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Holly Willoughby’s Dancing On Ice return draws 3.6 million viewers

Holly Willoughby’s return to television on Dancing On Ice was watched by 3.6 million viewers, ITV has said.

The Sunday night show, which saw stars including Amber Davies and Ricky Hatton take to the ice, peaked with an audience of four million.

It marked a return to television for 42-year-old Willoughby, who has been absent from screens since she left This Morning in October after 14 years on the sofa.

The programme also reunited the TV star with Stephen Mulhern, who has replaced Phillip Schofield as host of the skating show.

She previously worked with Mulhern on Saturday morning children’s show Ministry Of Mayhem 20 years ago.

The show was later titled Holly & Stephen’s Saturday Showdown.

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

Before the show Willoughby posted on Instagram: “Let’s do this 1 sequin at a time.”

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.”

In the episode, Hatton was put into next week’s skate-off after a boxing-inspired performance failed to thrill the judges or TV audience.

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

Dressed in a boxing outfit, Hatton wore knee pads as he did mini-punches and press-ups on the ice to Rocky movie theme tune Gonna Fly Now by Bill Conti, with his professional skating partner Robin Johnstone.

Judge Ashley Banjo said the routine was “iconic” and Hatton could be proud of the audience’s reaction.

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

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 Davies, Emmerdale actress Roxy Shahidi, Olympian Greg Rutherford and S Club 7 star Hannah Spearritt also performed during the launch show.

Next week, radio presenter Adele Roberts, EastEnders star Ricky Norwood, actress Claire Sweeney, reality TV personality Miles Nazaire, comedian and writer Lou Sanders, and former ski-jumper Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards compete for the first time.