Twelve years ago, Dan Whiston was a successful Blackpool-born ice dancer, known for performing in the Pleasure Beach’s Hot Ice spectaculars but little more.
Now, after 10 series as a skater on ITV’s Dancing On Ice, he’s become a popular household name thanks to his warm screen presence and winning ways as the show’s most successful professional.
But as the show prepares for a return to screens this winter, Dan’s getting ready to take on a new role in the show as associate creative director working on group routine choreography and supporting the professional skaters as a mentor and coach with their celebrity partners.
Although he’s quick and keen to assure fans he’s not hanging up his boots just yet.
“When the new role was announced I got loads of messages from people saying they were disappointed I wasn’t skating – but I will be, I am going to be performing during the show still; I’m not hanging up my skates,” he said.
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“It’s really nice that people were asking for that, and I’m honoured people still want to see me strutting my stuff.”
The new job came up when ITV approached Dan to appear on the 2019 series, but he’d already committed to working as assistant director on a production of Holiday On Ice in Belgium, where he’s spent the past two months in action.
“Being asked to do Holiday On Ice with the award-winning director Kim Gavin was a massive opportunity for me and I couldn’t even give it a second thought before saying yes,” Dan said.
“I was asked to be a Dancing On Ice pro again, but it wouldn’t have worked, so when ITV created this job for me and said they really wanted me back I snapped their hand off.
“I’d been on DOI 10 years and felt it was a good time for me to grow, which was why I’d taken the Holiday On Ice job. And the two jobs – that’s the stuff dreams are made of; I have to keep pinching myself that I’m going to be a creative director on a prime time ITV show.”
During his time on Dancing On Ice, former Baines School pupil Dan’s won the contest three times from 2006 to 2014. His first win came in series one with Emmerdale actress Gaynor Faye, then he won with Blackpool actress Hayley Tamaddon and with Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle.
He also partnered Hayley to second place in the All Stars series before ITV pulled the show, which returned at the start of the year, with Dan partnering Buck Fizz’s Cheryl Baker.
Since appearing on Dancing On Ice, Dan’s launched franchise businesses locally, teaches fitness classes and coaches ice skaters.