ITV brought the finale of this year’s Dancing On Ice series a week ahead after a series of celebrities had dropped out of the show with illness and injury.
The final show will now be on March 14, instead of March 21 as scheduled.
Contestants Dropping Out
The decision comes after producers canceled last week’s live program due to disruption.
On Monday Jason Donovan became the latest star to drop out, following Denise van Outen, Billie Shepherd, Rufus Hound and Joe-Warren Plant.
The Australian singer and actor suffered from back pain, while actor van Outen and TV star Shepherd both sustained injuries during training.
Meanwhile, comedian Hound and Emmerdale actor Plant have been tested positive for Covid-19.
On top of the celebrity withdrawals, professional skater Hamish Gaman, who partnered soap actress Faye Brookes, dropped out last week after injuring a finger while putting on a sock. He was replaced by Matt Evers.
Brookes told ITV’s This Morning on Friday that training with a new partner was “brand new”, adding: “We had 11 hours together to get ready for Sunday.”
Evers said: “We are still standing, morality here is still high.
“We know we’re up against a lot this year and it’s just a matter of making the best out of a weird situation that 2020 and 2021 have brought, so it’s a matter of continuing to move forward, keeping that smile on our faces and hopefully entertaining people on Sunday night.”
The competition will continue this weekend with the remaining five celebrities – Brookes, Rebekah Vardy, Lady Leshurr, Colin Jackson and Sonny Jay.
An ITV spokesperson said: “Our production team and cast have delivered a fantastic show during incredibly challenging times. Continuing to make the best TV for our viewers is our top priority and we look forward to the rest of the series.”
Dancing On Ice is not alone in dealing with the disruption of its program in recent months.
Britain Got Talent has also been postponed to next year due to safety concerns during the COVID pandemic. The organizers said it would be difficult for acts such as dance groups, choirs and orchestras to practice and evaluate properly.
It followed a delay in filming its Christmas special after at least three crew members tested positive for coronavirus.
ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! relocated from the Australian jungle to a derelict castle in north Wales because of the pandemic.
On the BBC, Strictly Come Dancing was also suffering when former boxer Nicola Adams and Strictly Come Dancing teammate Katya Jones left the competition after Jones was found to have COVID.
Bruno Tonioli could not be with his fellow judges because he couldn’t fly back and forth between the UK and the US, where he was appearing on Dancing with the Stars. And Motsi Mabuse had to self-isolate for two weeks after an “urgent” trip abroad.
In January the recording of ITV’s Emmerdale soap was suspended for a week after many positive tests were found in those working on the sets.
And fellow soap Coronation Street paused production for two weeks to allow its writers to change its then-future storylines and scripts to ensure it was feasible to film them within current restrictions.
Both shows managed to continue screening six episodes a week.