WITH just four days to go, bosses fear Dancing On Ice could be pulled before opening night after five crew members tested positive for Covid.
Now producers behind the series, which kicks off on Sunday hosted by Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, are frantically tightening up the rules to stem the spread.
A TV insider said: “More than five members of production are isolating because of Covid right now — it’s become a nightmare.
ITV have put a number of stringent rules in place, and after seeing members of production going down with it, they are urging everyone to take note of them.
“They’re now enforcing even stricter regulations.
“But while there are concerns about further people having to isolate, bosses are confident they have put all the precautions in place to safely be able to get the show on air.”
The live audience around the rink where stars including Denise Van Outen will perform had already been axed.
Now producers have placed perspex screens between judges Jayne Torvill, Christopher Dean, Ashley Banjo and John Barrowman.
An ITV spokesman said: “The welfare of everyone who works on Dancing On Ice is our first priority.
“We have had a robust set of measures in place ever since work on the series commenced to ensure the wellbeing of everyone connected with the production.”
I hope they can pull it off safely. It would be a tragedy if it fell at the final hurdle.
All round to Michael’s for sequel
It was one of the biggest hits of the festive period – and now The Wheel is coming back for a second series.
I can reveal BBC1 has struck a deal with host Michael McIntyre for the programme to return on the back of it bagging almost five million viewers an episode.
That makes it one of the Beeb’s most successful game shows in years.
A TV insider said: “A lot of gameshows come and go, and getting a hit on a Saturday night is tricky given how much competition there is. But The Wheel quickly attracted a loyal following and people seemed to be talking about it. ”
Contestants on the show remain static in the middle of a giant wheel while celebrities are seated about ten feet away.
That set-up is particularly Covid-safe. But like many viewers, I do still wish they would ask more than one question every five minutes.
Alison: I’d like to spin with a hunk
Former Celebs Go Dating contestant Alison Hammond is hunting for a man again – a “glamorous” male assistant for her reboot of classic game show Wheel Of Fortune to fill the role previously occupied by Jenny Powell and Carol Smillie.
Speaking to AJ Odudu on the ITV podcast My Life In TV, This Morning host Alison said: “I want to do the spinning of the wheel, and I want my own male glam model. That would be amazing – a really hot one.”
The Sun told last month that Alison is filming a pilot for Wheel Of Fortune – last on in 2001 and previously hosted by Bradley Walsh and Nicky Campbell.
As great as they’d both look in a sequin gown, it might be time for a fresh face.
Have Faith . . . drama to hit Dales
The Dingle family will be thrown into chaos when matriarch Faith Dingle returns to Emmerdale next month.
Actress Sally Dexter will reprise her role in the ITV soap in the most bizarre fashion – dressed as an undertaker in the process of stealing a hearse.
Faith was last seen leaving the Village in a taxi after son Cain (Jeff Hordley) refused to forgive her for hiding secret love child Nate Robinson (Jurell Carter).
On the return to the Dales, having left in October 2019, Sally said: “It’s wonderful to be back in Emmerdale again.
“From the first day I felt like I was getting a big, warm family hug from everyone. It’s a really special show.”
Soap star return
ANOTHER familiar Emmerdale face will appear back on our screens next month – in EastEnders.
Yorkshireman turned Cockney Ben Freeman will arrive on the streets of Walford as Caleb.
The actor shot to fame playing Emmerdale bad boy Scott Windsor for nine years, last appearing in a soap in 2007.
New ’Enders character Caleb is expected to appear in a number of episodes as part of an ongoing storyline involving Chelsea Fox (Zaraah Abrahams), who recently returned to Albert Square.
Mat pens perfect show
Gavin And Stacey star Mat Horne is penning his own comedy drama about a man who has the perfect world – then somehow wrecks it.
The actor, best known for playing central character Gavin Shipman in the BBC1 show, will turn his writing talents to creating Loose.
Mat said: “The show is a fast-paced comedy about a man who’s got everything to lose, and does. Loose charts his fall and rise, as he finds himself – in the face of major adversity – becoming the father he never knew he wanted to be.”
The show, which has yet to be bought by a channel, tells the story of Howie Doohan, a stock market trader and father of a disabled child.
He makes a run for it after losing a fortune and leaves behind his wife Angelica, a top-flight district attorney who also happens to have a chronic gambling addiction.
Sounds like a right hoot.
THE Pembrokeshire Murders has broken records – bagging the biggest audience for a new ITV drama series since The Durrells in April 2016.
The three-parter, starring Luke Evans as DS Steve Wilkins and Keith Allen as serial killer John Cooper, debuted on Monday with 6.3 million viewers.
Gym & tonic Bobby
Casualty new boy Bobby Lockwood is best known as the actor who won Tumble, the Beeb’s ill-fated gymnastics contest.
But as this picture from the BBC1 drama shows, he’s about to go from tumble to saucy fumble, after joining as hunky new paramedic Leon and hooking up with a colleague.
It certainly seems to have put a smile on his face.
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