'Dancing On Ice' down another two celebrities as viewers ask how series can continue

Jason Donovan. Dancing On Ice 2021 (ITV)
Jason Donovan. Dancing On Ice 2021 (ITV)

Dancing On Ice may only be at the halfway point of the series, but tonight it was down to six couples with another two celebrities absent - leaving viewers wondering how the contest could continue.

This week, the show has been hit once more by COVID and injury as Joe-Warren Plant tested positive for coronavirus and Jason Donovan took a week off with a bad back.

Plant and his partner Vanessa Bauer are out of the contest completely, following Rufus Hound's recent exit after the comedian also tested positive for coronavirus.

Joe-Warren Plant Dancing On Ice
Joe-Warren Plant had to leave after a positive COVID test (ITV)

At the moment, Donovan is only expected to miss one week as he has doctors' orders to rest his back, but other injured celebrities who have already had to bow out include Denise Van Outen who broke her shoulder in training, and Billie Shepherd who suffered a concussion.

Opening the show, host Holly Willoughby said: "Sadly, following a positive COVID test Joe-Warren and Vanessa have had to withdraw from the competition. We're all so sorry to see them go and we're sending our love to both of them."

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Frost/ITV/Shutterstock (11757931n)
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby
'Dancing On Ice' TV show, Series 13, Episode 5, Hertfordshire, UK - 14 Feb 2021
Phil and Holly joked that they would have to take to the ice (Photo by Matt Frost/ITV/Shutterstock)

Co-host Phillip Schofield added: "Unfortunately, Jason Donovan has been suffering with back pain, he's been advised to rest so won't be skating tonight...so it might be us.

"We wish him well. You never know, we hope to see Jason back next week."

Schofield had already joked last week that he might have to step in after the show ran out of reserve skaters, but viewers were left wondering whether there was any point in continuing.

Some wondered whether Dancing On Ice might have to be cut short this year, especially if Donovan has to drop out completely.

Contestants are allowed a week's bye for injury, but if he needs to take a second week out he will have to quit.

Other fans of the show thought that it would be unfair to make the remaining couples go through a skate-off and eliminate someone this week.

Last weekend included a very brief appearance from Matt Richardson who was a stand-in for Hound, but was voted out after his debut performance.

The celebrities aren't the only skaters to have been hit by injury in this year's series - pro skater Yebin Mok had to drop out before the series even started as her partner Graham Bell managed to stab her in the leg with the blade of his skate during training.

Couples performed romance-themed routines in tonight's show in tribute to Valentine's Day, with judges Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean also celebrating 37 years since their Olympic Gold-winning Bolero skate.

Watch: Rebekah Vardy arrives for Dancing On Ice training as libel case begins