Michael Barrymore ‘devastated’ to pull out of Dancing On Ice

By Julia Hunt, PA Entertainment Correspondent

Michael Barrymore has said he was “absolutely devastated” to have to pull out of Dancing On Ice.

The veteran entertainer, 67, was due to appear on the ITV show but broke his wrist during a fall, and will now be replaced by former Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya.

He appeared at the end of Sunday night’s festive launch programme to say how upset he was that he could not take part.

He said: “You might have heard that since the Christmas show I’ve broken my wrist and unfortunately I can’t compete in the show.

“I’m absolutely devastated but I wish all the best to the other competitors and I’ll be here on January 5 with them, cheering them on and supporting them.”

The launch show was recorded before Barrymore hurt himself so earlier in the programme he was seen on the ice.

He also gave an interview in which he said he loved the industry and that “something happens” to him when he is entertaining.

“When I walk into the light, I come alive,” he said. “I didn’t think it would ever happen again.”

He said he was “so happy” to be given the opportunity.

The show introduced viewers to the new contestants and their professional partners, as well as welcoming back old favourites such as Gemma Collins.

The new contestants include presenter Joe Swash, dancer Perri Kiely, actress Lisa George, Paralympian Libby Clegg, Love Islander Maura Higgins and magician Ben Hanlin.

Newsreader Lucrezia Millarini, former talk show host Trisha Goddard, football star Kevin Kilbane, model Caprice Bourret and Steps star Ian “H” Watkins are also taking part.

Watkins is making DOI history in the show’s first same-sex pairing with Matt Evers.

The launch show also saw John Barrowman make his debut as a judge.

The actor is replacing Jason Gardiner on the panel, alongside returning judges Jayne Torvill, Christopher Dean and Ashley Banjo.

Host Phillip Schofield joked that there were now two silver foxes at the rink as Barrowman was sporting a new frosted hair-do.

“He looks like a badger though,” laughed Schofield, before co-host Holly Willoughby added: “But a hot one.”

Dancing On Ice returns on January 5.

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