The 1980 Olympic gold medallist Robin Cousins shares his thoughts on what he’s looking for as a judge on this year’s Dancing On Ice….

You’re known as a tough judge. Should you perhaps be more sympathetic towards skaters who are, after all, trying something incredibly difficult?

“I turn up on the Sunday when the show is filmed and I ignore everything apart from what’s happening on the ice during each performance. We can’t be objective as judges if we’re too close to these people so the less we know the better. Unlike the audience we judges don’t know what the celebrities’ week has been like and I certainly don’t want to know. I’m not interested in whether they’ve had a good or bad week, what their training has been like or if they’ve hurt their hand. I couldn’t care less.”

So what’s most important to you then?

“All I care about is that the celebrity skaters deliver the goods on the ice. If they do then fantastic, that’s all that matters. If they don’t then I will always give them constructive feedback and while I do tend to say it how it is, I would like to think I try and say it in a polite way and in a way I’d like to be spoken to myself.”

Do the skaters ever try to butter you up after the show?

“I don’t have a problem separating the social side from the business side of things and I’ll often have a great time talking to them in the bar afterwards. Someone may be a fantastic person socially but that doesn’t take away from the fact they’ve been a rubbish skater that night.”

We’ve seen the skaters performing for a couple of weeks now. When do you start to realise who might be really good and who can’t quite cut it on the ice?

“For me it all gets interesting around week four because that’s the point the better skaters really separate themselves from the nobodies. So it will be interesting to see what happens around then this year. I think we’ll be hard pushed to find someone of Ray Quinn’s standard. He was a worthy winner last year.”

What’s it like having Emma Bunton on the judging panel with you?

“Emma’s a great judge because she knows the importance of giving a performance doesn’t she? She’s performed in front of thousands of Spice Girls fans and she knows you can’t go out there and be all meek and half-hearted about things. You have to perform as if your life depends on it and she knows that.”

Dancing On Ice is on ITV1 on Sunday evenings.