Luke Blackall: Lapping up the boos as Ice judge villain

Man About Town: The Dancing on Ice stars I had praised were hugely grateful. I hadn't understood before how seriously they all took it

As this year's Dancing on Ice contestants were squeezed into their outfits, told to grin and pushed in front of the camera this week, it reminded me of my own brush with skating celebrities.

Over a long lunch a few years ago, I was asked if I wanted to sit on the judging panel when the show went on tour. I laughed. I was neither a dancing expert nor an ice skater, and I find sequins unsettling. Also, I said, people who are "guest" judges should really be famous. Not someone who has been known to write about famous people.

It didn't matter, they said, that I knew little about the technique or artistry. I would be able to give my view on each performance and help choose a winner.

Fearful but fascinated, I headed to Wembley Arena for the big event. Bar the near-silence that greeted me as I was announced as the special "guest judge", it started well. I gave my views, told the stars that I liked their dancing (even the bad ones; having tried skating I'm impressed with anyone who can change direction), and those people were duly cheered. It was nice, wholesome family fun.

But back in the judges' dressing room I realised things were going too well. I was being too generous. The other judges reminded me that I didn't have to give everyone top marks.

But it was tricky. Backstage the stars I had praised were hugely grateful. I hadn't understood before how seriously they all took it. But I was given a lesson in that shortly afterwards when I gave my verdict on a former children's TV presenter.

I had seen her on TV during the series, and she had been very good, Skating live, I thought she wasn't quite so ambitious, and I said so. Actually, I think the words I used were "a bit boring". Unfair? Perhaps. The TV star looked shocked and, I'll admit, I felt a twinge of guilt.

But I wasn't prepared for what came next. Boos. From everywhere. And they weren't booing her, they were booing me. Surprisingly I found it rather addictive, and I started to see how the other judges enjoyed playing the camp villain.

Later that day I got a message from the presenter's then boyfriend. Apparently I'd really upset her. I tried to pass an apology on, but to no avail. Even now if I see her at a party, I can expect a reception colder than an ice rink.

For while we might see it all as a pantomime, for those taking part, it's the most serious drama.

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Marketing Executive

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Charter Selection: A professional services company ...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game