Dancing on Ice hot favourites Beth Tweddle and Dan Whiston talk to TV Times magazine about skating, scary maneouvres and pot plants…
It’s obvious how well you guys get on. Is an off-screen friendship crucial in this contest?
Dan: “To be honest, it’s the key to doing well. If you connect with your partner and have a good time, you’ll want to spend more hours together on the ice.”
Beth: “If you enjoy it, you’ll give 100 per cent and look forward to training. Also, if you don’t get on, you maybe won’t trust each other as much and I’ve got to trust Dan when he’s flipping me upside down!”
Dan: “Some tricks we’re planning are so dangerous that if I can’t trust Beth to put her foot in a specific place at a given time, there’s going to be a serious accident.”
Yikes! Can you tell us what you’re working on for the semi-final or final?
Together: “It’s top secret!”
Beth: “It’s really scary stuff.”
Dan: “Put it this way, she’s been wearing a crash helmet for some of it.”
Beth, how would you describe Dan’s teaching skills?
“He’s serious when he has to be, but he’ll have a laugh as well. It hasn’t come across on the training videos, but 90 per cent of the time we’re laughing. Dan’s worked out how I process things. He now knows that when he gives me steps, he then has to give me five to 10 minutes to programme them into my head. Once it’s in my brain, he’ll then go through it slowly with me. If I fall over, he’s learnt that he can laugh at me. If I don’t move, he’ll come and check I’m OK!”
What’s Beth like as a pupil, Dan?
“Brilliant. Her way of thinking, that she’s just described, means that I don’t have to say things twice, which saves time as we can fit more into our two-hours a day training session. What helped me was visiting where Beth trained as a gymnast.”
Beth: “It was the funniest thing! For six weeks, he was like, ‘Just get on with this’. I was so out of my comfort zone and always replied, ‘All right, just because you’ve been doing it for 25 years!’ So I took him into the gym and showed him the tumble-track where we do all of our flips and a massive drop into sponge.”
Dan: “It was so scary. I know it sounds wimpy, but I had a go and screamed like a 12-year-old girl – which was dead embarrassing in front of Beth’s coach! But seeing Beth in her own environment really helped.”
Beth, does your gymnastic background help your skating?
“It does in the air because if Dan tells me to do something I listen and know exactly where my body is. But, on the ice, no. For 20 years I’ve been taught to be straight-legged and keep my chest up. Dan’s had to retrain all of that.”
Dan, you’ve won the show twice with Gaynor Faye in 2006 and Hayley Tamaddon in 2010. What would it mean to you both to win this year?
Beth: “Obviously you do it for yourself, but it’s also for the public as it means they can see how hard you’ve worked. We’ve tried hard and done lots of extra classes like acting and ballet to try to improve our performance.”
Dan: “It would mean loads to get to that point, as it would mean the public has really enjoyed it and we want to entertain them. I’ve also just moved house and at the moment I’ve got one trophy on one side of my bay window and one on the other. What would look lovely is one in the middle.”
Beth: “Not that he’s getting cocky or anything!”
Dan: “Don’t worry, Beth, there’s no pressure. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll put a nice plant there instead!”
Beth: “No, I’ll buy you a medal – just for putting up with me!”