Northern Ireland beauty Zoe Salmon is among the celebrities taking part in this year’s Dancing On Ice, it was confirmed last night.
The Bangor-born former Blue Peter presenter will be up against ex-glamour model Melinda Messenger, chat show host Coleen Nolan, Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallet and Eastenders minx Gemma Bissix in the series which starts this Sunday.
Dublin-born investigative reporter Donal MacIntyre, retired footballer Graeme Le Saux, rugby ace Ellery Hanley and singer Ray Quinn also join the 2009 line-up which was revealed last night.
Pop star Jessica Taylor, television presenter Michael Underwood, and ex-Hollyoaks actor Jeremy Edwards will also be putting their skating skills to the test.
The contestants will follow in the footsteps of previous winners Suzanne Shaw, Kyran Bracken and Gaynor Faye, performing live each week to win the approval of judges and viewers.
Former Miss Northern Ireland Zoe has been paired with professional skater Matt Evers and is hoping her Blue Peter wing walking and Formula 1 racing adventures have prepared her for this latest challenge. She said: “I am a real daredevil at heart.
“I’m totally up for the lift, I’m up for anything — bring it on. The main reason I agreed to do the show was I grew up watching the ice dancing in the Olympics,” she said. “I’ve watched it from when I was three or four years old.
“I haven’t been skating for years until I had an ice skating challenge on Blue Peter where I had a cameo role in a performance,” she reveals. “I was so rubbish at it. I nearly banged my head on the ice in front of 2,000 people.”
Zoe, who believes the female celebrities have a more difficult challenge than their male counterparts, sustained an arm injury during training. And recalling her routines, she said: “I nearly vomit. I’m going to be a nightmare.”
Meanwhile, reporter Donal MacIntyre (42) said he has given up beer and shed three stone for the show. However, if he is kicked off in the first night it would be “back to beers and burgers”.
He added: “Skating has taken over everything. I feel like I’ve been leading a double life – interviewing hardened gangsters, but thinking about skating.”
Donal, whose skating partner is Florentine Houdiniere, has been scaling the globe, finding ice rinks wherever possible, and that includes Mexico City.
Meanwhile, singer and presenter Colleen Nolan (43) who has lost five stone over the last couple of years, told how practising had helped tone her up.
She said: “It’s weird for me as, when I started watching Dancing On Ice, I was a size 20, thinking ‘God, I could never do that’.
“And now, here I am being lifted as a size 10 and it’s just amazing.”
But she said she was not looking forward to the judges’ comments, adding: “My problem is I still have a 36GG bust, which makes me top-heavy.”
Nolan, whose skating partner is Stuart Widdall, joked: “Luckily I get on with my partner very well as he’s probably touched me more intimately than my husband.”
Jeremy Edwards (37), told how he was in “agony” over Christmas after landing on his hip during practice. Edwards, who is getting married in May, said he had not thought about the injuries he might sustain when he signed up for the show.
He said: “It did not occur to me... until I fell before Christmas and I literally could not walk.”
Dancing On Ice, presented by Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, returns on Sunday, January 11, at 7pm on ITV.