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First celebrity contestant eliminated from Dancing On Ice

(Matt Frost/ITV)
(Matt Frost/ITV)

Ben Foden has become the first celebrity contestant to be eliminated from Dancing On Ice.

The former England rugby player, 36, faced broadcaster Ria Hebden in a tense skate-off after failing the impress the judges and receive enough votes from the public.

The judging panel – Oti Mabuse, Jayne Torvill, Christopher Dean and Ashley Banjo – unanimously chose to save Hebden.

Asked whether he had enjoyed his time on the show, Foden praised his partner Robin Johnstone.

He said: “I really have. As I have said before, this woman is so incredible, and it’s the people that make this experience.

“I thought there would be someone who couldn’t skate, but turns out it was me.”

During the skate-off, Foden performed to Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton, while Hebden delivered an upbeat dance to Me! by Taylor Swift.

Sunday’s show also saw Regan Gascoigne, son of former England footballer Paul, secure the highest score of the series so far, with a routine to Too Good At Goodbyes by Sam Smith.

The judges awarded the singer and dancer 33 points out of a possible 40.

Dean described it as “contemporary dance on ice”, adding: “I loved the simplicity of the movement.”

Earlier in the show, Mabuse was forced to clarify her score after accidentally overmarking Foden.

The sportsman was first to perform, delivering a routine to Livin’ la Vida Loca by Ricky Martin featuring hip-shaking and jumps.

The judging panel scored him 23 out of a possible 40 points, with Torvill praising him for the “fun” routine.

However, Mabuse initially awarded him 6.5 points but quickly admitted she had become too “excited” and pressed the button for six twice – resulting in an additional half point.

Despite Foden urging Mabuse to let him keep the half point, co-hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield said they would have to deduct it.

Happy Mondays dancer Bez also made his return to the Dancing On Ice studio after finishing his period of self-isolation.

He had tested positive for Covid-19 the day after making his debut on the show last week.

He said: “I’ve been calling it hibernation because I have been sleeping all week. I feel absolutely fantastic. I was one of the lucky ones who had no symptoms whatsoever.”

In a first for the show, judges Torvill and Dean skated to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds while being filmed by a drone controlled from within the studio.

Former S Club 7 singer Rachel Stevens was absent due to an injury sustained during training.

Six of the competition’s 12 couples skated last weekend, with Brendan Cole and Kimberly Wyatt topping the leaderboard.

The episode began with a group dance by the professionals to Higher Power by Coldplay, in which they flew through the air on harnesses.

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