Holly Willoughby will be returning to Dancing On Ice with a new co-host, Stephen Mulhern, for a special purpose.
It’ll be incredibly (n)ice, (n)ice, baby because it’s been precisely 20 years since they first appeared together, as well as their friend-iversary.
It all started in 2004 when they took control of the chaos on Holly & Stephen’s Saturday Showdown, named after the Christmas plant and actor Stephen Fry. Just joking, it was a self-titled programme that was formerly known as Ministry of Mayhem before the rebranding.
ITV’s head of entertainment commissioning, Katie Rawcliffe, said, ‘Holly and Stephen are two of our best-loved presenters, so reuniting them 20 years after they first appeared on television together to host Dancing On Ice signals the start of an exciting year for the programme.’
They, like many other presenters, learned their trade on children’s television. This one threw a lot of them, and not just because of the gunge, but also because they had to go through celebrity guest interviews, phone-in competitions, and games while live on-air.
They became really close while sharing a dressing room and would even prank one other to pass the time.
Stephen would cover Holly’s toilet with cellophane and even fill her shower head with coffee granules.
Their friendship survived the banter, and their long-standing bond is said to be one of the reasons Stephen, 46, who hosted the spin-off Dancing on Ice: The Professionals, chose to present the show. Defrosted in 2006-2007, got the Dancing On Ice gig.
‘Knowing Stephen will be there beside her could be the comfort blanket Holly needs to say yes,’ a TV insider told The Sun, just before his appointment was officially confirmed.
Stephen will take over for former presenter Schofield, 61, who resigned from This Morning and ITV in full in May this year after confessing to a ‘unwise but not criminal’ romance with a younger colleague on the show.
Holly, 42, quit This Morning after 14 years in October, saying she wanted to put her ‘family first’ in a statement.
Stephen also had a link to This Morning: from 2012 to 2014, he oversaw the now-defunct ‘The Hub,’ where he delivered reader comments to Holly and Schofield.
Prior to Holly’s departure, Stephen would frequently appear as a guest, and they always looked genuinely happy to see each other.
Stephen disclosed in his most recent appearance on the ITV daytime show seven months ago that one of his characters in the children’s book series Max Magic, Willow Hilloughby, was based on Holly.
He described her as ‘the most beautiful presenter on the TV, and everyone is nervous about meeting her.’
‘It made my heart sing. I was very happy,’ Holly responded to the news.
They’ve crossed paths on shows like Celebrity Juice in recent years, but they were reunited on Dancing on Ice in 2022 when Schofield was isolated due to Covid-19.
The pair had an on-screen moment together where they reflected on their shared history: ‘Can you believe it’s 16 years since we worked together on kids TV?’ Stephen asked.
‘I know! Look at us, we’re grownups now doing grownup telly,’ Holly replied.
Stephen joked: ‘Back by no popular demand.’
This isn’t just a showbiz pairing, Stephen has called Holly his ‘proper mate.’
Holly has always been supportive of the Catchphrase host, and when it was revealed he was taking over Deal Or No Deal in the reboot, she sweetly told him: ‘I can’t think of anyone better to bring that back than you.’
On their previous stint presenting Dancing On Ice, Stephen told Holly: ‘It’s so nice to be back with you.’ We echo his sentiment, and think it will be so nice to see their clear bond spice up our Sunday evenings soon!
Dancing on Ice returns to ITV on January 14.
Source My Celebrity Life.