Blades of glory

Limping onto the stage with the help of crutches, our host Andi Peters waved his arms in the air, built up the crowd and roared: "Good afternoon Nottingham I mean Newcastle.

Torvill and Dean at the Metro Radio Arena

Limping onto the stage with the help of crutches, our host Andi Peters waved his arms in the air, built up the crowd and roared: "Good afternoon Nottingham... I mean Newcastle. Reverse, reverse, reverse."

The crowd booed in true pantomime style except on this occasion I suspect they truly believed Peters was the bad guy.

Andi - still struggling to shake off an ice skating injury - never quite recovered from this unfortunate opening to the live version of the cult phenomenon Dancing on Ice, the hit ITV show that is capitalising on its popularity by heading out on tour.

Not that Peters' faux pas made too much difference, the live version of the reality TV series was a huge success with the audience and was pure family entertainment at its best.

The arena tour features former Blue pop star Duncan James, ex-Steps star Lisa Scott-Lee, actress Clare Buckfield, alongside rugby legend and the winner of the TV contest Kyran Bracken.

Cleverly edited trailers of the telly show were beamed onto the big screen before each skating pair came on to the ice as pop music chivied the crowd up.

The skating stars, meanwhile, paid tribute to Newcastle at every opportunity and appeared genuinely delighted with the crowd's response.

Speaking to Andi Peters following his performance, Duncan James said: "It's great to be back on the road again and lovely being back doing arenas... though obviously this time I am on blades of steel and not on firm ground as I was when I was performing with Blue.

"The Newcastle audiences are just as fantastic as I remember them."

And Kyran Bracken seemed surprised at how his skating had taken off over the last few months.

He said: "I'd never really skated before and I think that if you ask Jayne (Torvill) and Chris (Dean) at the beginning they would say I was definitely one of the worst.

"There's been a great reception in all the cities we've visited and I really hope that continues. It's a really exciting show with lots of interactivity as the audience gets to vote and be involved."

But, it was skating greats Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean who, quite rightly, won the most standing ovations and showed the crowd that true professionals never lose their sparkle.

The competition climaxed with a Bolero skate off, where the two couples with the most votes skated the dance that won Torvill and Dean their Olympic Gold medal.

It was Duncan James who won the trophy this time but my guess is that in the eyes of the audience it was a combination of the stars, their professional skating partners, the costumes and the music, there were the real winners.

All apart from Andi Peters, maybe.

It was a huge hit on TV and the ice dance phenomenon impressed the audience as it arrived in Newcastle yesterday. Nev Wilson joined the fans.

Fans flooding out of the Metro Radio Arena yesterday declared Torvill and Dean incredible - and pop star heart-throb Duncan James was the biggest hit.

Mark Wingate, 41, of Gosforth, Newcastle, was there with daughter Ameilia, seven.

"It was really fantastic, a great day out, really good value for money and - most importantly - the kids loved it," he said.

Michelle Percy, 38, of Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, said: "It was totally amazing and so great to see here in Newcastle."

Erin Percy, seven, of Whitley Bay said: "I liked Duncan the best he looked so good."

Dorothy Grimes, 82, of Jarrow, South Tyneside, said: "This was my birthday present and I loved every minute."

Margaret Wilson, 56, of County Durham said: "I thought Andrei was definitely the best performer of the day."

Louis Fawcett, eight, of Gosforth, Newcastle, with mum Dee, 37, said: "I loved watching Torvill and Dean but Duncan was great too."

Silvia Trais, 62, of Ryton, Gateshead, said: "It was totally spectacular."

Claire Denyer, 35, also of Ryton, with four-year-old daughter Erin said: "I was really impressed by the aerial acrobatics."

Brenda Hills, 54, of South Shields, said: "It was so much fun and so impressive."

Dancing on Ice Live is at the Metro Radio Arena tonight and returns on May 6.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
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