Celebrities

Ria Hebden reveals shes prepared for danger on the rink ahead of Dancing on Ice

After announcing live on air that she’s going to swap the Lorraine sofa for an ice rink for the next series of Dancing On Ice, Ria Hebden has been buzzing with excitement.

The presenter is a mega fan of the show, especially when it comes to top judges Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. Ria, 38, even confessed to us in our exclusive chat that she had a major fangirl moment when she first met them.

Ria, who has been on our TV screens since 2018 when she first appeared on This Morning, is now Lorraine’s resident entertainment editor, bringing us all the juicy celebrity gossip from that iconic sofa every week. She also co-hosts the ITV travel series All Around Britain with Alex Beresford.

Here, the star – who lives in London with her husband Mark and their two children Noah and Lula – tells us the reasons why she’s signed up for Dancing On Ice, what her family think of the danger, and how the nerves won’t hold her back…

Congratulations on Dancing on Ice, are you nervous?

Extremely nervous. But it’s one of ITV’s most sparkly shows, and I do love my sparkles, so I couldn’t believe it when they invited me to do it.

I feel I’m about to go on this wonderful journey and learn a new skill.

So, for me it feels magical, and I know I’m going to fall in love with this programme. Of course there’s an element of danger, but I’m prepared for that and I’m not afraid, because in life you have to try to challenge yourself.

Tell us about meeting Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean…

I felt like a child meeting Father Christmas for the first time – because Christopher has this lovely smiley face and magical twinkly eyes. He and Jayne have this lovely aura about them.

It is such a privilege to meet Olympic champions, so it’s something I will be telling my grandchildren. It’s why I love working in television. I had no idea he was going to do it, but Christopher suddenly lifted me up in his arms and spun me around about 20 times. It felt like I was flying.

How scary was that first day on the ice?

Extremely scary because I hadn’t been on an ice rink since my grandparents took me when I was 10. Even then they never let go of my hand. So that was the first time I had skated onto the ice on my own – while Jayne and Christopher watched.

What does your husband think about it all, because this show is seriously dangerous, isn’t it?

It is, but Mark backs me 100 per cent – in fact, he told me he wants me to win it. I never thought that far because I’m just enjoying being a complete novice.

My kids, Noah and Lula, are so excited as well and they laugh at me because you have to get used to wearing the skating boots, so I’ve started wearing them every night when we have dinner.

Have you met any fellow contestants yet?

I saw Sally [Dynevor from Corrie] in training, but not the others. I don’t even know who my partner will be, so I’m desperate to know.

Who else do you think has a chance of reaching the final?

Well, you have Brendan [Cole] who is a professional dancer. You have Kimberly [Wyatt] who was a Pussycat Doll… they will be good as performers because they have rhythm. But we all have a chance, I think. You just have to do the best you can.

You are so busy – have you always been ambitious?

I have always been a bit of a go-getter and I’m always setting myself goals. I’m very tenacious. Growing up, my dad was very supportive and encouraged me to work hard and go for my dreams, so I’m really grateful for all his support.

All Around Britain has become really popular – what do you love about hosting that show?

It’s such an inspirational programme and shines a light on the positive stories in all the different regions of Britain.

It’s a feelgood series and since lockdown I think it’s helped people get to know areas of Britain that they perhaps may want to visit instead of going abroad. I love doing this show and my co-host Alex Beresford is like my TV husband.

You are presenting every week on ITV’s Lorraine too – how do you two get along?

As a woman, everything about this show really works for me. It was a huge step for me and it’s something I have worked hard to achieve and now I’m there.

I get on really well with Lorraine, she’s such a professional and it’s a privilege to work with her. More importantly I feel there is a culture at ITV of women supporting women.

You have already achieved so much, what is your ultimate ambition – to have your own TV show?

I just don’t know – that’s big blue-sky thinking. I’m very happy doing the shows I have at the moment. I don’t have a master plan. I have my Wonder Women TV (an online network) and this year we launched a women’s mentoring programme in the middle of a pandemic and that was very powerful.

Having my own TV show? I’m putting that on my vision board.

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Lorraine airs daily, ITV. All Around Britain is available on the ITV Hub. Dancing On Ice starts January 2022 on ITV

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