Starring role for Kirkby skating sensation

Mark Hanretty- Taken by Steve Brown
Mark Hanretty- Taken by Steve Brown

Ice-skating has been important to the county since Nottinghamshire-born Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won gold in the 1984 Winter Olympics to Maurice Ravel’s Boléro.

But now it is time for Kirkby’s very own professional ice skater to shine as he takes over their role – choreographing and performing in the returning ITV show Dancing On Ice.

You might recognise Mark Hanretty as he skated in three seasons of the celebrity talent show which is airing from Sunday, January 7.

He danced with Nadia Sawalha in 2011, Rosemary Conlet in 2012 and with politician Oona King in 2013.

While dancing with Oona King viewers watched in horror as he dislocated his arm.

He has also stepped in to partner Byker Grove actress and singer Donna Air in this season of the show, after her original ice-skating partner dropped out.

Mark has said he is excited to be joining the competition, which is back after a four-year absence after it ran from 2006 to 2014.

He said: “It is likely to be very intense every day.

“It is super exciting – it is the best show to be part of.”

Mark will be taking over Torvill and Dean’s previous job on the show as they are to sit on the judging panel.

Mark has said that he, alongside US champion skater Renée Roca will be choreographing the performances by the professional skaters on the show.

He said: “It is an honour to be asked to choreograph the professional performances.

“I have to be optimistic about what viewers will think of it, I am anxious to see how it will be received.”

Mark is also an aerialist skater, which combines ice-skating with aerial silks and has picked up two bronze medals in the British Figure Skating Championships with his then skating partner Christina Chitwood.

The 32-year-old, originally from Scotland, lives with his wife Kathy and his four-year-old son Lukasz and nine-month-old daughter Liola, in Kirkby.

He said he will find it hard to be away from home for the ten weeks the program is airing.

He said: “Being in London for the show for so long is far from ideal, but my wife is really supportive.

“It is hard to be apart but hopefully I will be home once a week.”

When Mark is not ice-skating with celebrities he is coaching or choreographing professional ice-skaters.

He mostly works in Sheffield, coaching British Champions and some members of the British Olympic Team.