Dancing on Ice’s Mr Nasty Jason Gardiner tells TV Times magazine about his dramatic return, feuds with other judges, and the people that melt his heart…
Jason, you’ve returned to Dancing on Ice after leaving the show last year. Did you ever expect to come back?
“It was a shock to receive that call and I had moved on!”
Did it take a lot of persuading for you to agree to return to the show?
“It took until December before they could announce my return because I needed to feel good about coming back. I didn’t want it just to be about the money or about ‘I need to be back on TV in a big show’ because I’m not that type of person. So the producers and I had lots of meetings and got to a point where we were excited about working together again.”
You’re known for getting into fights with your fellow panelists – especially Karen Barber. Is there ever an off-camera atmosphere?
“We’re all very passionate about what we do and things can linger off-camera. Actually sometimes the better show is what happens off stage! There are some things that have played out in front of the nation that you wish didn’t, but they do. Everybody’s got an opinion and takes sides, it just turns into a circus. So it’s hard sometimes.”
There were rumours and speculation that you were angry about Louie Spence taking your place on the show…
“We don’t even know where this comes from! Louie has been my best mate for 18 years and was the first friend I made when I moved to London. We’ve been through so much together and have often been up for the same auditions. We don’t take anything personally and we’re certainly not going to let a TV show or this business ever come between us. He’s like family.”
What feedback do you get from viewers?
“My fans are very loyal because they know that I’ve always told the truth. I’ve never sold out or buckled to public or media pressure to tone it down. And I’ve been kicked down many, many times by the press. But I’m here to do a job and I’m going to be true to myself.”
What do you think you bring to the show?
“These shows risk being bland if they don’t have at least one person who doesn’t sugarcoat everything.”