ENTERTAINMENT
04/02/2019 18:12 GMT | Updated 05/02/2019 08:50 GMT

Dancing On Ice’s Saira Khan Suggests Jane Danson Got ‘Sympathy Votes’ After Fainting In Rehearsal

She also insisted there were no hard feelings between herself and Gemma Collins.

Former Dancing On Ice contestant Saira Khan has reflected on her recent elimination, admitting she feels “gutted” and “robbed”, and shared her thoughts on some of the stars still left in the competition.

Saira was sent home by the judges on Sunday night, after a skate-off against cricketer Ryan Sidebottom, who all four members of the Ice Panel chose to keep in the competition for another week.

Discussing her elimination on BUILD, Saira admitted: “I feel like I could have had one more week, perhaps, to show off proper solo skating, but yeah. It is what it is. And I’m very gracious about it. I had an amazing time. It was a great opportunity.”

BUILD
Saira Khan and her partner Mark Hanretty

The Loose Women presenter then revealed she’d suffered panic attacks for the first time during her time on Dancing On Ice, noting she had them “every single time” she was due to take to the ice.

Saira then discussed Coronation Street actress Jane Danson, who took to the ice after fainting during dress rehearsals, only for the public to spare her from the elimination.

Discussing Jane’s performance, Saira said: “I’m one of those people who just sees black and white. She did come up and skate, which was brilliant.

“But I personally feel – and this is not bitterness – but it was kind of like, ‘well done Jane, you fainted and you’ve come back on and done the skate’... but that was… I felt like there were sympathy votes, rather than her having done an amazing skate. Do you know what I mean?”

ITV
Sylvain Longchambon and Jane Danson during Sunday's dress rehearsal

She added: “I don’t want to be nasty about that. It was amazing that she went on and did that.

“But… on these shows, when you turn up and you’ve given it your all and you’ve overcome so much stuff… it’s hard to go, ’it’s amazing, but I’m in the dance-off now because I didn’t… I overcame my panic attacks, or whatever.

“Do you see what I mean? Without sounding bitter and not very… nice.” 

Saira was also asked for her thoughts on the talk of the competition, Gemma Collins, insisting there were no hard feelings even though the reality star was saved from the skate-off despite being at the bottom of the judges’ leaderboard.

ITV
Saira speaks her mind on BUILD

“Look, I know Gemma Collins is going to go a very long way,” Saira explained. “This is a TV show and, whatever you think of Gemma Collins, she is bringing the viewers in, whether that’s because she’s not skating, whether she’s giving a performance, whether it’s drama.

“I knew Gemma Collins was not going to go yesterday, and I knew that I was one of the weakest skaters. So we kind of resigned ourselves to the fact it was going to be us. That is the reality of the situation.”

Reiterating she didn’t think it was unfair that Gemma should still be in the competition, she continued: “We’re not talking about the Olympics, we’re not talking about, you’ve got to be the best skater, this is a reality show where people want to talk about the show.

“Because Gemma wasn’t voted out, today everyone is talking about this show. And we are in an industry where you need to hit your numbers, you need advertisers to come on board, and you want everyone in the country to say ‘that’s not fair’, and that’s exactly what everyone’s doing today. If I had a business, and I had someone like Gemma Collins, I’d employ her.”

Matt Frost/ITV/REX/Shutterstock
Gemma Collins and Matt Evers

Saira revealed that her top pick to win the show was Melody Thornton, describing her as having “technique” and being a “great performer”, admitting she felt the former Pussycat Dolls performer had been undermarked so far.

“I don’t know [why],” she explained. “I think Melody is right there, she should be in the final. She’s a great dancer, she performs the actual skating technique really well and for me she’s the most improved.”

With Saira now out of the running, eight celebrities remain in the competition, with James Jordan currently the frontrunner, after bagging the highest score of the series on Sunday.

Dancing On Ice returns on Sunday night at 6pm on ITV. Watch Saira’s full BUILD interview below: