'One sequin at a time': Holly Willoughby returns to TV with new Dancing on Ice partner Stephen Mulhern

14 January 2024, 23:57 | Updated: 15 January 2024, 08:22

Holly Willoughby has returned to TV for the first time since a kidnap plot against her was revealed.
Holly Willoughby has returned to TV for the first time since a kidnap plot against her was revealed. Picture: ITV

By Chay Quinn

Holly Willoughby has returned to TV for the first time since a kidnap plot against her was revealed.

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Before her return, Willoughby posted a photo of her in a sparkly dress vowing to take her work "one sequin at a time".

TV personality Ferne McCann, EastEnders star Patsy Palmer, comedian Alan Carr and model Abbey Clancy sent her messages of support.

Palmer, who competed last year, wrote: "Best of luck beautiful."

Before the series returned, Mulhern wrote on X: "Today is the day! I can't wait to be reuniting with @HollyWills at 6:30pm to kick off the brand new series of @DancingOnIce! Don't miss it, live on @ITV!."

Read More: Holly Willoughby breaks her silence on TV future days before Dancing on Ice return after 'kidnapping plot' ordeal

Read More: Holly Willoughby 'to address three-month absence' as she returns to host Dancing on Ice

In a post on Instagram, This Morning said: "So great to see @hollywilloughby back on our screens where she belongs. Good luck for tonight's launch of @dancingonice - we'll be watching!"

Opening the show, Holly gave a "huge welcome" to Stephen Mulhern as he became a permanent presenter on Dancing On Ice.

Willoughby, 42, who left This Morning in October after 14 years on the sofa, has been hosting the ITV skating show since 2006.

She worked decades ago with Mulhern on ITV Saturday morning children's show Ministry Of Mayhem.

Mulhern, 46, hosted the show briefly in 2022 after Phillip Schofield tested positive for Covid-19.

On Sunday, the series kicked off with an opening performance from the professional skaters and the introduction of the new celebrity contestants.

Willoughby, who wore a silver sparkly dress, said: "To the greatest show on ice, and let's hear it for the amazing cast of 2024. Let me just say a huge welcome to Stephen Mulhern."

Schofield left ITV last year after admitting to a relationship with a male This Morning employee.

Dancing On Ice also saw This Morning star Josie Gibson, who was in I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! last year, welcome Willoughby back when she arrived on the ice in a sled.

Willoughby, who wore a silver sparkly dress, said: "To the greatest show on ice, and let&squot;s hear it for the amazing cast of 2024. Let me just say a huge welcome to Stephen Mulhern."
Willoughby, who wore a silver sparkly dress, said: "To the greatest show on ice, and let's hear it for the amazing cast of 2024. Let me just say a huge welcome to Stephen Mulhern.". Picture: ITV

In the TV audience was Stephen Lustig-Webb, who was originally meant to compete but was forced to withdraw due to an injury and was replaced by former ski jumper Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards.

Meanwhile, Ricky Hatton was put in the skate off after a boxing-inspired performance did not thrill the judges or TV audience.

The former world champion boxer, 45, received 12.5 points from the judges and he could face elimination next week following a public vote.

Topping the leaderboard with the judges was former Coronation Street actor Ryan Thomas, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, and partner Amani Fancy with 26.5 points.

His energetic performance to Kings of Leon's Sex On Fire, featuring a pirouette move, was called "absolutely brilliant" by judge Oti Mabuse.

Love Island winner and West End star Amber Davies, Emmerdale actress Roxy Shahidi, Olympian Greg Rutherford and S Club 7 star Hannah Spearritt also performed during the launch.

Next week will see radio presenter Adele Roberts, EastEnders star Ricky Norwood, actress Claire Sweeney, TV personality Miles Nazaire, comedian and writer Lou Sanders and Edwards compete for the first time.

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