Dancing on Ice judges Robin Cousins, Louie Spence and Katarina Witt tell TV Times magazine about skating, cakes and Laila Morse…

How would you describe your judging style?

Louie: “I just judge what I see and I’m here solely for the dance and performance element. I’m not judging on their ice technicality. For me, it’s all about from the knee up – their performance level, their lines, their musicality and their performance as an interpretation of the music. There are two world-class Olympic champions here who can look at the technicalities below the knees. We’re looking for very different things, like on week one Katarina and I disagreed when presenter Andy Akinwolere went out because she thought he was a much better skater.”

Katarina: “And I was soooo right!” (All the judges laugh)

Louie: “Yeah, of course, but for me, dancing wise, he was messy!”

Louie, have you got any skating experience?

Louie: “I’ve done skating like everybody else – when the rinks come out at winter. But absolutely I am not an ice skater.”

Robin: “But already in a couple of weeks, and it’s happened with other judges in the past, you see something as a dancer and ask why does or doesn’t it work on ice.”

Louie: “I want to have a basic knowledge, but I don’t want to know the mechanics of it. Sometimes I’m like [puts his hands over his ears] ‘Robin, Robin, I don’t want to know,’ because it’ll change my view on it.”

The new-look Ice panel has had a good reaction from fans…

Robin: “It’s been fantastic! I’ve known Katarina for years and I met Louie a long time ago, so there’s mutual respect. It felt instantly comfortable.”

Louie: “None of us need to make a name for ourselves or are looking for publicity for ourselves because we already have profiles and the British public know us. And that’s the most important thing because we’re here to judge as judges not to be the centre of attention.”

Do you have any contact with the celebrities backstage?

Robin: “We sometimes know people from other contexts and have worked together before. As the week’s progress and the celebrities get more comfortable and we have less people – meaning there is more time hanging around – they will generally find us afterwards to ask what we meant because they genuinely want to know.”

Katarina: “For me it’s different as [living in Germany] I’m not emotionally involved with the celebrities by seeing them on TV or knowing them through interviews. So sometimes I can be a little fairer, because I don’t get distracted by how much I like somebody.”

Robin: “Which is the difference for the audience because initially they don’t care how the celebrities skate. People vote before they’ve even seen them on the ice! Allegiances do change, but it’s a popularity contest at the beginning. We also find out how popular people are within the demographic of the viewers – and every year it happens, people we assume would be safe are gone. Who’d have thought the millions of EastEnders fans wouldn’t have saved Laila Morse?”

Louie: “I find that refreshing – that the public see what we see. She wasn’t the best by any means, she was one of the worse.”

Robin: “No, not ‘one of the worse’, Louie, she was the worst. There has to be one.”

Louie: “Well, yes.”

Katarina: “Guys, come on, poor Laila.”

Robin, you bake cakes for the Ice panel. Are there any today?

Louie:” We had chocolate cake last week!”

Robin: “There’s nothing today because I’ve not been home as the National Skating Association are hosting the European championships in Sheffield and I’ve been there for rehearsals.

“I like to bring something for us to snack on between the rehearsal and show, you know, when you get a bit peckish and need something to go with your cup of tea. I do bake a great carrot cake. I made brownies last week. I can’t bring them every week, otherwise they’ll get used to it!”