the judging hasn't even started yet and already I'm cross with him. [Hey, me too! ON ICE! - Carrie] Karen is very excited because she thinks it's the toughest competition so far.

After some more ads and more gross close-ups of people kissing (what? I'm British), Phil is in the audience with Gordon Ramsay, who says that Tana has been training very hard. Phil asks him if he'll be trying it himself, and Gordon cites his size 15 feet as the main reason he won't be doing so. Size 15! As Phil puts it, "those are skis!" Hee. Time for another VT, with Chris, Jayne and Karen talking in revered tones about the amazing moves the celebs pull off, the likes of which most professionals train for years to do. Seriously, Roxanne's pitiful attempt at a headbanger had better not be in here. Chris Fountain remembers being the first person to do an axel, and says smugly that no one's done it since. THE BARROWMAN calls Ray Quinn "phenomenal" (doo doo, do do doo!) for doing Robin's famous split-jump. Chris (Dean) says that when they think about giving out the really complicated moves, they make sure the people they give them to are comfortable with them - but, he says, ice-skating can be quite dangerous. INJURY PORN MONTAGE! Lisa Scott-Lee calls it "the most dangerous programme on TV" over footage of her own attempt at the headbanger. Chris says that they teach people how to fall at the beginning, but at some point they have to go away and conquer their fears. There's a special sequence devoted to Michael Underwood crying over his game-ending injury ["It's so TYPICAL! I've NEVER BROKEN A BONE BEFORE!" Sob! HAHAHAHAH! - Carrie] , and Coleen wonders how the professionals are not terrified of dancing with these lethal amateurs. She should know. Lovely Matt says that people sometimes forget how sharp the blades are, over footage of that time Suzanne nearly took his eye out. Then we have a headbanger segment, complete with footage of Roxanne screaming like a girl. Pah. Suzanne remembers that it feels like your ankle is going to come out of its socket and there's so much pressure in your head that it feels like it's to fall off. Sounds fun! [To be fair she may have been talking about the time she had a broken bone in her ankle, so she may well have a point. - Carrie] VO Phil says that the only non-professional man to ever attempt the headbanger was David Seaman. Quite possibly the reason that he was the last one to attempt it is the hideous injury that befell Pam in rehearsals as she lost her footing and then whacked her chin on the ice. Owee. Phil recalls his heart being in his mouth as they attempted it on the live show, while Holly remembers that she "couldn't watch". Thankfully, it came together on the night, and David and Pam were both very happy, possibly for different reasons. Frankie, rocking some seriously big hair, says that "the sky's the limit" in terms of where the show can go. [Also, for her hair. - Carrie]

Back in the studio, Chris says that they're blown away by what the celebs manage to achieve. Jayne says that they get better results with slow progress, so they start with baby steps. Then we get some proper action - a group performance from the professionals, to Pixie Lott's 'Girls And Boys'. Once again I find my words not really adequate enough to sum it all up, but trust me when I say it is pretty fucking awesome. Examples: Lovely Matt and Daniel picking up one of the female pros (unfortunately I can't see her face, so I don't know who it is, but I think it might be Frankie) and basically swinging her between them and up over their heads, while Alexandra does a backflip over Stuart's head. Yipes. There's a special introduction at the end for new pro skaters Alexandra, Molly, Brianne, and Matthew (who looks uncannily like Jason Durr from Above Suspicion).

After a competition question offering tickets to next week's show, followed by an ad break, it's time to meet the new celebrities. Finally! We start with the ladies: first up is Hayley Tamaddon, who's very excited to be on the show. She's clumsy and fears falling over, which makes me think that she signed up for the wrong show. Heather is excited and nervous, and says that there are certain things she won't be able to do because she's an amputee [my God, is she? This is BRAND-NEW INFORMATION - Carrie], no matter how much she wants to, but she's very competitive and will try her best. Tana says that dancing ON ICE will not come naturally to her, and learning the routines will be a mission in itself. Danniella thinks it will be hard work and is thinking about the bruises and the hot baths and the trips to the physio more than how far she is likely to progress. Probably just as well. She says "if you mess up, you really mess up, and you're ON ICE." Capitalisation mine, via Nicky Slater. Sharron Davies worried that they'd give her a short pro and make her lift him, but thankfully she's got Pavel, so she'll be fine. Emily's number one worry is embarrassing herself. I would've though it would be the fact that literally no one knows who she is. I mean, I watch The Inbetweeners and I wouldn't have recognised her name out of context. She'd rather break her legs in private rather than bruise her knee in front of an audience, which seems an odd way to look at things. [I am really worried for her. a) She's not famous and b) she looks like she's having a nervous breakdown already. - Carrie] Sinitta is very excited, but cannot skate. Hmm.

And in they come! Danniella seems a little unbalanced, but not disastrously so. Emily is described as a "comedy actress", which is a description that I always think implies someone is not very good. Isn't "comic actress" a better term? Or what's wrong with just "actress"? Anyway, she's in pink and looks like Barbie, but seems fairly competent on the skating front. Sharron Davies can barely stand, let alone skate, so I'm not very confident for her. Impressive arm muscles, though. Hayley Tamaddon is introduced as a "star of stage and screen", which I'm sure will please Carrie [yep, I heart the Tamaddon, best Janet on the last Rocky Horror tour barring none, including La Shaw - Carrie], but she's basically carried in by Daniel, so it's hard to tell how good she is. Tana seems fine, but is supported by Stuart for her entire entrance. Likewise Sinitta with Andrei. And Heather and Lovely Matt. Man, the female line-up this year is kind of uninspiring. I hope the men are better.

They skate over to join Holly and Phil in the Safe Spot, where Phil asks Tana if it's true that Gordon has been making her high protein meals. It isn't, she says. Asked how she feels, she replies "terrified, excited, nervous, but I'm loving it." That bit of patter sounded INCREDIBLY rehearsed. Be more spontaneous, Tana! Sharron finds the whole experience more terrifying than swimming in the Olympics, because at least she knew what she was doing then. Danniella looks terrified, and basically says as much. Heather was glad to get that first skate-on out of the way: "I can stop biting Matt's arm now." Lucky bitch. Also, I thought she was vegan? [Phil thought Heather was being entirely serious about biting Matt, and she had to point out that no, he'd just cut himself in some other way, not at all related to her teeth. - Carrie] Emily says she's living every girl's dream, but she can't stop shaking. Hayley thinks there's no one better to learn from than Torvill and Dean. Sinitta says it's all happened very quickly, and now she's in her costume, she can't get out of it. Skating, I mean, not her costume. I need to work on my syntax.

Now, here come the boys! (bo-oys! bo-oys! bo-oys!) Bobby Davro is first, saying that he signed up because it looked like fun and he wanted to learn a skill. He thinks he'll struggle more than the youngsters, but has his experience as "an entertainer" (sigh) to fall back on. Mikey is a bit apprehensive about his public perception, and hopes people like him. He has no fear, apart from fear itself. And the inability to speak without clichés. The well-preserved Jeremy Sheffield is excited to be learning a new skill at the age of 43, and has huge expectations of his own brilliance, but knows he won't live up to them. Heh. Danny is competitive and likes to do well, and will give it 100%. Only 100%? Amateur. Dr Hilary does not dance or skate, so is probably boned. Gary Lucy has only skated a few times, but did a lot of rollerskating as a kid, and judging by his rehearsal footage, is a total fucking ringer. Kieron is feeling pure panic, and does not want to fall over. He hopes to be feeling more confident in a few weeks, but also thinks he might be in a plaster cast by then. Snerk.

Gary skates on first. Hang on, how come Maria gets the total ringer two years running? Same reason Daniel always get the ITV soap star, I suppose. Bobby's a little unsteady on his feet, so Molly just kind of jumps around him. Danny and Frankie's initial display looks promising, but when you see him in a vest, his head doesn't look like it fits his body. Dr Hilary neither stands out nor embarrasses himself. Kieron is a little wobbly, but not terribly so. Jeremy is introduced as a "Hollywood actor", which seems a bit of an overexaggeration, but I suppose he did that film with Debra Messing, and he was in Last Chance Harvey with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, so I'll allow it. For now. He needs a little assistance from Susie, it seems. Mikey seems...fine. Non-descript.

"Nobody fell over!" Phil cheers. They all skate over to join him in the Safe Spot. Kieron is amazed that he's been taught by Jayne and Chris, and says that they are amazing, and he's very excited to be in the same room as Emma Bunton. Danny thinks the girls all have their strengths - apparently Sinitta's got a difficult lift, and Danniella's getting better all the time. Gary says the nerves are the hardest bit right now. Mikey (big cheer) says that the training has been hard, but he's ready for an adventure. Bobby thinks the costumes are unforgiving. Dr Hilary is only going to treat injuries worse than his own. Jeremy (big cheer) has already torn a hamstring and it was touch and go that he'd be here, but he made it, "thanks to our amazing physio Sharon, ahhh." Unless the physio is Korean and her name is Sharon Ah. It's possible.

And that's it! The ladies are taking to the ice first this year, and Carrie will be here to recap the terrifying highs and the awesome lows. Join her then!

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