SO what does Christopher Biggins know about ice skating? How could he possibly be judging the Dancing On Ice tour when it comes to the city later this month? Because he’s there to entertain, obviously.
Although the panto star and I’m A Celebrity... winner makes an effort to pretend he knows what he’s talking about.
“I saw the final and I thought that Ben was fantastic. He was a deserved... it was Ben, wasn’t it? Who won it?”
“Oh Sam,” he laughs uproariously.
“And Laura. Am I right with Laura? Listen, I didn’t know who half the people were this year,” he admits.
Did you know who Vanilla Ice was?
“Oh, of course. He is such fun and very nice on the eye too.”
Biggins will be back at the Capital FM Arena to guest judge the celebs that include Vanilla Ice, Chloe Madeley, Dave Vitty, Laura Hamilton, Denise Welch and Ben, sorry, Sam Attwater. Last year’s winner, Hayley Tamaddon, will also appear.
“I absolutely adored it because I love Torvill and Dean and we had such a fun time,” says Biggins of last year’s tour.
Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean will be on hand again to both perform and offer their opinions on the celebrity skaters.
The tour opens this weekend in Sheffield and makes its way to Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena for four shows on April 20 and 27.
Biggins will be judging alongside Robin Cousins and Karen Barber, while Andi Peters once again hosts.
It sounds like an easy gig for Biggins.
“It’s very much full-on,” he insists.
“If you’re a skater you have to be there at 10.30 in the morning to practice and rehearse then you have to skate at the afternoon show...”
But he’s not a skater, so can roll up at lunchtime.
“Last year was a very party group of people,” says the 60-year-old, who started his TV career in 70s comedies Porridge, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? and Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.
“I was rather boring and used to go back to the hotel. My partner Neil, he likes a drink, he’d go out with them and come back at five in the morning. I don’t know how they all found the energy. Although breakfast the following morning was a sight to be seen. All these absolutely wasted skaters and I was as fresh as a daisy.”
He adds: “I prefer a dinner to going out and getting wasted on drink. Although I went out one day with Chris, Jayne and Karen to a distillery and we had such a funny day. We tried whisky after whisky after whisky.”
It was in Nottingham last April that his partner had one too many.
“He’ll hate me for telling you this but he came in one night at around five and I went back to sleep. When I woke up at nine he wasn’t to be seen, so I went in to the bathroom and there he was. He’d fallen into the bath, fully clothed and fast asleep.”
Since the last tour Biggins has done pantomime in Wolverhampton (“it is a dump”), had a holiday in Mauritius and filmed the Channel Four reality show Celebrity Five Go To... South Africa.
The series puts five familiar faces together in a holiday resort and they compete in a series of tasks to be crowned the best travelling companion.
“Let me tell you, don’t ever go on holiday with people you don’t know,” he says.
But weren’t they celebs?
“I believe so, but half of them I didn’t know.”
Along with Sheila Ferguson of The Three Degrees (“she talked non-stop about sex”), model Paula Hamilton (“mad as a hatter”) and former cricketer Ed Giddins (“a very nice guy”), was Stuart Baggs, the overly confident contestant thrown off the last series of The Apprentice.
“One of the most obnoxious people I have ever had the misfortune to come across and hope I never have to again,” says Biggins of Baggs.
“Luckily he was the first to be evicted.”
The show airs next month.
“We were there for ten days but we didn’t have any social time. We were doing 16 hour days. The cameras would wake me up in the morning and off we went. We went on a safari and we swam with sharks. We went to Seal Island, which was an amazing sight and an amazing smell because all you smell is seal urine.”
Torvill and Dean’s Dancing On Ice 2011 UK Tour visits the Capital FM Arena on Wednesday April 20 and 27, with performances at 2:30pm and 7:30pm.
Tickets are £32.50 to £57.50, call 08444 124624 or visit www.capitalfmarena.com.