'I'm relieved': Jason Gardiner talks 'disturbing' Gemma Collins

Gemma Collins may have left the rink, but her Dancing on Ice row with Jason Gardiner is still rumbling on as he has said how glad he is that she was eliminated from the show – and claimed she still hasn’t apologised to him.

TOWIE star Gemma Collins has been the ITV skating show’s most controversial signing, arguing with judge Jason Gardiner live on air and accused of diva behaviour and missing training.

Gardiner appeared on Lorraine the morning after he and his fellow judges voted the reality star off the show, where he said he was relieved she’d gone.

He said: “I’m relieved for the other contestants who are really brilliant, that now the focus can be on their merit and how hard they’ve worked.”

Later he added of the focus on their row: “I do regret that because these other contestants have been blooming whilst all of this has been going on.

“I’m glad that the contestants in the show now are going to have their time to shine.”

The argument kicked off early in the series when during a critique, Collins accused Gardiner of having sold stories about her to the papers and continued when she later claimed on air that they had become friends, but he denied it.

Gardiner explained: “I didn’t know who Gemma was until this series, I hadn’t seen her show so I wasn’t familiar with who she was.

“There was nothing personal until it did get personal, and she accused me of something really quite libelous.

“Actually, it was disturbing because she never really apologised either, so that for me shows her real character.”

Gardiner is known for his ‘Mr Nasty’ persona on the ice panel, but justified it by saying he was just trying to get the best out of the celebrities.

He said: “I know that sometimes it’s a bit of a slap, kiss, slap approach, but I see the potential in them and I want them to do well. We only have 10 weeks to take novices to get them to be a champion of Dancing on Ice.

“That’s an impossible task on paper and the only way we can do it is shake them up and say I’m looking at you as an expert who’s had over 35 years experience in this industry who’s going to give you tips and advice on how to excel.

“I’m honoured that I can be that person still for the show. I’ve got to have an opinion that matters. I do appreciate how hard it is, I’ve been on the show since day one, I’ve heard every excuse in the book.”

Before he shot to fame on Dancing on Ice, Gardiner was one of the original stars of UK makeover series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which recently relaunched its US version, and shared a shocking anecdote about his time on the show in the early Noughties.

Saying he was a big fan of the new Queer Eye, he told Lorraine: “We have moved on quite substantially. When we started doing it here, we would have brands that wouldn’t even lend to us because it was called Queer Eye and they didn’t want to have that association.”

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