‘Dancing On Ice’ has been dazzling viewers since the New Year so we were super excited for the chance to have a snoop behind-the-scenes.
Guided by professional skater Matt Evers, HuffPost UK were treated to a tour of the purpose-built studios and had a good nose round the changing rooms and top-secret (well, secret until now) production areas.
Here’s everything we learnt during our visit...
1. The entire studio was purpose built in a Hertfordshire airfield, on top of an old RAF runway.
2. The airfield is often used by movie crews and over the years, scenes for ‘Star Wars: A Rogue One Story’, ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Fast And Furious’ have all been filmed there.
3. Pro skater Matt Evers has an unexpected family tie to the airfield. “My grandfather used to fly out of here as an American pilot in WWII,” he revealed. “He was based in Bovingdon.”
4. It took three months to construct the main building, which houses the actual studio ice rink and another training one.
5. Sorry if you were expecting everything to be super-glam, but the studio is surrounded by portacabins and marquees, which house facilities including a canteen area, small kitchen and, obviously, the loos.
6. The main studio doesn’t actually have a proper roof, it’s more like a GIANT marquee. “When it’s windy, it’s loud,” Matt explained.”It’s basically a tent so it rattles sometimes.”
7. The tunnel you see the celebs and their partners enter through is linked to a training rink, where they practice their moves ahead of the live shows.
8. The training rink area is also where their dressing rooms are. Each celeb has their own personal area, as do the judges.
9. Yup, Torvill and Dean don’t share either. Who knew?!
10. When everything was built, the producers realised there was something missing: A quick-change room. They swiftly added one at the last minute and as soon as the pairs leave the ice, they head into there to change. “This is what we call Narnia,” Matt said. “It was not supposed to be here before but we needed the space so this became our quickchange room.”
11. For Holly and Phil’s grand entrance, white carpet is laid on top of the ice (for pretty obvious reasons).
12. Over 400 audience members can fit into the studio and you can apply for the chance to be one of them online. If you do get tickets, be sure to bring a coat (it’s freezing).
13. The ice actually goes underneath part of the floor. Matt explained that while the rink you see on TV has a lovely, rounded shape, the sheets of ice used to build it were square, meaning the edges are underneath the floorboards.
14. There’s a giant “technocrane” camera that captures all the skaters’ moves up close. You might think this would be pretty distracting but Matt insisted you don’t notice it “at all”...
15. Probably because the lighting is so incredible that the dancers can’t see a thing. “Every once in a while, you’ll see a red light and know that camera is on you and recording,” he said. “But other than that, you’re in your nice little bubble.”
16. LED screens line an entire wall of the studio. Producers can put any video on here and so far this series it’s been transformed into outer space for Max and Ale, and covered with candles for Lemar and Ale.
17. Before going onto the ice the dancers apply a special, tacky spray to their hands. This stops them from slipping out of each other hands while attempting the lifts and jumps.
18. In another bid to make sure there are no slip-ups, the female dancers make sure they don’t moisturise their legs before hitting the ice. Nobody wants to lose their grip during a headbanger, do they?
19. The judges don’t actually have a very good view, with the tricks and spins angled so the the cameras - which are on the audience’s side of the room - can pick them up.
20. To combat this, they have monitors built into their desk.
21. When each routine is finished, the judges input their scores on a small calculator-like keyboard. The information is then sent to the producers in the gallery, who make sure the numbers appear on television at the right time.
22. Holly and Phil’s view is the worst. During each routine, they’re sat almost right behind the judges, hidden from view by a giant curtain. From there, they watch the dances on a television, just like viewers at home.