He’s got three winners’ trophies under his blades, so it’s fair to say that Dancing On Ice wouldn’t be the same without Dan Whiston.
The Blackpool skating star is thrilled to be back on the show and in training for its return to screens in the new year, paired with Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker.
“I love Dancing On Ice; it’s been life changing for me,” he said. “I can’t believe it’s back and it’s really nice to be able to talk about it now and say I’m doing it.
“I knew for a couple of months, but it’s been so hard to not say anything.
“It was so horrible; I was so excited and people were asking me about it at the Zumba classes I teach. And of course I had to get cover for the classes, which kind of gave the game away - but I still couldn’t talk about it.”
Dan, who grew up in Poulton and attended Baines School, appeared on all nine series of Dancing On Ice between 2006 and 2014, and winning it three times made him the show’s most successful professional skater.
His first win came in series one with Emmerdale actress Gaynor Faye, then he won with Blackpool actress Hayley Tamaddon and with Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle. He also partnered Hayley to second place in the final All Stars series before ITV pulled the show.
Since then, he’s branched out from skating, launching successful franchise businesses on the Fylde coast, and ‘moved on’ from the show.
“The thing is, I didn’t think it would ever come back,” he said. “Two years had passed and I just thought that it wouldn’t happen. I thought that chapter had finished.
“We’ve opened Clip N Climb, me and Karen [Barber, fellow Dancing On Ice star] and the Subway franchises, I was in shows with Andrea Bocelli in Verona last year, coaching at Blackpool Pleasure Beach; I had moved on with other things.
“But it was a definite yes to go back. I felt really honoured with them only asking four of us to come back and to be part of it again. It was such a massive part of my life for a decade and to win it three times was massive.
“Because of Dancing On Ice, I performed at the Royal Variety Performance and in the London Olympics opening ceremony.”
As well as the honour of being asked back to the show, Dan’s grateful for the support fans of Dancing On Ice have shown him.
“I really appreciate the support,” he said. “People in Blackpool are so warm, all the way through Dancing On Ice I felt that, but it’s come back in such a surge of energy since it was announced I’d be back.
“I always knew there was support, through social media, but with my Zumba classes, I get to see it in reality too - and it’s great.”