A HOST of celebrities will be bringing the grace and spectacle of Dancing on Ice to life for North-East audiences this weekend.
Suzanne Shaw, Ray Quinn, Hayley Tamaddon, Kyran Bracken and Joe Pasquale are among the stars of the hit show who are performing in its spin-off arena tour.
The show is a swansong tour after it was announced that the most recent series of the ITV hit would be its last.
The tour, which started in Manchester last month, stars skating legends Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean and gives arena audiences the chance to see the sporting legends perform skating routines that were created exclusively for the tour.
Olympic gold medal winner Robin Cousins will head the panel of rink-side judges, alongside former professional skaters Karen Barber and Nicky Slater.
They will be on hand to give their expert feedback and all-important scores to the celebrities and their skating partners. Actress and singer Suzanne Shaw was among the skating stars who returned for the final series of the show.
“It’s really great to be back skating,” she explained. “The first time around was life-changing, and the second time around it was more a case of thinking ‘am I going to do well and how will it play out?’ I didn’t keep up the skating last time, but I think I think I probably will keep it up as a hobby now.
“With getting back into it, muscle memory kicks in so I managed to get back into it quite quickly, it was more a case of building up stamina.
“Things like the new boots we had this season also makes a difference as it means you have more support on the ice.
“I really enjoy being on the ice, it’s such a free feeling. It’s quite a unique sport and so entertaining, it’s very different from any other job I’ve done.”
As part of the tour, fans will see their favourite skating couples competing live for the judges’ votes and the audience can use their mobile phones to text vote for their favourite celebrity to win.
Audience votes will then be added to the scores from the judges to decide the overall celebrity winner. The winning couple will then take to the ice for a magical finale performance of Bolero.
Suzanne says the tour is a lot more relaxed than the live TV shows.
She explained: “The tour is different because you don’t have the pressure of a public vote which can be daunting and stressful.
“But on tour it’s very different, you can let go and the ice is a lot bigger so you can get your speed up.
“Also when you’re on the show, you don’t really get to see the other contestants, you’re training during the week and so busy, but on tour everybody gets to know each other.
“It’s different for the audience too. Sometimes you watch pieces on TV that doesn’t always come across as fast and spectacular as it was and other times things look more amazing on TV.”
Former Emmerdale actress Suzanne, who is currently penning a musical says, like many, she was sad to hear the show would not be returning.
“It’s a massive shame that the show’s come to an end, even Phillip Schofield is gutted that it’s finished,” she said.
“It’s a great family environment and the same people have worked on it for the past nine years.
“It’s emotional but I feel honoured to have been part of it and to be celebrating with Jayne and Chris, celebrating 30 years since their Olympic gold and celebrating nine years of the show.”
West End star Ray Quinn, who went on to win the Dancing on Ice All Stars final series, said: “I’ve had some amazing highlights in my career, and winning Dancing on Ice in 2009 is certainly one of the best.
“I am thrilled to be able to continue my time on the ice and be part of the tour. I’m buzzing to be able to put on a great show for fantastic audiences around the country.”
l Dancing on Ice - The Final Tour is at Newcastle Arena from tomorrow until Sunday with a mixture of matinee and evening performances. Tickets are available from Tel. 0844 493 6666.