Choreographer Jason Gardiner has revealed that he nearly turned down the offer to return as a judge on Dancing on Ice due to work conflicts – but he thankfully managed to resolve them just in time! Jason, who is one of the original judges on the ITV skate show, featured in a total of eight out of nine series.
Revealing whether or not he was excited to be back, he said: "Yes, of course. It came out of black field really. When I got the call I didn't think they were serious. I was like 'are you serious? Is this a prank call?'. And when they asked me to come in to talk to them about it I thought it was going to be about a new project but it was about this!"
Jason with fellow judges Robin Cousins, Karen Barber and Ashley Roberts in 2013
Although the star was clearly happy about the return of the hit skate show, it wasn't a 'yes' straight away. "I had to think about it because I have an award-winning production company so my time requires a lot of troubling to see if we could make it work. Thank god we managed to. We got there in the end," he said at the launch of the show, which took place on Thursday at the National Museum Ice Rink.
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This year might be extra special for the Australian dancer, his friend of 20 years, Coronation Street's Antony Cotton, is one of the celebrity participants – but that doesn't mean he will be softer on him than the other stars.
Jason Gardiner with fellow 2018 judge, Ashley Banjo, and present Phillip Schofield
"I am going to be harder on him, absolutely because of the fact that I have known him for 20 years. Nobody gets special dispensation from me. […] He said, 'I don’t expect any sort of special treatment' and I said 'I wasn’t going to give it to you.'"
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He continued: "In fact I am going to be tougher on him and I think he knows that, and he is ready for it. I mean, come on, it's Antony Cotton he can give as good as he takes, so don’t worry!"