Dancing on Ice: Torvill and Dean discuss their recorded routines
Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean are the UK’s best-known ice-skating stars. They inspired a generation after winning a gold medal with an “unprecedented” perfect score of 6.0, during their free-dance to Boléro, in the Eighties. Now judges on Dancing On Ice, the skaters will give a special performance with two “up-and-coming teenage performers” on the ITV show tomorrow.
Torvill and Dean, both from Nottingham, were teenagers when they were partnered-up after winning solo competitions and went on to make ice skating history.
After years of speculation about a potential romance between the athletes, Jayne admitted they did “dabble… as a one-off” during their early years.
However, their relationship was short-lived as they realised their love for skating was greater.
The duo are both married to separate partners, Torvill with Phil Christensen and Dean with Karen Barber, but they speak to each other “on a daily basis”.
They told Express.co.uk that they were a crutch for one another during the coronavirus pandemic – amid the UK’s third national lockdown.
Torvill and Dean admitted that they supported each other during the coronavirus pandemic
Torvill and Dean made ice skating history with their 1984 performance of Boléro
Dean explained that because he lives in the US, only being able to communicate via video calls and on the phone was “normal” for them.
He told Express.co.uk: “The irony is that when we actually go to the studio, we have to stay separated from each other.
“If we were still skating together during this period and one of us got it, it would take us both out from judging.
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Torvill and Dean scored an ‘unprecedented’ perfect score of 6.0 for the Bolero in 1984
“So we did all of our performances before Christmas so that we can now continue to judge and if one of us gets sick, it doesn’t take the other one out.”
Torvill said the pandemic had encouraged them to “FaceTime each other more”, so they “actually see” one another rather than “just talk”.
She told Express.co.uk: “I think we found that and even if it’s just to say, ‘How are you? I haven’t got anything to tell you, but I just want to check you’re OK.’”
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Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean started ice skating together as teenagers in Nottingham
Dean believed that shows like Dancing On Ice had been “really important” for helping people to “let go of things” during the pandemic.
He thought the competition allowed viewers “not to think about things, relax, smile and laugh”.
Christopher continued: “It’s such a difficult time for everybody and you can have those moments of escapism, which I think Dancing On Ice can do.
“It’s a competition – everybody gets very competitive about it and so do the celebrities.”
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Dean told Express.co.uk that they had “no regrets” over their landmark 1984 Bolero performance in Sarajevo and branded it the “turning point in our lives”.
Dean was a police constable and Torvill worked as an insurance clerk before their Olympic success – at a time when they considered fame impossible.
He told Express.co.uk: “You couldn’t earn any money for anything, so it was a pure sport and doing it for love back then.
“It was only after we finished the Olympics and the World Championships [in 1984] that we could then chart some kind of career – but you couldn’t even plan it for that.
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Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean had a ‘one-off’ romance during their early years
“So for us, it was like one day you’re at the top of the hill and success, and then the next day you’re like, ‘What do you do now?’
“We would never have thought some 46 years later that we would still be doing what we’re doing.”
Dean admitted they could never have dreamed of becoming nationally and internationally-known names in the UK when they were children.
He told Express.co.uk: “It wasn’t one of those things as kids where you said to yourself, ‘One day, I’m going to win! I’m going to win the Olympics, that’s my star’.
“It wasn’t like that at all, each day we got up, we did what we did because we loved what we were doing.
“Skating was our motivation, our thing that we did that nobody else did… nobody else in my school had seen an ice rink.
“I think it was something special that I was just doing and I loved doing it.”
Torvill and Dean will give a special performance on Dancing On Ice, which starts at 6pm Sunday on ITV.