Exclusive: Ice King of Reinvention

By Sarah Tetteh

Dancing on Ice has been through its biggest shake-up yet, and show legend Matt Evers has been right at the forefront of the big changes to the hit ITV show.

The pro skater stunned the world when he quit after 17 years on the show, after going viral with iconic partnerships from Gemma Collins ,Pamela Anderson, and Patsy Palmer, to making history as the first same-sex pairing with H from Steps.

Now Matt, the ice king of reinvention is back, with the sensational Ice-breakers podcast with fellow Dancing on Ice icon Frankie Seaman, out today featuring Gemma Collins –  amazing!

Here, Matt opens up to the South London Press about having no regrets leaving Dancing on Ice, why he’s actually left the door open for his return, and how Holly Willoughby is holding the fort ‘just fine’ with Stephen Mulhern, after Phillip Schofield’s exit.

Matt, who splits his time between California, and his favourite south London, has plenty to say in our no- holds barred chat.

He said: “Who would have thought retiring from the show would open huge doors, but it’s one of the scariest things I’ve done. With Dancing on Ice, I didn’t expect to retire, I was like, I’m gonna do this until I’m 60 like Jane and Chris. I knew it was time. My body is thankful for it. Mentally too, it’s a hard job to do. The pros don’t always get the recognition they deserve on the show, because the show is about celebrities. “

The 47-year-old explained: “Where I was is my head, I needed to make a change. I wasn’t unhappy, by any means, I felt stuck. It’s not coming from an ungrateful place, but I needed a change of scenery and what that was, I had no idea.

“Aside from friends and family, Dancing on Ice was the only constant in my life.  It was a hard decision to make by all means. So after you make that decision, you’re like oh s***, I messed up. So it was this moment of panic, quite a few weeks actually, of oh God, what’s going to happen.

“But, it was the best decision that was ever made. Mentally, I feel like, even my close friends and people I have not seen for a while are like, God, you look different. I feel like I got Matt back. “

Opening up about just what goes into making great TV, Matt said, it wasn’t easy as he got older. He was an original pro skater from 2006, afterall. Speaking honestly about his experience, he said “The friendships I made on the show I will have for life.

“The schedule of the show is so taxing physically and mentally that you can get lost. The longer the show goes on, the higher than standard of the celebs are, which makes it even harder for us. At the end of the day, it’s amazing to be out there skating with a celebrity that feels almost professional, but it means  we have to be able to do harder tricks, and train longer. So the show just continued to grow and grow and grow, and I was not getting any younger. So it was time.”

Matt revealed how his life changed with the podcast launching.

He said: “I had pitched the podcast for the past four years to ITV, but it just wasn’t in their budget. So when  I didn’t go back to the show this year, the podcast was the right time. Frankie and I who had skated together for many years on Dancing on Ice, she and I were just going to record it from our bedrooms, basically.

“But after the first two episodes went out, we had multiple offers from production companies, and different partnerships, so we teamed up with Lakeside, who built a studio for us, and we haven’t looked back. It was meant to be.”

Matt has become friends for life with his Dancing on Ice partners who praised him for helping to turn their lives around physically and emotionally. It comes as little surprise that the clips of Gemma Collins’ momentous fall on the ice during their partnership, are still a hit with fans on the internet.

Matt laughs: “Those silly clips of us!  It’s because her fanbase is huge –  and they keep pumping out all that content. What’s nice is that Gemma has found love now, with the engagement. The GC doesn’t come out as much. There’s two sides of Gemma Collins, the one that I know is very soft, very caring. Then there’s The GC that doesn’t come out very often  –  she’s being put in the wardrobe a lot more now.”

Now Matt has moved on with Ice Breakers podcast, what does the future hold for Dancing on Ice, and is the door still open for his return?

‘Never say never. I will always be part of the Dancing on Ice family. The show will always have a place in my heart. I’ll leave the door open to return. It was great going back  the other day, seeing Jane and Chris again, and Oti, who has really found her groove as a judge, and is looking fabulous as ever.”

Matt heaped praise on the new look show, and how his pal Holly is holding the fort with Stephen.

He said: “The role with Stephen –  we are seeing a younger side to Holly. A lot less formal, the gags with Stephen are great. It’s that partnership, the chemistry as they used to present together on kids TV. It’s brought a breath of fresh air to the show. The show will go on.”

Catch Ice Breakers podcast on Spotify, Apple and Amazon, right here

Pictured top: Skate legends Matt and Franke are back with their brilliant new podcast Ice Breakers (Picture: Ice Breakers)

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