The latest series of Dancing On Ice, which airs next month, is making television history by featuring the first same sex couple as Ian Watkins, also known as H from Steps, is paired with professional skater Matt Evers.
It’s a momentous TV moment and one that also reduced Matt to tears. Speaking on White Wine Question Time, the pro skater said he burst into tears when ITV execs asked him to be part of the couple.
“I broke down in tears,” he confessed to podcast host Kate Thornton. “I did! At 43 years old, a crying man at three o'clock in the afternoon. It was a real moment. It's something that growing up, especially my generation, we didn't have those role models.”
Matt revealed that while he’s super happy to be part of the whole thing, he does feel a huge sense of responsibility to ensure that he and Ian are representing the community in the right way.
“I feel a massive responsibility because I want to do this justice” he explained. “I want to make sure that we set the goalpost correctly. I don't want it to be Blades of Glory. The point is that we are trying to make this normal. We are trying to represent the community”.
While the pairing has been celebrated throughout the media – making front page news – Matt revealed that his extended family haven’t been quite so happy with the publicity.
“I've seen a separation in my extended family,” he said. “Some of my aunts and my uncles have blanked me on Facebook. We love you, but we don't love who you are.”
Appearing on the podcast alongside Matt was magician and contestant on the show Ben Hanlin who asked Matt if skating with a man was different to skating with a woman.
“There's a few differences, but again, this has never been done before, so we don't quite know what to expect,” replied Matt. “Yes, I can lift him first and foremost. He can't lift me just because of the size difference, but in regard to what's the difference between anybody else that I've ever skated with before? There really isn't a difference.”
As with many shows like this, there have been numerous relationships on Dancing On Ice over the years, but it’s something that Matt says isn’t on the cards with Ian just yet!
“The thing about it is I'm very much a professional,” explained Matt. “I've never been able to have a showmance. It's because I'm a gay man and I've always skated with females and this is the first time when this situation could potentially spur something!
“I think at this stage though I'm so focused on making sure that we're getting our job done, that I haven't looked into the social aspect of our relationship. I haven't looked at him as a potential partner outside of the rink.”
Dancing On Ice starts on ITV on Sunday 5 January.
Hear Matt Evers and Ben Hanlin talk more about Dancing on Ice, including who they think may win this year and what it was really like skating with Gemma Collins, on this week’s episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.