Dancing on Ice: 9 of the worst accidents of all time, from Joe Swash to Vanessa Bauer

Dancing On Ice 2020 has come to an end for another year, crowning Joe Swash and Alex Murphy as the winners on Sunday night. But the series got off to a rocky start after poor Michael Barrymore was forced to pull out of the competition due to injury. It’s not just the celebrities either who have fallen hard on the ice, the professional skaters aren’t immune from the odd tumble. Take a look at nine of the worst accidents to happen on the series since its inception in 2006…


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Joe Swash

Joe Swash managed to last until the final week in the 2020 series without serious injury. However, just a few days before the final, the former soap star was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery. His skating partner Alex Murphy accidentally sliced his ear with her skate during rehearsals which caused Joe to have “cauliflower ear”. This then became infected meaning Joe was forced to wear a huge bandage on his head until the final. “I’ve knocked the ear and it’s like a cauliflower ear, it just got swollen and they had to drain it and cut it a little bit,” the 38-year-old explained on Instagram. His partner Alex said: “I’ve never had that injury happen, I’ve done these roly polys before and it’s never happened ever, with anyone, only with Joe. It wouldn’t be a final if something hadn’t gone wrong for us.” 

Vanessa Bauer

Professional figure skater Vanessa Bauer, who was partnered with Diversity’s Perri Keily, was forced to miss one episode in the 2020 series after she slammed head-first into the ice rink during rehearsals. The 23-year-old shared a horrific video showing her nasty fall, later telling her fans: “Although I feel ok I am not allowed to skate this weekend… After banging my head into the wall I feel fine but @itv is super cautious and really takes care of us skaters which is why I went through SO many tests… For the sake of my health, I have to rest my brain.”

Luckily Vanessa was given the all-clear to perform again the following week. Sharing her good news on her Instagram Stories, Vanessa said: “Finally been given the green light to skate again. Thanks so much for all of your get well messages that meant a lot.”

Michael Barrymore

Michael Barrymore‘s big TV comeback wasn’t to be as the former Strike It Lucky presenter was forced to pull out of the 2020 series weeks before it had even started. The 67-year-old suffered a nasty fall during rehearsals which resulted in a broken wrist. Ouch!

Releasing a statement after the accident, Michael said: “Shortly after shooting the Dancing On Ice Christmas Special I took a tumble whilst rehearsing for the January shows. After the fall, I thought I had sprained my wrist but it turns out that it is broken. Unfortunately, the medics have told me that I cannot compete. I am absolutely devastated.” He was replaced by Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya.

Gemma Collins

Reality TV star Gemma Collins suffered a dramatic fall during a live episode of Dancing On Ice in 2019. While she got up and continued her routine, Gemma later revealed that she had damaged her knee, which she says still hasn’t fully healed. In December, the 38-year-old told the Express: “It’s only recently I’ve been able to touch my knees again. They were very painful. I mean my knee has just slightly gone down. I’ve got a lot of fluid on my knee from Dancing On Ice.”

But Gemma claims that wasn’t the worst of her injuries. She added: “I’ll be recovering from Dancing On Ice for the rest of my life. I nearly died on the ice. I nearly smashed my jaw, broke my neck.”

Anthony Cotton

In 2018, Coronation Street star Anthony Cotton fractured several ribs during training with partner Brandee Malto. He said at the time: “Brandee and I were training for this week’s show when we lost our balance and both fell backwards onto the ice. Luckily, Brandee was uninjured but I was taken to hospital where I discovered I had fractured a couple of ribs, front and back.”

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Jennifer Ellison

Jennifer Ellison has her own flexibility to blame for her horrific accident back in 2012. The actress managed to slice the top of her head open with her skate blade – yet still finished her routine! It was only after her performance that she was rushed backstage to receive medical attention as blood started pouring from her scalp. Explaining the incident to host Phillip Schofield, her pro partner Daniel said at the time: “Jen is so flexible she did the Scorpion kick and hit the heel of her skate into the back of her head.” Luckily for Jennifer, she was patched up and was back on the ice the following week.

Matt Evers

There is plenty of trust needed between the professional skater and their partner, especially when it comes to some of the more daredevil moves. But sometimes, accidents do happen, as former Hollyoaks actress Jorgie Porter learnt when she accidentally sliced open her partner Matt Evers’ face in 2012.

During their rehearsal, the actress was preparing for a dangerous stunt when she brought her legs up around Matt’s neck. However, Jorgie slipped and sent her skate blade straight across her partner’s face. He was taken to hospital and received stitches but was soon back on the ice to perform their routine on the live show – which luckily went off without a hitch.

Vanilla Ice

In 2011, Vanilla Ice suffered a gruesome injury after a very nasty fall on the ice during rehearsals. The 90s star hit the ground so hard that he cracked his eye – his actual eye! With blood gushing from his wound, the rapper was rushed to the hospital with a concussion and required multiple stitches.

Keith Chegwin

The late Keith Chegwin was a contestant on the 2011 series of Dancing On Ice, a show he admitted he had always wanted to take part in. However, the TV star only lasted one day after a tumble on the ice left him with a broken shoulder in three places and three cracked ribs. After being rushed to hospital he was forced to pull out of the competition, but was invited back for the 2012 series where he made it all the way to week seven.

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