Diversity star Ashley Banjo appeared on ITV’s Lorraine this morning, where he hit back at claims he’s not qualified to be a judge on the upcoming series of Dancing On Ice.
Ashley will be joining famed figure skating pair Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, and choreographer and producer, Jason Gardiner on the show.
While chatting to the dancer, host Lorraine Kelly mentioned that there was scepticism about his suitability for the role, as he is not a trained ice skater.
“People are saying you shouldn’t be on the panel because you don’t ice skate,” she said.
“I love skating,” Ashley responded, “I’ve skated since I’ve been a kid, even though I’ve never done it professionally, or competitively.
“But there’s so much involved in it, from the musicality to the choreography, to the performance, and that is what I’m there to look after.”
He continued, saying that the breadth of experience on this year’s judging panel would make them a strong unit.
“As a panel, I think we feel really rounded, I think we can give a really well-rounded response.”
He also mentioned that the public would want more than just technical skating skill.
“The public are really smart,” he said, “and the thing about the British public is they’re not going to be voting for the best ice skater but someone who is entertaining.”
Ashley already has the support of fellow judge, the famously hard-to-please Jason, who told The Sun he was looking forward to working with him.
“I’m always open to learning something from people I respect and I absolutely respect Ashley and what he’s done,” he said.
“What feels great is that for the first time, the panel feels solid. Everybody who is on it is an expert in their own right. They have incredible experience that they are going to bring to the panel and the show.”
He confessed to not feeling the same about previous judging panels, claiming some past judges hadn’t had the experience the show needs.
“I think [the show previously] was missing people who really had an understanding or an actual experience in dance,” he said. “I’m just going to leave that there, I don’t need to name names.”
The new series of Dancing On Ice starts on the 7th of January, and features celebrity contestants including Love Island’s Kem Cetinay, actress Brooke Vincent, and singer Lemar.