DANCING on Ice bosses have been forced to end the series early after a spate of injuries and COVID-19 dropouts.
Producers took the decision to bring the ITV show’s final forward to March 14, rather than March 21, due to a lack of celebrities.
The unprecedented move comes after a series of freak injuries, and two coronavirus diagnoses.
Bosses even had to call on both stand-in celebrities for the first time in the programme’s 13 year history.
A show source said: “Everybody is absolutely gutted that it’s come to this.
“But ultimately, due to injuries and shooting the show during a pandemic, they’ve been left with no choice.
This year’s horrific injuries
- Denise Van Outen – fractured her shoulder in a rehearsal accident
- Billie Faiers – banged her head on the ice and got a concussion
- Jason Donovan – painful back injury
- Myleene Klass – suffered from a torn ligament and a broken toe
- Pro-skater Hamish Gaman – snapped a tendon in his hand
- Pro-skater Yebin Mok – suffered a stab wound from a skate blade that ‘exposed her tendons’
“They can’t compromise on the quality of the programme, so in order to keep it to the high standards that everyone expects, they’ve decided to trim the series by a show.
“It means they’ll get to give all the skaters and celebrities a proper semi-final and a grand finale they all deserve.”
The source added: “Other shows have shot during the pandemic, but doing such a big programme in the very height of the crisis, with the uncertainty that it brings has caused untold headaches.
“It’s not something ITV have decided to do lightly but they think it’s the right decision.”
The decision comes just hours after we told how producers had taken the decision not to invite back show favourites Joe-Warren Plant and partner Vanessa Bauer after they withdrew due to coronavirus.
Insiders say Emmerdale actor Joe, 18, and Vanessa, 24, were only in the mix to return because they only missed one week due to their Covid diagnoses
The road to ruin
- 12 January – Pro-skater Andy Buchanan has his face sliced by Rebekah Vardy's skate
- 13 January – Pro-skater Yebin Mok is stabbed by Graham Bell’s skate blade in a fall leaving her tendons exposed and is replaced by Karina Mantra as Graham’s partner
- 17 January – Joe-Warren Plant crashes to the ground as he slips and falls in show debut
- 26 January – Denise Van Outen is forced to quit after dislocating her shoulder
- 3 February – Rufus Hound leaves the competition after a positive Covid test
- 5 February – Matt Richardson takes a nasty fall and ends up with concussion and a black eye
- 6 February – Billie Faiers quits the competition after banging her head on the ice and getting a concussion
- 12 February – Joe Warren-Plant and Vanessa Bauer test positive for coronavirus and are forced to leave the competition
- 16 February – Hamish Gaman quits after tearing a tendon in hand
- 22 February – Jason Donovan quits the show with a back injury
Rufus Hound, 41, who had Covid, Billie Shepherd, 31, and Denise Van Outen, 46, who were both injured, all had at least two weeks off.
Jason Donovan, 52, also quit this week due to a back injury he could not shake off.
The Sun revealed exclusively how the show’s producers had to pause filming for the first time — meaning no show aired last Sunday.
They took the unprecedented decision because of a spate of injuries and positive Covid-19 tests, leaving them with too few celebrities to fill the two-hour slot and no reserve skaters for the first time in the show’s history.
Reserves Olympian Amy Tinkler, 21, and comedian Matt Richardson, 29, both had to be called upon, but were then voted off.
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