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Torvill and Dean: 'Both of us were shy as teenagers'

As Torvill and Dean return to screens with new show Ice Rink On The Estate, the skating sensations reveal all to Jeananne Craig

Published 04/04/2015

Torvill and Dean
Torvill and Dean
Torvill and Dean in action in 1983

Can you imagine Torvill without Dean? That would be like Del Boy without Rodney, Ant without Dec, or the Rovers Return without a steady supply of pork scratchings.

Over their 40-year partnership, the skating stars have won an Olympic gold medal together, mentored celebrities on Dancing On Ice, and roller-bladed on the Royal Variety Show.

"That's how we do things. We do rely on each other for support, and as a sounding board. And we've done everything together, so it would be strange not to," says Christopher Dean, who was 16-years-old when he first met Jayne Torvill.

The colleagues and life-long friends have teamed up again for new ITV show, Ice Rink On The Estate, in which they invite teenagers from their native Nottingham to take to the ice rink for the first time and put on an ice-skating show.

Ahead of the three-part series airing, the pair tell us about their favourite memories on and off the ice - and reveal what annoys them most about each other.

GETTING THEIR SKATES ON

Dean: "I think we all have these defining moments, where your life can change or take a certain trajectory. Getting a pair of ice skates at 10 years old was mine. Jayne, I think yours was probably going to the ice rink as a kid, right?"

Torvill: "When I made my first school trip to the ice rink I found it quite magical and just wanted to go again and again and I pestered my parents to take me. It all started then, from that school trip. In some ways, we were hoping from our experience as kids, that what we went back to do in Nottingham might affect their lives - that there might be a moment for them that they would remember, and it would mark a big change for them."

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Torvill: "We were very shy teenagers. Very polite to each other and we hardly had any eye contact (laughs)."

Dean: "It was like Jayne says - we were very young, quiet and reserved. Different from most of the teenagers that we worked with on Ice Rink On The Estate! Teenagers today feel different to what I was. There are similarities, but there's a difference as well. There's social media and reality TV - people think success can happen in an instant, but in reality, you have to work very hard to be really good at something."

PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT TOGETHER

Dean: "The Olympics, obviously (they scooped gold for their Bolero at the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics)."

Torvill: "That paved the way for everything that came after. There were so many amazing things after that. Last year, because it was the 30th anniversary, we actually went back to Sarajevo and performed Bolero again, in the arena that had been bombed since we won the Olympics and was rebuilt. That brought many memories back for us and was another special occasion."

FUNNIEST MOMENT

Dean: "Jayne exposing herself when she was skating once! Jayne wouldn't believe me, but funnily enough, a friend of ours was in [the audience] that night who'd been taking some pictures, and sure enough, Jayne had been doing a Janet Jackson moment!"

Torvill: "We fell during a performance. Chris went thump, down on his knees, and he was holding me up over his head and I just landed on top of him. I said, 'I'm okay, carry on!', and yet he'd just gone straight down, hard on his knees."

BEST NIGHT OUT

Dean: "I don't know whether it's a night out, but in 2013 we performed on the Royal Variety on rollerblades. That was unique for us."

Torvill: "I was nervous before doing that at the Royal Variety because it was something we'd not performed live before. It was thrilling and scary at the same time."

FAVOURITE THING ABOUT EACH OTHER

Dean: "Too many to list ... We know each other so well. We talk most days, but even if we don't talk, we pick up exactly where we left off. We're so comfortable with each other. And I don't know how many people you can find like that in your life, so that's friendship."

BIGGEST BUGBEARS

Torvill: "He's always early, which is annoying. I'm on time and I think, 'Yeah great, I'm on time', but he's always there before me."

FAVOURITE ROUTINE

Torvill: "Bolero is a special one for us. But we enjoyed the years of Dancing On Ice because we were being creative, week after week, and using the medium of television was great for us."

  • Ice Rink On The Estate, ITV, this Thursday, 9pm

Belfast Telegraph

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