Bradford’s Gareth Gates and Hayley Tamaddon are skating into the New Year by competing in the last series of TV’s Dancing on Ice.
The ITV show returns tomorrow for a final series, reuniting winners and contestants from the last eight years – and some will be training at Bradford Ice Arena, which has a long association with Dancing On Ice.
Gareth Gates, who competed in the show in 2008, has been practising at the Bradford rink. In the new series he joins Pudsey actress Hayley Tamaddon, a previous winner. Hayley, who played Delilah Dingle in Emmerdale and is now in Coronation Street, playing Steve MacDonald’s pal, Andrea, was a hit with judges first time around and is a favourite to be crowned ultimate Dancing On Ice champion.
Other celebrities taking part in this final series include Bonnie Langford, David Seaman, Ray Quinn and Todd Carty and Joe Pasquale.
While previous show winners will want to retain their title, runners-up will have old scores to settle and show favourites will want to wow viewers with their ice skills.
Olympic skating legends Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean will return one last time to mentor the celebrities battling it out for the title of ice king or queen – and the star duo will also be celebrating the 30th anniversary of their Olympic Bolero win.
Presenters Phillip Schofield and Christine Bleakley will be rink-side presiding over the action, and former Olympic champion Robin Cousins will again be heading up the judging panel.
The district has produced several past contestants on Dancing On Ice, which pairs celebrities with skating professionals, and Bradford Ice Arena has been used for training for the show over the years.
Krystyna Rogers, who runs the Bradford rink, said some contestants would be training here during this series.
“The show makes a big difference to us, every year it really boosts the numbers of people using the rink,” said Miss Rogers. “We are looking to have a major facelift this year and we rely on income from the public.
Last year Miss Rogers told the T&A the building was “crying out to be completely refurbished” and she has contacted Bradford Council about funding requests.
Hayley Tamaddon trained at Bradford Ice Arena with her partner Dan Whiston, as did Matthew Wolfenden, of Norword Green, near Wyke. The former Brighouse High School pupil, who plays David Metcalfe in Emmerdale, was crowned winner of the 2012 series.
Former Coronation Street actor Chris Fountain, of Wibsey, trained in Bradford before reaching the Dancing on Ice final in 2008, and Gaynor Faye, winner of the first series, also trained here. Other past contestants from Bradford include Hollyoaks actress Jennifer Metcalfe, from Holme Wood, who took part in 2011.
Dancing On Ice starts on ITV1 tomorrow at 6.15pm, with the first skate-off show at 8.30pm.