He’s been on Dancing on Ice for all eight series, winning twice with Gaynor Faye and Hayley Tamaddon. Now Dan Whiston, 36, takes time out to tell Woman’s Own about skating with Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle in the current series…
How are you enjoying skating with Beth?
I can’t believe it. She’s got the bendyest legs I have ever seen in my life. I don’t put any pressure on her, but I will say that she is doing really well, her mindset is amazing, and I think if someone’s got the right mindset and focus they’re going to do well.
As an Olympian, she must be pretty focussed?
Every single training session we’ve done so far, we’ve completely corpsed all the way through because she’s got a really good sense of humour. She’s got a really contagious laugh as well. She’s quite naughty!
Are you hoping for that nice dynamic to come across on the ice?
Yeah, it already has. I think that’s what makes a skating relationship, when you get on well and have a good laugh. It’s not the Olympics, it’s Dancing on Ice! Obviously everyone wants to do well and make the final, but at the same time I believe you’ve got to have fun.
How did Beth adapt to the ice coming from gymnastics?
She’s found it really hard. In gymnastics she’s got to do everything on straight legs, everything’s a pointed toe, locked knees. Suddenly on the ice, it’s the opposite: all bent knees, all really soft and she’s found that a really hard transition because obviously she’s had years and years of being programmed in her head to do a certain thing and be a certain way.
Do you have high hopes for the series?
You can only be as good as your celebrity partner, but I feel really blessed this year to have someone like Beth.
We’re not giving her any pressure like that. All I want to do is let her enjoy it, be the best she can be, and just be really thankful for being in the show as long as we’re going to be in the show for.
What’s your favourite style to skate?
I love changing it up. I don’t have a favourite style, because there’s so many different styles out there that you can master. Me and Hayley Tamaddon did a routine called Jai Ho, which I loved. I think what makes a good performer is to adapt to the different styles you’re given.
Are you pleased to have Jason Gardiner back on the panel?
I’m really excited. I know sometimes what he says is a little bit barbed and sometimes he can hurt people. However, I think he’s good at his job and he brings something to the show. Everyone likes a panto villain! So I’m really pleased to have him back.
He did say he’s going to be a ‘nightmare’ to the celebs.
That’s what he’s there for. I don’t think he goes out to be a nightmare, I think he just goes out to be very, very blunt. There’s always some constructive criticism in his comments, if you look through the nastiness. That’s what I say to my celebrities: look for the positive in his negative, come back next week if you’re lucky enough to be on the show and put it right. He gets some respect for you then, if you listen to what he’s saying.
What’s it like backstage?
You can really feel it in the air before a live show, there’s such a buzz just before we go on. Everyone’s cheering, everyone’s got family and friends in the audience, everyone’s practising. It’s really quite a stressful night, but you’re never going to get a buzz like it and everyone is hugging each other backstage after. Everyone wants each other to do well, because they’ve all been there for the highs and lows of training, and at the end of the day nobody wants to go and nobody really wants anyone else to go. It’s quite an upsetting time when someone leaves the show.
Does it get very competitive?
There’s a competitive edge in there, in that everyone wants to do well and stay in the competition. As the competition goes on, and people are voted off, sometimes you get an unexpected eviction. When that happens, everyone is in shock and immediately everybody realises that nobody is safe.
It sounds like you’re all a big family?
Yeah we are, we all help each other, especially the pros. We’ve all been there and worked together for years and years so we know each other well. Celeb-wise, everyone does want to do well but at the same time everyone wants everyone else to do well too. It’s a nice vibe and a lovely show to be a part of.
See Dan skate with Beth on Dancing on Ice, ITV1, Sundays
To find out who Phillip Schofield’s dream DOI contestant is, click here: http://www.womansown.co.uk/?p=14310