- Torvill & Dean on the 30th anniversary of Bolero and the end of Dancing on Ice
- Karren Brady on selling her footballer husband, surviving a brain aneurism, her opinion on page 3, being a working mum and her feelings on Luisa Zissman’s appearance on Celebrity Big Brother
- Griff Rhys Jones on the sad death of Mel Smith
- Aaron Eckhart on working with Heath Ledger and getting a six-pack
- Plus a music performance from Kodaline
Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean
During the recording of The Jonathan Ross Show, which will be screened tomorrow night (Saturday 11th January), ice skating champions and Dancing on Ice mentors Torvill and Dean performed a special routine set to the Bolero – 30 years after their original routine won them a gold medal at the Olympics. The skaters also taught Jonathan Ross and guest Griff Rhys Jones a few skating moves – much to the fear of both Jonathan and Griff!
Torvill and Dean are currently working on the ninth and final series of the ITV show Dancing on Ice. When asked why they are not carrying on with the series, Christopher said: “We’ve got to a point in our careers that we’ve been doing it for nine years, we think it’s been a fantastic part of our life, but it’s coming at the same time as 30 years since we performed Bolero in 1984 and we just thought it was a really significant time for us to just take it easy a little bit.” However, Christopher added, “I don’t think we’ll ever officially retire.”
This year Torvill and Dean will be going on their final Dancing on Ice tour. “It might be our last Bolero outing,” said Christopher, sounding a little sad. “I think we’ll be seeing Bolero on the tour but it might be the last time we perform it within the programme,” added Jayne.
“It’s really significant for us because February the 14th for most people I know it’s Valentine’s Day, but for us it’s Bolero Day, because that’s the day we actually won the Olympics,” said Christopher.
Reflecting on that famous day back in 1984, Jonathan said: “Looking back at that clip of you winning, incredible moment, the music, the choice there was genius. It put that piece of music back into everyone’s consciousness. Do you think you would have been successful with another piece of music? How important was that to the win?”
“I think that was as much a part of it. It just captured everyone’s imagination,” said Christopher.
Jonathan asked: “Was it true that you almost couldn’t use that music because it’s too long?”
Jayne answered: “We had started to have music specially recorded so it was tailor made for what we needed and the original Bolero was about 16 minutes long, so we had to have it cut down or re-orchestrated to four minutes and the shortest he could make it was four minutes and 28 seconds. So we had to devise the choreography, which is why we started on our knees, because they don’t start the stopwatch until your blade touches the ice.”
Businesswomen Karren Brady became the Managing Director of Birmingham City FC at the tender age of 23. She married one of the footballers on the team, Paul Peschisolido.
Jonathan asked: “Was that strange? Did you have to manage and finesse that?”
Karren said: “Not really for me, probably more so for him, but I sold him because I needed the money.”
Jonathan said: “How many women would love to be in that position with their husbands?”
“Karren joked: “Exactly, most women want to give their husbands away, I managed to get a few quid for mine.”
Karren is an advocate for women being given business opportunities and as one of her early employers was David Sullivan on Sport Newspapers, Jonathan asked: "Now there’s a move saying ‘Let’s stop page 3’, where do you stand on that?”
Karren said: “In terms of page 3, I don’t really see that it’s relevant anymore, in a modern society. I’m not a prude and it’s not something I promote. I certainly wouldn’t do it myself and I certainly wouldn’t allow my daughter to do it, but I think you have to take a view generally. For me, I think it’s a bit old fashioned and it’s time to move on.”
Jonathan clarified: “So you’d say, ‘Let’s end it’, but you wouldn’t say, ‘Let’s ban it,’ necessarily?”
Karren concurred: “Yes, I think that’s probably right.”
As well as being an incredibly successful businesswoman, Karren is also a mother of two. Jonathan asked her if she ever feels she missed out on time with her children.
Karren said: “Well I didn’t take much maternity leave, which is a deep regret of mine. With Sophia, unfortunately I had a manager to sack, so I had to have my baby on the Wednesday and get up and go and do it on the Friday. It was pretty hardcore.”
She continued: “Now communication and the internet and mobile phones has made it far easier to be anywhere in the world and still working.”
Karren is well known for working alongside Lord Alan Sugar on The Apprentice. Jonathan asked her about former candidate Luisa Zissman who is currently appearing on Celebrity Big Brother.
Karren laughed as she said: “I’m just thankful that Alan’s in America because if he’d have watched her I think he’d have had a mild stroke after seeing what’s been going on.”
She continued: “Actually, underneath it all, she’s a pretty smart lady. I mean when she says, ‘I don’t care what people think of me,’ I think she genuinely means it and she’s mapped out what she wants to do with her life and that’s part of it. The thing is, if you’re on television you can get addicted to being on television and you want to do one thing, and another thing, and another thing, and before you know it, all you are is a television celebrity.”
Whilst Karren’s life has been very successful, it hasn’t always been easy. In 2006 Karren had a terrible health scare.
Karren explained: “I had an allergic reaction to something and I travel a lot. I work up one morning and I was all swollen, I had blotches everywhere. I decided that I would go and have some tests. Part of this body scan I had…they phoned me the following day and said, ‘We’re very sorry to tell you you’ve got a brain aneurysm. They said, ‘You need to go and see a specialist.’
Karren was told she had to go see the specialist the following day.
“I went and had this five hour operation and spent a couple of days in intensive care and then I was home.”
Jonathan said: “As I understand it, there’s a one in three chance that you make it, one in three chance that you make it but you’re severely affected by it, and a one in three chance that you don’t wake up. It’s really high risk.”
Karren said: “Yes, it’s serious. They say the first 24 hours are the most critical because they fill your brain with all these coils where the bubble is to strengthen it so the blood can’t burst through it, and you have to lay absolutely still for 24 hours.”
She continued: “One of the most important things about being ill is actually getting on with your life after it and closing the door and not reflecting on it. The other day I was in my local town centre and someone came running up to me and said, ‘My daughter has got an aneurysm, I need to talk to you’. I said, ‘God, that’s terrible,’ and I thought, ‘Why’s she talking to me?,’ and then I realised I had one. I’ve packed it away and I’ve got on with my life. I’ve had the best possible outcome of the operation. There is life after brain aneurysms, and things go on and, touch wood, I’ve not had a problem with it since,”
Griff Rhys Jones
Griff Rhys Jones is probably best known for being one half of the comedy duo ‘Smith and Jones’. Sadly, Mel Smith passed away in July last year, and Griff told Jonathan about losing his friend and co-star.
Griff said: What happened was I’m at home in Suffolk and I can hear my wife in the next room, talking to somebody and she was saying, ‘Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, that’s very sad,’ and put the phone down. I thought, ‘Should I go out there?’ I thought, ‘It’s probably one of her elderly relatives,’ so I knew immediately something was up. I was so shocked by the news. It’s one of those things that affectively, a lot of people had said at various stages, ‘Wow, Mel, it’s a miracle you’ve lived to 40,’ that sort of thing went on a lot with Mel because he did live his life…but none of us expected it, it was a terrible shock, really awful.”
Jonathan asked: “When did it feel real to you?”
Griff answered: “It didn’t for a long time. Apart from anything else you feel a lot of unfinished business going on and also, we hadn’t worked together for about five years in any long detail. We did a show for BBC One and he came in and did a bit on that and that’s really the last time we did a head to head. This was effectively the Griff Rhys Jones Show and he came and did some stuff for me and he was so generous and so…well, he was Mel, because Mel was unflappable, whereas I was flappable and Mel was just always calm and delightful to be with. He was very easy going and a very great bloke. The thing I miss most of all is the idea that there’s just nobody that I can think of who I can work with so easily.”
Actor Aaron Eckhart is known for his role in The Dark Knight, the film in which he worked opposite Heath Ledger immediately before his untimely death.
Aaron said: “I feel blessed to have been in the movie with him.”
Aaron is the star on the new movie I, Frankenstein. Jonathan commented of Aaron’s impressive six-pack which he shows off in the movie.
"I’m 45 so I had to work hard. I had an Australian trainer. I said ‘Try to kill me’. I figured, if you're going to have your shirt off in a worldwide movie you might as well go to the gym,” joked Aaron.