How Ice changed my life...

Dan Whiston with Beth Tweddle and (below) Blackpool's Hayley Tamaddon and (bottom) Gaynor Faye.

Dan Whiston with Beth Tweddle and (below) Blackpool's Hayley Tamaddon and (bottom) Gaynor Faye.

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Three-time Dancing On Ice champion Dan Whiston today told of his pride - and sadness - after TV bosses wielded the axe on the show.

The ITV series, which regularly pulls in more than seven million viewers, will be screened for the last time in early 2014.

Dan Whiston with Blackpool's Hayley Tamaddon.

Dan Whiston with Blackpool's Hayley Tamaddon.

TV bosses are understood to have thought the show had reached the end of its natural life.

Poulton-based Dan won the competition with Gaynor Faye in 2006, Blackpool’s own Hayley Tamaddon in 2010 and Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle this year.

He said: “Everything has to run its course sadly and it’s been such an amazing few years.

“It’s completely changed my life – I have made some lifelong friendships and it has opened so many doors for me.

Dan Whiston with Gaynor Faye.

Dan Whiston with Gaynor Faye.

“I’ve been honoured to appear on the Royal Variety Show and appear alongside Coldplay at the Olympic ceremony. Without Dancing on Ice that wouldn’t have happened.

“To have won the programme three times too is just amazing - and no, I can’t pick a favourite dance partner!

“We’re all looking forward to the next chapter now and we will make sure the last series is as exciting as it can be.”

In eight series’ Dan skated with Gaynor Faye, Home and Away actress Emily Symons, former Page 3 girl Linda Lusardi, actresses Roxanne Pallett and Hayley Tamaddon, Atomic Kitten singer Kerry Katona, Brookside actress Jennifer Ellison and Olympic star Tweddle.

The decision to axe the show follows an announcement by ice dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, who have been mentors on the show since it launched that it would be their final series.

The show has been credited with reviving interest in ice skating around the UK and has had a successful spin-off tour.

The programme was initially seen as a “me-too” format following the success of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing but soon came into its own, attracting millions of fans.

Dan said: “It’s come full circle for us. We’ve had the most wonderful experience doing Dancing On Ice and we just wanted to finish at the top of our game and for the show to be on top of its game so we just felt it was the right time.”

ITV’s director of television, Peter Fincham, said: “Dancing on Ice has been a firm favourite with viewers since it launched eight years ago and we all have every intention of going out on a high next year.”

ITV promised there would be “nail biting new format twists” in the series.

Dan added: “After the series finishes we’re taking it for the final tour - our last final Dancing On Ice tour, all around the UK in March time. we’re not going to hang up out skates but we are going to slow them down a little bit.”

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