Nothing But TV Interview: Phillip Schofield on the return of Dancing on Ice.

The greatest show on ice is back, as Dancing on Ice returns to ITV for a brand new series.

Twelve celebrity skaters will be taking to the ice in a blaze of glory as each week they go head to head in a bid to become champions of the ice.

This year’s competing celebrities are reality sensation Gemma Collins, Coronation Street actress Jane Danson, Loose Women’s Saira Khan, X Factor favourite Saara Aaalto, Grease legend Didi Conn, Pussycat Dolls singer Melody Thornton, dancer James Jordan, singer and presenter Brian McFadden, actor and comedian Richard Blackwood, cricketer Ryan Sidebottom, Love Island’s Wes Nelson and Neighbours star Mark Little.

Once again the celebrities will be paired with professional partners, and their quest for success will be overseen by skating legends Torvill and Dean, who head up the judging panel.

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby will present the show live every week, as one celebrity heads home after a combination of viewer votes and scores from the judging panel.

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Phillip tells us more…

The series marked the start of your presenting double-act with Holly. For that reason, does it make you feel quite sentimental about doing it?

I suppose it is really! It’s funny because we were both nervous for very different reasons when we started Dancing on Ice. Holly was nervous because it was her first big night-time show…and it was a monster! For me, I was nervous because no one had any idea whether there was an appetite for it, until we got the figures the next day. None of us could believe how many people had watched it. We didn’t know we had a hit on our hands.

We had the four-year break until last year. How different did it feel going back to it last year?

Did it feel like no time had passed? It’s terrifying how fast four years goes by. What helped was that we were in a completely different place. If we had gone back to the same studio then that really would have been weird. What was exciting for us was a new purpose-built studio and all the things that we wanted to do at the end of the last series, we were able to incorporate this time. Changing the shape of the rink, putting the audience in a different place and big screens at the back so it was fully immersive. These were all things we would have loved to have done but it’s way too expensive when you’re into a series, so we were all able to put in place the changes we wanted to put in.

Looking at this year’s line-up, is there anyone that you’re intrigued to see?

I think the nation is intrigued to see Gemma! Now we know who she is partnered up with and Matt will be absolutely brilliant with her. I’ve said it to Gemma, “if you make the first show it’ll be a miracle” and she does seem very committed. We all know Gemma for being a bit of a quitter so I’m hoping she’ll be there for that first show. I think she’ll be actually very good! I think she is surprisingly good, so I think that would be great to see.

If you were describing the show to someone who had never seen it before, in a sentence or two, how would you describe it?

I would say that there are many dance shows and many singing shows around the world, but this is the only show that can truly draw blood! It’s dangerous, celebrities and their pros learning to skate on ice over a limited period of time. The pros desperately want to do well and the celebrities always find it harder than they think it’s going to be and there is real peril! It is dangerous and I do think it is the hardest of all the reality shows.

On that subject, do you think it’s quite underestimated in terms of the work that goes in to it, from the celebrities’ side?

Yes! There are little things that you forget and little things you didn’t know. If you fall over on the ice, you pull your hands in because the last thing you want is someone to skate over your fingers because they would chop your fingers off! I think there is a lot that people forget. To get your boots to fit properly they have to walk around their kitchens with their boots on, for weeks, until those boots feel comfortable! I’ve done amateur skating and obviously with the routine I did with Christine and you think ‘God, this hurts so much!’ So, those celebs whose skates have been stolen out the back of their cars, a lot of people would think ‘oh, that’s a shame’ but in actual fact that is stealing something that you have worked so hard to make them fit like a glove. There are many aspects that perhaps if you are watching it, you don’t realise how tough it is. Hopefully this year they’ll all look after their boots!

Dancing on Ice, Sundays on itv.