People we love: Jayne Torvill

Maureen Paton / 27 December 2017

More than 30 years after that Boléro routine, she’s skating back into view with Christopher Dean – as judges on ITV’s Dancing on Ice.



Will you and Chris will be nice or nasty judges in the tough-talking style of Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood?

I’ve never judged before, so it’s a first. We’ll aim for constructive rather than destructive criticism so as not to discourage the contestants; we just want them to enjoy the experience.

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Previously, you were coaches on the show. How did you bring absolute beginners up to speed?

We were always very cautious. We didn’t try them on too many difficult things before they were capable - and we had medics on stand-by. There were a few injuries over the years, but that’s inevitable – the rink is slippy and can be dangerous.

You’ll be going on tour with a Dancing on Ice live show, after the series,  and will be performing, along with the contestants. What’s the appeal of life on the road?

It’s always very exciting to be in a big arena because of the roar you get from the crowd. We have lots of loyal fans; you hear stories of crazy ones, but most of ours are really lovely. When I’m away, I do miss home, just doing my normal little things, but I feel lucky because I get the best of both worlds.

How do you juggle childcare for your children Kieran and Jessica (aged 15 and 11)?

Part of the tour takes place during the school holidays, so the children will come with us then and see the shows, but otherwise my husband will stay at home and look after them while I’m away. We did have a nanny for seven or eight years, but we don’t need one now. 

Are your children interested in following in your skate-steps?

My son loves all kinds of sport, but his favourite is football. Jessica enjoys gymnastics, though she’s not as competitive as Kieran.

Your performance to Boléro led to endless rumours that you and Chris were in love for real…

If Chris and I were going to get married, we would have done it by now!

If Chris and I were going to get married, we would have done it by now! We will always have a bond between us and we really enjoy performing together. There are times when I spend much more time with Chris than with my husband, but Phil is not remotely jealous – it’s all part of the business because he manages both of us. When I met him, I was already working very closely together with Chris, so Phil got used to it early on.

Have you had many injuries?

Loads, though Chris has had more than me. I fractured my shoulder blade in the 1980s and had back surgery because of my over-arched positions on the ice. Chris has had knee and back problems as well as surgery on his shoulders.

Are you always the first to get up on the dance floor?

No way – I even feel a bit shy on social occasions because there’s that expectation that I’ll lead the dancing.

How did you feel about turning 60 last October?

If 60 is the new 40, I’d rather be 40… I didn’t make a big deal of it. But when Chris, who lives in the States, came over to prepare for Dancing on Ice, he took me to London’s Shard for a belated birthday present while Phil was at home with the children.

How do you stay fit now?

I play tennis and I do three gym sessions a week. I’ve taken up boxing to build up strength in my arms.

Any tips for staying fit as you get older?

Going to the gym is definitely more important. I see a lot of older people at mine, particularly during the day. Years ago, our parents would start to slow down at 60 but nowadays people my age are much more active.

Ever worried about slipping over on icy streets in winter like us ordinary mortals?

I don’t even like walking across the Dancing on Ice rink in shoes or boots…

Yes, always – I feel much safer in my ice-skates! I don’t even like walking across the Dancing on Ice rink in shoes or boots…

You started to suffer asthma attacks in your late 20s. Does that get in the way?

My asthma is well-managed and I carry a blue inhaler with me during training. I was going to run the 2017 London Marathon but I pulled a hamstring. The only reason I won’t be able to run it this year is because I’ll be on the Dancing on Ice tour.

Any secret ambitions?

I would love to have been Ginger Rogers for a day and dance with Fred Astaire, but at least Chris and I did a Rogers-Astaire routine on ice.

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve done recently?

We’ve done panto on roller blades in Manchester and Bristol. Learning lots of lines was the hardest work of all!

Any other plans?

I brought out a fitness video in 2009 after I shed two stone, so maybe I should bring out a boxing video next!

See listing for the new series of Dancing on Ice on ITV. Live tour 23 Mar-15 Apr, dancingonicetour.co.uk

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