Dancing on Ice brings back Karen Barber as Head Coach

Justin Harp
Photo credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage - Getty Images

From Digital Spy

When Dancing on Ice returns in 2019, one of the stars from the first-ever series will be coming back with it.


ITV confirmed to Digital Spy on Wednesday (September 26) that one-time judge Karen Barber is being brought back to the reality competition as the show's new Head Coach. She'll be in charge of helping the famous skaters shape their weekly routines.

"It's a joy to return to Dancing on Ice as Head Coach," she said. "Having been involved with the show since its very first series, it holds a lot of special memories to me and I'm looking forward to working with this year's celebrities as we start transforming them into skating stars."

Photo credit: Karwai Tang/Getty Images

The ice dancer competed at two Olympic games in her professional career, and was on the original 'Ice Panel' of experts along with Nicky Slater, Karen Kresge, Jason Gardiner and Robin Cousins when the show premiered in 2006.

Barber remained a judge until 2011, where she was moved to the position of Head Coach. This on-air shift led to Dancing on Ice's most infamous moment when she clashed on live telly with 'Mr Nasty' Jason Gardiner.

When Barber took issue with one of his critiques, Gardiner taunted: "If your opinion mattered you'd still be on the judging panel."

Presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby were shown looking visibly uncomfortable as Barber pointed her finger at Gardiner, and complained: "You really are offensive, you bring so little to this panel."

The bad blood continued in interviews for several years after the on-air squabble. Gardiner has not yet confirmed whether he'll be back for the next series, but would ITV really pass up the chance for a rematch?

Dancing on Ice returns next year on ITV.

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