TV Times talks to Hayley Tamaddon and Daniel Whiston about being big favourites to win this year’s Dancing on Ice.

So Hayley and Dan, tell us how you first met…
Hayley: “We met at Blackpool ice rink when we were 12-years-old. My theatre school was behind it and in my breaks I watched Dan skate! I was so intrigued with skating as a child but wasn’t allowed to ever skate or have lessons so I used to watch him instead. One day Dan came over and we started talking – and that was it, love at first sight!”
Daniel: “Hayley stood out in a crowd because of her hair! She had the biggest fringe I’ve ever seen in my entire life – two foot off her forehead!”

How did you get into ice-skating, Dan?
Daniel: “It was my sister’s fault! She was the original skater in the family and my mum and dad used to put me by the barrier to watch her. Then one day they said, “Skates on, you might as well go on too”. It was brilliant and, that was that, I’ve never looked back! I started when I was seven and I love the sense of freedom when you’re out there skating.”

Did you know you’d definitely be partnering each other?
Hayley: “No – the producers played a big joke on us. Right up until we met at the rink they said I wasn’t going to get Dan. I cried like a wally when he tapped me on the shoulder!”
Daniel: “They told me the day before so I was in on the joke! When we made eye contact on that day we met on the ice, it was an amazing moment.”

Do you think your friendship has given you the edge in the contest?
Hayley: “Absolutely not. It obviously helps that we’ve known each other a long time but it doesn’t help with the skating. I’ve never skated before so I’m in the same boat as everyone else when it comes to that. I guess I really trust Dan but whatever partner I had, I’d have put all my trust and effort into them and tried to build a friendship.”

Coaches Torvill and Dean, along with the Ice Panel judges, have praised you as the blade runners of the competition. Has the pressure to deliver mounted as the weeks go on?
Hayley: “Yes, it’s starting to build now. I’m trying not to let it get to me. Dan’s amazing at keeping me calm but I don’t want to let him down. I feel like I’ve waited 20 years for this moment – I wanted to skate with Dan when I was 13 – the last thing I want to do is blow this chance so I’m going to do my very best.”
Daniel: “As far as people saying we’re the ones-to-watch, we’re not the only ones – Gary Lucy, Kieron Richardson and Danniella Westbrook are all fantastic skaters. It’s a competition at the end of the day, but no way can I sit here and say we’re the best because we’re not.”

So, Dan, how would you rate Hayley’s skating?
Daniel: “Hayley’s such a fast and visual learner, all I have to do is demonstrate something and she copies so I’d definitely say 10 out of 10. I also give 11 out of 10 for effort because Hayley always tries her best.”

And Hayley, is Dan a good teacher?
Hayley: “He’s the best teacher ever. Dan’s amazing to work with and makes me laugh when I feel I can’t do something and get upset about it, so definitely 10 out of 10.”

How many hours, on average, do you train for?
Hayley: “We generally do three hours a day and if possible we try to have a day off. I’d skate through the night if Dan would let me but we do need a break physically because my body is full of injuries! Dan’s like a robot and can go on and on – I don’t know how he does it!”

Talking of injuries, on one occasion Hayley’s skate slashed through Dan’s wrist, didn’t it? Ouch!
Hayley: “We were halfway through a lift, I had to give Dan my left leg to hook under his wrist but the hook from my boot jammed itself into Dan’s skin and ripped his flesh. It was bleeding everywhere but Dan was like, ‘I’m fine – just put a bandage on it.’ In the dress rehearsal we tried again and my boot actually went through the bandage and through his skin. It was horrible; I don’t like it when I hurt him.”

When the series ends, will you carry on skating together?
Daniel: “Definitely! Hayley’s already said, ‘Don’t think you’re getting away from me when the show finishes!'”
Hayley: “I’ll never stop skating but I only ever want to skate with Dan!”

And finally, do you enjoy wearing all the fabulous outfits?
Hayley: “I’ve never worn such amazing costumes; they fit like a glove! I could never complain about the costumes, make-up or hair as those people work so hard and the audience doesn’t see the effort that goes in because, seriously, I go in looking so rough and come out looking like a princess!”
Daniel: “Every week we’re blown away by them because they’re great. And I love wearing a few sequins, you can’t go wrong!”