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Review: Dancing on Ice, SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Our verdict: three stars

The thing about guilty pleasures is that if something's pleasurable, you shouldn't feel guilty about enjoying it. That is my theory at least. And if that is an attempt to validate my love of professional ice skating, then I'm OK with that because I do - I just love it. 

Dancing on Ice is my Sunday night pleasure, guilty or otherwise. The completely over the top costumes; the cheesy presenting and Schofield's dad jokes; but most of all the way that ice skating can be emotive, and even moving.

The Dancing on Ice Final Tour 2014 signals the end of the popular series which has run for nine years and turned out winners including ex-soap actors Ray Quinn, Hayley Tammadon and Sam Attwater, as well as produced some classic TV gold moments (thatscene where Todd Carty loses his bearings and accidently skates down the fire exit has garnered 45,000 hits on Youtube).

But away from the TV studios and into the belly of Hydro, the magic is slightly lost. Without the editing and clever camera trickery it's startling to see up close how slow much of the celebrity skating. And dare I say it, a little boring.

The tour is presented by Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean. They're a logical replacement for Christine Bleakley and our Philip, but there is little chemistry between the two when they're speaking and it feels as if they are going through the motions.

On the ice, though, they metamorphose into something very different. The VT (video tape for those who don't watch television of a dubious calibre) of the two describing how they came upon Bolero and the story behind the piece of music is enough alone to give both me and my ice skating-neutral friend goosebumps. The performance of it is otherworldly - they move together like one person, pre-empting each other's movements in a flawlessly cohesive dance. It is two minutes of sheer perfection.

The rest is just so-so. Lots of audience participation (fine), and an odd, condensed version of the show where we're asked to vote for our favourite skater via text (50p a pop) to have the Glasgow winner decided after the interval. Charging the audience to participate in a show they've already paid money to see is farcical. And of course the winner could only be Ray Quinn - having been victorious in two series of the programme could have told us that.

The professionals are stunning sportspeople, full of natural charisma that is palpable in from the back of the venue. Torvill and Dean are - on ice - a triumph. Two hours of the pair and the pros would have been a spectacle.

But the celebrities sell the tickets. Which is fine - and for some of the audience perhaps they are the guilty pleasures that they flock to the Hydro to see. Who am I to judge? I'll stick to crying at Bolero and being thankful it's dark enough that no one can see me. 

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