Dancing On Ice nightmare as I step into the shoes of Jason Gardiner
Last month I was dispatched to Sheffield to undertake one of the most terrifying jobs I have done to date.
The task at hand was to sit on a celebrity panel at Sheffield Arena for the Dancing On Ice tour and be as mean to the skaters as Jason Gardiner is in the TV show. In front of THOUSANDS of people. NIGHTMARE.
Well I did it and along the way I got heckled, I got booed and Andi Peters told me I had 'no passion for life' OUCH.
You can read how I got on here...
Before the show begins I'm sitting down, specs in place and poison pen poised, when actor Gary Lucy and Boyzone star Mikey Graham approach.
Plonking themselves down either side of me they are clearly trying to butter me up with cheery small talk. I haven't seen them skating yet but I'm not about to be nice.
I eye Mikey's bright green, sequinned jacket with distaste'.
"Aren't you a bit old for this get-up?" I ask. "You look like a bauble on ice."
Next I pick on Gary for his orange tangoed glow. "You look like an oompha loompa," I berate. "More planning, less tanning Gary."
Gary it turns out is skating first so remembering how much Jason hates him (he labeled him a 'total bore') I decide to give him some Gardiner-esque words of wisdom.
"To be honest I'd say stick to the day job," I smile. "But I guess now The Bill has been axed you can't..." That should stand him in good stead for his performance.
Leaving Gary looking disheartened I am lead out to the arena with the other judges: Karen Barber, Kyran Bracken, Christopher Biggins and Nicky Slater. When I'm introduced as the guest judge I get a polite cheer from the crowd. Yup, that won't last long.
There are screams and whoops as Gary takes to the ice with professional skater Maria and spins around to You Never Can Tell. I start tapping my foot enthusiastically then promptly chastise myself. Gary may have done a brilliant routine but I'm not here to be nice. Instead I land him with a mediocre 3 out of 6. A murmur of boos ripples around the arena. I smile smugly.
Next up in Emily Atack. She glides around the ice elegantly with partner Fred to Saving All My Love. She has clearly come a long way since the TV show - not that I plan to tell her that.
Taking a deep breath I press 2 on my electronic scoreboard. As my mark is beamed around the arena boos start to echo all round.
Host Andi Peters frowns at me.
"Jason, I mean Charlotte, two?" he asks incredulously.
"Yes," I say defiantly. "She's pretty to look at but there just wasn't any Atack." I grin at my clever pun. The crowd boo. Karen Barber shakes her head at me. Job done.
Mikey is up next with a slick little number to Cecelia. He should have the luck of the Irish, but tonight I decide his luck has run out. I press 3. Proud to mark him lower than anyone else.
Next I stare unimpressed at a dazzling routine from Dancing On Ice veteran Clare Buckfield.
"How many times has she done this tour?" I question. "Isn't it time she gave up and had her own 2Point4 Children?"
I'm distracted by the next contestant, former Hollyoaks actor Chris Fountain, who is wiggling his pert backside rather magnificently to 'The Way You Make Me Feel' right in front of the judging panel. Wowzers. Focus, Charlotte, focus.
His performance is flawless and he pulls off an amazing headbanger with partner Brianne. Fellow judge Kyran leaps out of his seat to give a standing ovation.
The sixes are being dolled out with gusto so of course I decide to rain on his parade - deliberately marking him low with a 5. This time the boos are deafening. Woman and children are scowling at me from every angle.
Actress Gaynor Faye is up next with a sob story about falling over and cutting her face earlier in the week. Something inside me starts to thaw and in an involuntary moment of madness I give her a 4.5.
Even Andi Peter's is amazed.
"What's going on Charlotte?" he asks.
"I don't know, I really wanted to be mean," I stammer, inwardly berating myself for being such a soft touch. Jason would never have buckled so easily.
There is only one thing for it. Former champion and ladies' favourite Ray is going to have to take the fall.
As he whizzes around magnificently to I've Gotta Feeling with partner Alexandra, I purse my lips. I can see the rest of the panel are loving it so I give him a mean 4.5. Boos thunder around the arena.
Andi pounces on me again.
"It's only the first night!" I explain. "It's character building."
"You really have no passion for life do you?" Andi retorts.
No, Peters, I do not.
I follow-up by laughing in the face of Hayley Tamaddon's acclaimed Jai Ho with a stingy 5.
"Take that, Stage School Barbie," I mutter. By now the rest of the panel have stopped talking to me.
It's time for the interval and no sooner have I headed back stage than I'm confronted by an outraged Ray.
"Character building?" he repeats.
"I'm sorry Ray," I explain. "You did well in the TV series but tonight I thought you looked like a gummy bear on a caffeine high."
To my horror Ray's face crumples. Oops. I rummage in my bag and hand him a tissue.
Biting my lip I remember the mantra I read on Jason's Twitter page: "I'm like an onion I have many layers and if you cut me I'll make you cry." In the spirit of Gardiner I must carry on...
I am distracted from Ray's blubbing by an angry looking Emily.
"Emily, Emily," I say condescendingly. "The fact is you're about as good as a poodle wearing oiled roller skates."
"Oh yeah?" she challenges. The next thing I know she has me in a headlock and is tugging at my hair. Ugh.
"Bring back Todd Carty!" I shout, wrestling away from her. "Even he was better than you!"
I dust down my dress and head back out into the arena to judge the final boleros between the two top scorers Chris and Hayley.
The second I step out into the spotlight I am blasted with deafening boos and heckles. I ignore everyone and amble over to my seat. It's amazing how blasé you can be about being public enemy number one.
Ten minutes later Hayley and partner Dan are crowned champions and with a string of withering put downs in my wake my work here is done.
Now there is just one challenge ahead of me, how to sneak out the arena without being lynched...
To get tickets for the tour visit www.dancingonicetour.co.uk
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