DANCING ON ICE – STRAIGHTEN THE RECORD

STATEMENT: Monday, 24 January 2011 – Photos © Ken McKay

MY THOUGHTS ON DANCING ON ICE – JANUARY 2011

The Series is now in full swing of course – week one of the competition now started. I have been through, as I expected a Roller Coaster of emotions since learning I was not on the Judging panel. These included relief to loss to anger at myself for not having negotiated myself and I am getting fairly level about it. Ruthie (Henshall) said I’d go through hell – it’s not that bad. I do miss the team though!

However I’m not there and as I never actually had an offer of employment I imagine it would take a miracle to get me there again. I don’t think you can do something for five years, and have done a good job, according to the producers last year, and not have some affiliation for the show so  I would re-iterate that I wish everyone well in the show and continued success. I would add that an article I did for The Daily Mail recently did not accurately reflect what I had said nor my feelings for the show which I watched in its first week. Also that I found watching the first episode strangely cathartic and fun. It burst the bubble of the breakdown in relationships that had, at least in part, caused my actions that led me to not being on the show.

Therefore to ‘SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT’ and to give my feedback I write below my thoughts on SHOW ONE, the show overall and the possible relationship dangers that lie ahead…

THE SHOW OVERALL
It went quickly for me and I enjoyed it. Bizzarre to watch in a friends living room but somehow great fun. My audience of three enjoyed my performance. Chris and Jayne as ever leading a spectacular number, Stomp on ice – a nice touch. Formally being rinkside and watching C & J over the last few years has inspired part of my journey – it’s been great to learn from watching them in action. Superb show people as well as worthy champions of their day. I can imagine many of the same team working in technical editing, camera work and costumes makeup along with ‘new recruits’ experiencing the reality of ultra long days and the glamour that is DOI. I always love hanging out with the techies and Director types. They do a superb job live. It is ITV live entertainment playing full out. Of course talent plays a key part. Phillip and Holly holding fort and our judges in place…

I was surprised by some of what I saw and some of the changes designed to refresh the show. To me some of these haven’t added value. Perhaps they will not affect the ratings, perhaps it doesn’t matter. When I saw it though, and have spoken to skating people, it did seem that the changes had cause them to not appreciate the show as much. In my humble opinion some of the things that have been done take away the frisson, intimacy and validity of Dancing On Ice. The gloss, the glamour the appeal to certain demographics will of course endure and people will live without those facets and the slot will drive people to watch. A twenty one year old young lady told me yesterday “I watch everything Celebrity.” So it will work for her. But, from a cross section of people in ice and outside ice I have heard questions, particularly about the judging panel having no ice dancers on it. Now I’m not watching the show at present, so this was my initial view – Christiane said week 2 was much tighter and I am sure the show will bed down. But – so that the record is straight, as against what was published nationally, here are my views from that first show.

MARKS OUT OF TEN
I do think that changing the marking to ‘out of ten’ looses the brand of the six that helped make DOI successful and linked back to Chris and Jayne’s glory days. Making the show ‘the same as all others’ is not a good idea in my opinion. Practically it gives the Judges less increments than before as well which means they may have to tie more. (0.5’s added in week three – I understand, that gives more range.)

FOUR OFF IN FIRST TWO WEEKS – HOME AUDIENCE ONLY JUDGE
No – Angela Rippon was great in her content and her daring to go for three turns and spiral spin and back crossovers. She had no chance – the text demographic played against her and she was toast. The Judges not being able to have 50% of the vote hung people like Angela out to dry. It didn’t work. Twelve competitors – judged from the start was better. I cannot see the speed from my armchair – it is much more difficult to be glamourous at speed and that sometimes looks worse from home. You only see that in the studio… Having a public only vote is therefore flawed – even if it makes good revenue! Daniel Whiston – the master of creating the illusion of lovely skating with his partner wafted Kerry Katona around and I counted her doing – maybe five steps and a spiral. Nothing like Angela’s content and skating – but the home viewer won’t see that – if I’d have been there I would have pointed this out –  All credit to you though Dan, you do a super job.

One thing I don’t understand – we were in a phase “Before the competition starts?” But I have logos, I am watching Dancing On Ice and people are being judged and voted off so….  It’s started – we just don’t have judges’ votes counting… How can we be in ‘It’s not started yet land?’

MORE CELEBS?
Just having more celebrities is a difference but feedback I get is – the level of celebrity of the show is not very high. Now I know little of this with regard to TV Celebrity as I watch little TV, however as far as ‘accomplishment celebrity’ is concerned the likes of David Seaman, Dame Kelly Holmes, Kyran Bracken and many more come up for me. In this regard I do not recognise that this year – sorry if I am deriding anyone – it could be I just don’t follow a certain sport/genre. Could it be that more means we have less funds to get more stand out people or that those people do not wish to be made to look idjits in front of their families on national TV?

ABUSIVE TV?
That was and is still a big issue for me – I think Jason Gardiner has crossed the line beyond nasty to people he decided to pick on in the past. Often in a very clever way of tone working over actual words spoken. This was particularly apparent towards Sport People such as Dame Kelly Holmes and last year Sharon Davies. Sharon’s treatment last year was the pinacle of publicly humiliating someone and – for me – with what may be an old fashioned view that treating people well and encouraging them is the way to be, it rankles. In these days and times it will be a daring Producer that puts on a show where the ‘requisite nastiness’ is not a built in factor. The person that does that might be surprised at the result. In show one this year Jason – who I am surprised to see there – but who is perhaps becoming a part of the overall ITV talent team was charming and constructive with the possibility of barbs mentioned but not actioned… In the past I have had a concern that his profile and comments have been modeling a path to celebrity and fame for youngsters watching. I went to see Biggins in Pantomime last Saturday – the baddie was the baddie but without the twist of the knife – and he lost in the end. That’s more my type of show rather than seeing people belittled in front of their families as they try to perform – however inelegantly. Yes they, the celebs, are being paid, yes they know the game, or so I hear people say but I believe and have seen it have a negative impact on people (for celebs are people) and I have felt that myself. I hope that this type of treatment does not repeat itself this year. I can envisage the animosity between Karen and Jason getting personal which will step over the line of a family show… I suppose though – after the watershed  – all that is acceptable? I think that the argument – This is just part of television and what is expected would find me firmly on the side of a more pantomime approach. I think we are crabs in the pot with the water being heated up bit by bit with regard to television – but there I go again – old fashioned me.

THREE JUDGES ONLY
Three judges, only one of which is a skater and non of whom are ice dancers. Robin is my friend and Olympic Champion and expert in choreography across all forms of skating but… when I used to give different marks to him my take on this was that I saw “With the eyes of an ice dancer.” I look – like a hawk – to see enablement and to see the celebrity skating for themselves. I may be wrong but Robin’s Figure Skating – single skating – background  does not give him that view. I think it’s important to have that type of view on the panel. So – three judges is a mistake in my eyes. Whilst this is clearly not an ice dancing competition – it is an entertainment show – I feel it is important to have a balance that represents the ice content from a judging point of view. I hope that at least one other judge, with an ice dancing background is brought in next year. Four judges is probably enough – but five did give a dynamic!  Less judges gives everyone the chance to speak. But, with the set being bigger and the judging panel going from five to three it looks in its staging and is light. Jason and Robin were eloquent and can speak for ages – as can I – that was part of what caused the tension last time – not enough time. Emma in show one I think found this a new space and was not at ease. She’s a showgirl though and smart and she will grow into it. But three is not enough for me nor for many people I speak with. We need at least four please and it is ‘on ice’ therefore – ice qualified judges makes sense – even to Joe and Joanne public.

KAREN BARBER ROLE
I advised the Producers that I felt we were abusing people at times in the past as celebs had no right to reply. I was assured that they did. However this did not tally with what some of the celebs had told me and particular instances I observed. Perhaps there was a lack of communication/interpretation to some… Either way I have seen and I have personally been “hung out to dry’ looking like and feeling like a fool in front of millions or thousands of people. It is not a pleasant experience. I think this can be cumulative – last year I did not look forward to the show and parts of it were very very challenging. Most of the time though it was super. Funny how the bad bits scream out though. I said that DOI was not pantomime as the baddie never got his come uppence and there was no Fairy Godmother. I am thinking that they have taken my advice and appointed Karen as a type of protector come Fairy Godmother for the Celebs. Unfortunately for me the setting of this and the ‘Head Coach’ role just don’t work. If you are the coach show them on and off and be with them but not in the celebs area as a contrived – ready to have a fallout with Jason – set up. There is also the lack of relevence – if Karen is judging, which was itself a conflict of interest, but made good TV at times, then debating with Jason is in the context of different visible marks. I don’t think this structure works. The set being spread out doesn’t help. Don’t get me wrong – a voice for the Celebs encouraging them is good, but the current structure is not clear to me and others and is too contrived. I don’t know how Jason will deal with it but the thought of judging and then having Karen have a go at your judging wouldn’t have filled me with joy. The Coach says “I hear what you say – we will work on that, or could you clarify that.” However a combative situation is in danger of getting out of control as the judge stamps on the coach and their charge.

THE SET
Huge new set, impressive, a ceiling and grandiose pictures resulting – of the set. Superb change of lighting at start of Vanilla Ice from Lighting Designer and Director Paul Kirrage. However it was not as intimate I was told. The audience not as much in evidence. I found the set taking over and feeling distant from the skating action. The central area seemed like a cave with nothing filling it – could we have a logo there? One friend said she liked not having the judges there – it made it less cluttered – easier to see the performances. For me it was bare and seeing Chris and Jayne sat in silhouette at the side was distracting. It felt a bit as though the investment in the set had overpowered the action. The ‘apparent scale’ – because you can’t really tell from at home – somehow left the performances smaller at times. Maybe in the coming weeks closer shots will bring this action closer to me – as the viewer?

FINALLY
That’s it. Dancing On Ice is a big show that will truck on perhaps for another five years or more. Change is good as it refreshes. Tweaking and bedding down areas will happen. Some of the changes will be re-evaluated I’m sure. At the end of the day it will come down to ratings and they will stay good because we love ice in Britain. But, some of the skating public has been distanced and I hope that my contribution above might be a helpful addition to the end of series show evaluation. Maybe I should stay quiet but then, if I’m a stand for the show being great, what good would that do?

PEOPLE
Kevin I know you will be missing me and your shoe cleaner will be bereft without me… Stephen – I shall miss the safe space of ‘wardrobe’, Anna – no more giving me a pep talk – hope your girls are great. Heidi/Carol – no problems with scheduling ‘The Unschedulable One’ anymore… Jason.. well you’ve probably not noticed I’m not there, Robin – you’re looking and sounding great, Bisi – missing that trip and talk of Nigeria and Newcastle – the Toon are doing well. Paul, will miss our directing chats, Fred – who am I to drink Guinness with? and to all my friends lots of love…

ONWARDS
I’m not there and this has given me a bit of humble pie and a kick up the rear to get on with my own stuff. Not comfortable but helpful in its way. I do miss the show but have found a rich place to write from and useful personal insights as well as having some super Sundays being some of the benefits.

And – for the record – I wish everyone associated with DANCING ON ICE  great success, no matter what a headline may say in a newspaper!

Nicky Slater – January 24th 2011

9 responses to “DANCING ON ICE – STRAIGHTEN THE RECORD”

  • Ruth Paul says
  • Laura says
  • Shazzy says
  • Swing_3's says
  • Schnee2 says
    • Nicky Slater says
      • Schnee2 says

Leave a reply

*

  • tease-and-stocking

  • tease-and-denial


  • sissification

  • my-princess-goddess

  • mesmerize

  • jerkoff-instruction


  • humiliation

  • handjob


  • foot-fetish

  • female-domination

  • dirty-talk

  • cum-eating-instruction

  • chastity

  • ass-worship