Holly Willoughby remains at the forefront of bookies’ odds to host the upcoming series of Dancing On Ice, following reported ‘crisis talks’.
The star, 42, quit This Morning last month, and is now said to be hesitant about coming back to the skating show in January, where presenting spots are still unconfirmed after her co-host Phillip Schofield left the show earlier this year.
William Hill states that Holly, who has presented the show since 2006, is 1/4 to return to the show and is pegged to do so alongside Stephen Mulhern, who is 1/10 to be scooping Phillip’s role.
Lee Phelps, a spokesperson for the gambling giant, said of the news: ‘There certainly seems to be a sense of apprehension among the Dancing On Ice bosses as to who will present the upcoming January series…
‘But our market suggests the ITV executives need not worry about host Holly Willoughby’s chances of returning to the screens. Willoughby is heavily fancied at 1/4 to resume her hosting duties when the new series kicks off in a few weeks’ time.’
Speculation has been mounting among fans over who is set to take the role, with Instagram users writing: ‘I’m more interested in who will be hosting it tbh…
‘Great.. who’s the presenters?…. Who are the presenters going to be ?… That’s what I’m wondering too!… Who’s gonna present it that’s the 100 $ question… Will @hollywilloughby be presenting it this time ?…
The lineup for the next series has already been confirmed, but the presenting spots are still unconfirmed after Holly’s co-host Phillip left the show earlier this year.
Speaking to The Sun, the source said: ‘In many ways the producers of Dancing on Ice are in limbo until they can resolve the issue of who’ll be steering the ship when the show returns.
‘Although it usually doesn’t start until mid-January, bosses still now find themselves working on a timescale measured in weeks, not months.
‘It’s a very precarious position to be in when they have all the crew and a group of celebrities already working towards the first show, but nobody nailed on to present it.’
Holly and Phillip, 61, have co-hosted Dancing On Ice from its inception in 2006 until 2011. Christine Lampard then replaced Holly for the next three series until the show ended in 2014.
The series was then revived by ITV in 2018, with both Holly and Phillip returning as hosts up until this year.
Phillip was then fired by ITV after he admitted to lying about a romantic relationship he had with a former younger colleague, immediately ending his contract at This Morning.
Stephen Mulhern has emerged as the frontrunner to take over from Phillip, after presenting spinoff series Defrosted for a year back in 2006 and standing in for Phillip when he fell ill with Covid last year.
Last month, the TV presenter, 46, confirmed he is in talks with bosses to join as co-host, though nothing has been officially confirmed.
Stephen told MailOnline that it would be ‘amazing’ to front the show and that co-hosting alongside longtime friend and colleague Holly always makes for a ‘great time’.
He said: ‘I used to do the spinoff show Defrosted and when I stood in for Phil when he wasn’t too well, he had Covid, I really enjoyed it and it was so lovely being back with Holly.
‘We had a great time together plus lots of the team were the same from when I did the ITV2 show.
‘We are talking about it, but I promise you now that nothing is confirmed but if it happens, it will be absolutely amazing… if it doesn’t, look, it doesn’t. I promise you I would tell you if we had it confirmed at this point.
‘The lineup is the best it has been in a few years… I am keeping across the lineup, just in case… It is a huge staple, and it has been around.’
Meanwhile, Holly’s future on the show is unclear after she stepped down from This Morning last month after finally being ‘tipped over the edge’ by an alleged ‘kidnap and murder plot’.
The mother-of-three Holly, who originally joined This Morning in 2009, released a statement saying she was leaving the show ‘for the sake of her family’.
The criminal proceedings are said to have left Holly – once the golden girl of British television – in limbo.
However, her former colleague, Dr Ranj Singh revealed on Wednesday that Holly will be back on screens in the future once she has worked through the ‘difficult’ place she finds herself in.
Speaking to Closer magazine the former This Morning doctor said: ‘Of course she will come back to TV, she’s too good not to.
‘I don’t know where or what show, but she’s so good at it, it would be a shame for her to back away completely.’
Dr Ranj added that he had reached out to Holly amid her ‘tough’ ordeal to check if she was ok, revealing: ‘She replied and she’s good.
‘Obviously it’s a really difficult place for her to be in and she made a really difficult decision, but the kind thing to do is to reach out and just check in.’
Stars preparing to take on the ice challenge this year include former Love Island winner and West End performer Amber Davies, ex-professional boxer Ricky Hatton, actress Claire Sweeney, Corrie star Ryan Thomas, radio DJ Adele Roberts, and S Club 7 singer Hannah Spearritt.
EastEnders actor Ricky Norwood, Made In Chelsea star Miles Nazaire, Olympian Greg Rutherford, ski jumper Eddie the Eagle, comedian Lou Sanders and Emmerdale’s Roxy Shahidi complete the lineup.
PROFESSION: Former pro boxer
WHAT DID HE SAY? ‘If I can hold my nerve in the boxing ring I should be able to hold my nerve in the ice rink’
WHAT DID SHE SAY? ‘I’m really excited about learning a new skill. It’s so easy to live your comfortable life and that aspect of mixing things up is very appealing’
WHAT DID HE SAY? ‘I like a challenge and I needed a reason to go out and do stuff again and here we are. I want to perform something that’s never been done before, that’s my aim.’
Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards
PROFESSION: OLYMPIC SKI JUMPER
WHAT DID HE SAY? ‘Dancing on Ice is a show I’ve always wanted to do. It’s a challenge I think I’m going to relish!’
PROFESSION: EastEnders star
WHAT DID HE SAY? ‘It’s come at such a great time in life. I can’t skate at all! No rehearsals as yet, I’ve just had some physiotherapy to strengthen the body.’
PROFESSION: Corrie star
WHAT DID HE SAY? ‘Everyone keeps asking me, “are you doing it?” I’ve told everyone!’
WHAT DID SHE SAY? ‘I am stepping into the unknown here. I don’t know how I will feel. But I am very excited.’
PROFESSION: WEST END STAR
WHAT DID SHE SAY? ‘I would definitely say that I’m an adrenaline junkie but I do get more nervous as I get older and I hope that I can contain them’
PROFESSION: REALITY STAR
WHAT DID HE SAY? ‘I’ve always loved to dance but it’s usually on a dance floor on a Saturday night and Dancing on Ice looks so difficult.’
WHAT DID SHE SAY? ‘I’m nervous about cracking my head open, or just bashing the old head. I can’t afford to lose any more brain cells.’
PROFESSION: RADIO PRESENTER
WHAT DID SHE SAY? ‘It’s ”bricking it on ice” for me! I think the hardest part is putting myself out there as I usually hide away’
PROFESSION: Emmerdale star
WHAT DID SHE SAY? ‘I can’t ice-skate. I haven’t really said anything to anyone but mainly because I’m so nervous about it!’