Matt Chapman gets his skates on to become voice of ITV's Dancing on Ice
There have been times during his broadcasting career when Matt Chapman's forthright interviewing could be regarded as skating on thin ice.
It turns out such experiences could soon come in handy, for from next month Chapman will begin Dancing on Ice.
ITV Racing's betting presenter is expanding his portfolio into top TV territory having won the race to become commentator on the network's popular celebrity ice skating competition, which returns following a four-year absence with a new series, starting on Sunday, January 7.
The programme, ITV's answer to Strictly Come Dancing, regularly pulled in more than ten million viewers in its heyday, when Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby led the coverage.
The golden couple are coming back for more, as are judges Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, together with fellow "ice panellists" Jason Gardiner (the nasty one) and Ashley Banjo, who joins from dance troupe Diversity.
"This is a huge opportunity for me and good for racing," said Chapman. "Not many racing presenters have done prime-time television away from sport. I'm extremely proud to have the chance."
Chapman may or may not know the difference between a lutz and an axel, but that need not matter as he is set to have free rein to call the jumps executed by the likes of Love Island's Kem Cetinay, Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker and Bake Off champ Candice Brown exactly how he wants.
There may therefore also be the occasional "boom" and "yeeehaaa" from the At The Races star, who will be filling the role most famously held by the late Tony Gubba.
Chapman added: "ITV's director of sport Niall Sloane has supported me – thank you – but I didn't just get handed the gig. I believe quite a few were auditioned for the role. I did a lot of work and it paid off.
"The production staff have already said they want a day at the races, so the ripple effect is clear to see. Now I have to get Ashley Banjo to the track. Hopefully I can get across that skating and racing are fun. I'm sure one or two of the skaters will be 'out the gates' and 'setting a strong pace'.
"It's not quite sunk in yet just how big this is. In live TV anything can happen. Fingers crossed!"
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