Dancing On Ice launch to make TV history with first same-sex pairing

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Dancing On Ice will return to screens on Sunday night – and make history with prime-time TV’s first same-sex pairing.

Twelve new celebrities will take to the rink to tackle increasingly difficult skating routines, with Steps star Ian “H” Watkins competing paired with professional skater Matt Evers.

It follows years of speculation that same-sex couples would feature on a TV dance competition and comes after BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing featured a same-sex dance between two of its professionals in the last series.

Hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield (Ian West/PA)

The other celebrities taking part include Love Island star Maura Higgins, businesswoman Caprice Bourret, TV presenter Trisha Goddard and former Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya, who stepped in at the last minute when Michael Barrymore was forced to pull out of the show due to injury.

Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield return to host proceedings while Jayne Torvill, Christopher Dean and Ashley Banjo will be joined on the judging panel by John Barrowman, following the departure of Jason Gardiner.

Diversity dancer Perri Kiely, paired with Vanessa Bauer, is favourite to win, with bookmaker Coral offering odds of 5/4.

Higgins, Watkins and EastEnders star Joe Swash are also touted as contenders.

Dancing On Ice returns at 6pm on Sunday on ITV.