The pantomime villain has previously reduced contestants – and even former judge Karen Barber – to tears
THE new Dancing On Ice pro line-up is shaping up nicely with JAYNE TORVILL and CHRISTOPHER DEAN as judges and star skater SYLVAIN LONGCHAMBON as coach.
But I can reveal bosses are about to complete the billing with an old favourite who is anything but nice — telly’s harshest talent-show expert JASON GARDINER.
The acid-tongued Aussie choreographer is in talks to return to the show, when it returns after a three-year break, after I campaigned for his inclusion.
Jason is renowned for his cutting critiques and barbed remarks, having previously reduced contestants and even former judge KAREN BARBER to tears — and Dancing On Ice wouldn’t be the same without him.
A show insider said: “Producers know that he provides real entertainment value, even if he can be really harsh.
“He’s a natural TV personality and brings a pantomime villain character to the table, as well as being a genuine expert in his field.
“Everyone’s really excited about his big return, but are braced for fireworks.” Mr Nasty Jason is a dab hand at the role, having been part of the judging panel on eight of the nine series since the show’s launch in 2006.
He missed the 2012 series after staging a dramatic walk out, later claiming ITV bosses begged for him to make a return amid plummeting viewing figures. Jason, below, said: “ITV did the show without me for a year and it obviously didn’t work, so they asked me back.
“They realised it desperately needed what I can bring and, in asking me to come back, they have admitted that they were wrong.
“On my first day, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean said to me, ‘You’re going to bring back the competitive element we’ve missed’.
“I give the celebrities the fear factor and the motivation to improve.
“I never patronise them. They have got enough judges on the panel who are going to do that and just tell them how wonderful they are all the time.”
Jason might not be everybody’s cup of tea but he is critical to its success.
IN 2006 Jason said Olympic gold medallist DAME KELLY HOLMES risked “looking like a man in drag”.
In 2010 he told swimmer SHARRON DAVIES she was like watching “faecal matter that won’t flush”.
He compared GORDON RAMSAY’S wife TANA to a “frigid schoolmistress” in the same year.
In 2011, trainer KAREN BARBER was told: “If your opinions mattered you’d still be on the panel.”
And in 2013 he described singer SHAYNE WARD as looking like he had “locked-in syndrome”.
READ ON FOR THE REST OF DAN WOOTTON’S BIZARRE TV COLUMN
ITV will tackle transgender issues in a new drama.
Butterfly tells the story of Max, a boy of 11 who feels he is meant to live as a girl.
ANNA FRIEL has been lined up to play Max’s mum Vicky in the three-part production, penned by Public Enemies screenwriter Tony Marchant.
Anna starred in that 2012 three-parter too.
ITV head of drama Polly Hill said: “Butterfly is a beautiful story about a young boy on the cusp of puberty who doesn’t feel comfortable in his own body.
“It’s a heartwarming and emotional script that focuses on gender identity and one boy’s search to be recognised for who he really is.”
The powerful tale, which involves life-changing decisions taken against the backdrop of a broken home, comes at a time when transgender rights are at the forefront of public debate.
I can’t wait to see it.
IT’S another role as a hapless posh boy for comic JACK WHITEHALL in Sky 1’s latest comedy Bounty Hunters.
Here, my first-look snap shows Jack’s character Barnaby stuck in the Middle East after messing up while taking care of his father’s antiques business.
He is joined by Oscar-nominee ROSIE PEREZ who plays a tough bounty hunter helping him escape terrorists and a Mexican drug cartel.
Doctor Who actress CHARITY WAKEFIELD plays his sister Leah.
It’s a shame Jack couldn’t rally his Decline And Fall co-star EVA LONGORIA to go along, too.
LOVE Island’s MONTANA BROWN has hinted at a romance with SNOOP DOGG’s model son Cordell Broadus.
She said: “When I went to LA I met Snoop Dogg’s son Cordell and he was just beautiful. It was like he was carved by angels.”
FAY RIPLEY’S Cold Feet character may be the family breadwinner.
But the actress insists in real life she earns the same as on-screen husband JOHN THOMSON.
Fay, who plays events planner Jenny Gifford, reckons there is no gender pay gap between cast on the ITV drama, unlike the one highlighted recently at the BBC.
She said: “I know for a fact that John isn’t paid more than me.
“But what everybody else is individually paid, I don’t know.
“We’re all far too English and have known each other way too long to discuss money on set.
“Women aren’t paid less on Cold Feet than men. If people aren’t paid the same, it’s based on work you’ve done previously and how famous you are.
“Maybe I’m paid the most. Even just thinking about it makes me smile. That would be amazing.”
Not for the rest.
THINGS might be going from strength to strength for DAVOOD GHADAMI, given his spot on this year’s Strictly.
The same can’t be said for his on-screen character Kush.
The stallholder’s life hangs in the balance during tonight’s episode of EASTENDERS after he suffered a cardiac arrest.
To make things worse, his family and girlfriend Denise get more bad news from doctors.
Meanwhile, there are wedding bells on HOLLYOAKS as Warren and Sienna’s big day arrives.
But as with everything in Soapland, it doesn’t run smoothly – as Warren’s side chick Grace is desperate to stop the wedding and get him all to herself.
It looks like this awkward love triangle will finally come to a head.
WHAT? Cruising with Jane McDonald, Channel 5, 9pm
WHY? Jane heads down the Rhone, experiencing a new side of France. In Lyon, she gets a taste of French cuisine at Marche Paul Bocuse, one of the country’s celebrated food markets.
AS reality shows go, Channel 5’s latest offering seems a pretty sweet deal.
Celebrity Taste of Italy sees five showbiz veterans – JUDITH CHALMERS, RULA LENSKA, JOHNNY BALL, IAN LAVENDER and DIANA MORAN – whisked off to a Tuscan villa in search of the good life.
In the four-parter, which launches on Friday, September 29 at 9pm, the gang take on challenges such as language lessons and learning to cook classic local dishes.
Singletons Rula and Diana go in search of their very own Italian stallions and find a charming fisherman.
Did they watch Love Island this summer?