Wednesday, February 28, 2007


THIS MORNING - Lisa, Philip, Matt, Fern and me.


There was controversy over the skate off. Pressure on the skaters was showing up and forcing errors.

Judging is not getting easier and the skate offs were awful to have to judge.

KIERAN & MEL showed that he is a natural comedian and the way he was able to skate out and interpret his routine was great fun. On screen we loose the impression of speed and often, the faster you go the more out of line or ragged things can look, you have to be much more precise on the turns and movements at speed and in exact unison with your partner. But he is going so fast I thought Mel had to skate out to keep up with him at one point! KIERAN IS confident in the lifts, covering much more ice than any skaters and with this energy that fits the music. Goodness knows how he will cope with a slower romantic tune! We shall see.

EMILY & DANIEL I think Emily is getting better every week. However it’s clear to see that it’s tough for her to let go of the things that have gone wrong the week before. Sometimes you get into the expectancy that something will go wrong. And then of course it does. Funny how that happens. Until the end of the routine I thought Emily and Daniel were doing a fine job. Then came the mistakes and with those they should have been in the skate off. Once you get nervous and rise up on straight legs you are lost in skating – the flow stops, this is what is happening and also a tensing up when things don’t quite work. It’s a mind game for her now. We need to see her ‘not caring’ so much and letting the blades flow. Confidence makes a difference… Gaining and showing that is Emily’s challenge.

LISA & MATT Once again Lisa’s brilliant presentation skills shone. Matt is a great partner for her and presents her superbly. In the air in the lifts and when doing some of the transitions she is poised and assured and impressive. Strong dance ability helps the overall look of the piece. Always though with Lisa it is the underlying skating skills that cause me to hold back my marks. Lisa’s skating has not progressed as fast as many of the other celebs. Some of whom have excellent showmanship skills others who are less impressive in this area but are skating out. This lack of basic skating ability, whilst covered by Matt to an untrained eye, was still of concern to me. This added to a slip at the end of the programme and difficulty with the under arm rollovers caused me to have a lower score.

LEE & FRANKIE Confidence shows and for me Lee’s stance and the relaxed expression he brought to the piece added a new dimension. He is dancing more and more ‘with Frankie’ (rather than alongside her) which is a big step forward. There are still jerky moments in the skating but there is a surety there that was new. I’m after good skating edges and dancing and expression combined. Lee is getting the hang of his arms a little more (lot further to go) and that, along with his potential to be the best ‘natural’ skater here shows more scope for next week.

CLAIRE & ANDREI Back on form. Skating out to a packed programme, giving more dance energy and superb posture and strength in lifts. Very strong overall package. I love Claire’s go for it attitude and the overall package she delivers with Andrei. She hasn't quite got the finesse and showbiz pizzazz that Lisa has and that is what I think she has to add to be right up there for me.

DUNCAN & MARIA He is able to dance and present as a showman. Duncan is he best of the men in this regard at this stage for me. Going out of line in the flip over lift I thought he was going to head off the ice with Maria! That was a scary moment for me watching (I think Maria's heart would have stopped0 – but well held sir being the result. He did not look too steady in places. This in part is because he’s going for it, which I applaud. You have to give all you’ve got in this competition. Maria, as for all the pro skaters here is doing a superb job. The skating needs to be developed more, the stronger the base platform the more you can do on it. How much Duncan can develop this will be key in the next few weeks for me.

Hmmm…. On the skating performances Emily and Daniel should have been in the skate offs. LISA and MATT and DUNCAN and MARIA being there meant we would loose someone who had skated well enough to stay in that week. Of course you never know how the skate offs can go. (Stefan v John last year being a case in point…) For the record I had LISA 5th and EMILY 6th in position. They were my lowest placed two.

We had two excellent performances in the skate offs. Duncan skated much stronger than for the competition itself. My decider is always, if I find other things equal the skating ability to dance on ice is the decider. So, whilst the presentation of both couples was of a very high standard, Duncan’s skating was stronger, and this is the tiebreaker for me, so I saved him.

LISA is on the arena tour to come in April so she is not out of the loop. Keeps Matt busy too!

Enjoy week 7 – PROPS WEEK. Remember Stefan last year with his broom. He was brilliant what’s going to happen this time?



Wednesday, February 21, 2007

DOI WEEK'S 4 & 5

Haven't had time to post in the last couple of weeks so here is a brief catch up.

Week 4 - Stephen was voted off with Kristina. Here we are at This Morning. Had a great time getting to know Stephen a bit more - lovely guy - I will take you up on the singing lesson.

Week 5 - Saturday - Dancing on ice week 5 complete. Kay is voted off. Show didn't have any breakthrough performances for me. It levelled off a little. Still amazing what the skaters and celebs can do but no one stood out. I have the feeling I'll see someone come on leaps and bounds this next week.

Monday - Interviews on This Morning with Kay Burley with hosts Phillip and Fern. Then afternoon for DOI Exclusive with Ben and Kay's partner Fred.

Tuesday - missed Sunrise on Sky interview! - flipping taxi didn't have enough time to get to studio and then found and just sat in a traffic jam and - bless him - the driver didn't know an alternative route! He didn't even know the way to Richmond. Stress! I've never missed a gig before and this was crazy. After the service we get to drive us to Dancing on ice and around from the drivers this was a bit of a shock. Anyway - no one died. I just hope I don't have that guy, on a busy day in London again. (Until he's learnt the options for routes that is!)

The boy's are looking good - Lee was much better and Duncan improved the most for me. Kieran was faster and is skating more over the ice. the sportsmen (Lee and Kieran) need to become stronger showmen now and the showman (Duncan) needs more attack throughout his routines - he had more speed in places but them eases off. He's realting very well to Maria.

The girl's - I hope Lisa gets the ice flow feeling as she is still up on her skates, this is the block for her as her presentation is very good. Emily is moving ahead very well - a little stutter is just to be put behind her. Daniel is caoching her (as he did Gaynor Faye last year) briliantly and you can see the relationship on the ice. Claire was thrown by the music choice ( part of me thinks she could have used the empotions as a trained actress and that would have added to the routine). Claire has gone from first to fourth. But that's fine she can always come back up. DOI changes week by week. For me Claire relaxing and relating more to Andrei will make a difference to the performance.

Other stuff - I wasn't well in week 4 - had flu I think so didn't enjoy the experience that much. Last week was better. If you saw Defrosted and me and Stephen skating I hope you liked it. My nephews (7 and 3) were laughing out loud at his antics. And the ice strator - I couldn't do noughts and crosses and explain skating at the same time - he's too fast for me!

A word for the professional skaters on Dancing on ice. Maria, Frankie and Mel are all doing amazing jobs as are Matt, Daniel and Andrei. Al the professional skaters have been committed and brilliant with their partners. We see the celebs loming large but much of the powerhouse behind them is their partner.

Hope you enjoy this week.

Love n

Monday, February 5, 2007


Week three of ITV's Dancing on Ice.

Chris and Jayne were brilliant with their opening routine. The setting up of the James Bond entry of Chris superb, and the risk of not getting the clasp done up quickly as jayne skated over and had diamonds put round her neck scared me. You can't afford to get it worng. This is live! What a great opening.

Claire was again the skating star. 5.5 was well deserved. As i said on air I think she can present out even more and I agree with jason about her giving more Oomph (my expression not his) to her dancing. that is her main challenge.

Kay skated with freedom and a "This might be the last time I'm going to skate so just enjoy it" abandon, for the skate off. This gave a better flow (FLOW - by this I mean more coverage over the ice). Kay had a more relaxed approach and a much better performance in the skate off than in the competition to my eyes.

Skate Off So What (perhaps that's what we should call it? We saw this happen last year with Stephane and Kristina and John and Natalia. Stephane was amazing in the skate off , he beat John and John left the show. Which we were all upset about as we wanted him to stay! That's the pig of being a judge sometimes you just have to choose the best at that moment - that's the job. I'm sure John got me back for my marking though. He did encourage me to wear a bright lime green bow tie for the last show. I did look daft! Thanks John...

Lisa was showing more skating along with her super presentation skills and Kyran had a packed programme. He is really skating out too. No wonder he got so tired in the week he is giving it his all.

I'm impressed by the quality of Lee's skating. He has the look of a classic male ice dancer. Slim, long legs, he looks the part. A long way to go with learning more show business presentation and skating skills but he could be a very elegant ice dancer. As you might have heard me say on air.

Duncan had a bit of a stutter. This can be good. I hope he can relax more in the next week and get some more ice coverage in to his routine. He has excellent audience presentation skills and great rhythm. He's a fighter and a showman I'm sure the skating will come.

I read that the show was watched by 10.1 million people on Saturday. If you were one of those thank you for watching.

My boss on Eurosport - Simon Reed - said it was like Saturday Night at the London Palladium (a show that used to be a feature for families on Saturday nights). That's how it feels to me. A show the whole family can watch that is exciting, glamourous, fun and just a bit scary and unpredictable too. my friends, probably like you are sitting down with the family every week. And fathers throughout the land are often finding that there are not many ice rinks close by. Can I go skating daddy being the call!

There was was one slight downer for me you might have picked up on air too. Two ladies in the audience started to harang Jason with direct abuse during the show when he was speaking. For me I can undetand a boo or a hurray ( a lot of expression can be put into both!) But the personal stuff reminds me of when I got acosted on the streets of Brighton a while back or the loud, bad mouthed girl on the train from the airport berating a poor French couple last week. I can't help feeling just a little cross and sad at this behaviour. It seems to be more prevalent these days But then perhaps I am old fashioned and value repect and manners too much?

Perhaps security can deal with this if it happens again, as Jason requested next time? I hope so.

That's it for this week. if you watch Eurosport on Thursday I'll be there with Chris howarth for the OD of a Grand Prix event. maybe see you there. I think it's Channel 410.

All the best


PS If you have questions I'll do my best to answer them. I can't give any behind the scenes details though. Otherwise I'll be thrown in jail - well probably not literally but I'll get into hot water! I can only comment on what's in the public domain.

Dancing on ice 2007 - the difference

It hardly seems a year ago. there we all were amazed at the exploits of celebrities skating with professional skaters. Well. here we are again. Bigger and better than ever. What a show it is and a privilege for me to be a part of it.

The difference this year for me comes in a number of ways:

(1) Celebrities know that it is possible to master (to a degree) the ice dancing part of the show It reminds of the fact that it took a long time to pass the barrier for the four minute mile. Then, once it was broken, in the next year more people broke the record too. There is a psychological point of: 'Will it work?" "Is it possible?" Now I think we are in the "It does work, how good can I be..." phase.

(2) The coaches and professional skaters know it can be done and more of what needs to be done. The demands of the show are huge. A new routine each week is incredible by normal competitive standards and models. But having been through it before there is something to build on. The downside of this is that you can know how much work is needed whereas before you were constantly running on adrenalin!

(3) Everything was new last year, now the production machine is stronger and what we see on the screen is a superb mix of professionalism and teamwork from a huge production team

(4) Chris and Jayne skating a new number every week. Wow. The risk of skating live to the nation each time and the effects and grace and power and fun they have in that. Brilliant.

(5) Personally I feel more used to the role. Last year I was very challenged by it at times as I had always hated the judges when I was skating. Some were great but a lot of the time deals were being made and I was too aware of them, particularly in international events. It soured my experience of competition I think. So for me to be one and try to be impartial all the time and supportive of all the skaters and not get wound up was a challenge for me. I learnt the pressures a judge faces. I learnt that you have to be strong and stand alone at times. There were good times too of course last year but it was a fierce learning experience at times. this year... perhaps I'm a bit more settled in myself and that's making a difference. And having had experience of this particular event as in anything you get more practised. (Hope I don't now make a bloomer next week!)

(6) The standard of skating from the celebrities is much higher straight from the start. I can't get over how good they get so quickly. the sets and the lights and music helps but it is amazing the job they do with their professional partners.

There's more but it's behind the scenes and my contract says that's top secret and I'll be put in the Tower of London if I divulge it! Well not exactly those words but close....

Talk soon


PS Thanks to Ken McKay for the use of the photo. This one was from last year... Tess did the styling...


My brother suggested I get blogging again as Dancing on ice is up and running....

So watch this space