Former Dancing On Ice judge Jason Gardiner has hit out at the beleaguered show for attempting to stage the competition in the middle of the pandemic.
The ex-panellist, who was famed for his barbed remarks, called the show “cold”, “flat”, and “predictable” and claimed producers should “never” tried to get it on air this year.
The current series has been blighted by injuries and Covid cases, with five contestants having to withdraw.
ITV was also forced to pause the show for a week, and has recently brought the final forward as a result of the drop-outs.
Speaking to The Sun, Jason, who left Dancing On Ice following the 2019 series, said: “I’ve attempted to watch the new series, but it’s not the same show. They all look worn down. There’s no one having a laugh, it’s as cold as ice to watch it. I think it’s lost the fun element.
“The energy is very flat and weird. It’s predictable. I know all the judges are going to say really nice things — they’re non-provocative. It’s just flat.”
Criticising bosses for airing the show during the coronavirus pandemic and putting extra pressure on the NHS, Jason continued: “You can’t go out dancing, but here we are watching celebrities dance on ice with a pro skater in a pandemic and still spreading Covid, even though they’re under strict quarantine measures. Why would you even try?
“They should never have done it in the first place and it’s playing out now they’re going to have to shorten the show — that’s a classic fail, in my view.
“There’s also the extra pressure on the NHS. There are adverts telling us to stay home, every injury and hospital appointment is obviously a strain the NHS does not need right now.”
Jason added that he believes there has been such a large number of injuries as they are “not mentally strong enough” and are “worn down”.
Jason Donovan became the fifth contestant forced to quit the show last week, after failing to recover from a back injury that saw him pull out of a live show earlier this month.
West End performer and TV personality Denise Van Outen previously quit the series when she fractured her shoulder on the ice, while comedian Rufus Hound also stepped down when he tested positive for Covid-19.
Reality star Billie Shepherd had to bow out early when she suffered a concussion during rehearsals, a week after missing a live show due to a personal bereavement.
Emmerdale star Joe-Warren Plant then became the fourth contestant to quit, after he and his skating partner Vanessa Bauer tested positive for Covid-19.
Professional skater Hamish Gaman had to pull out of the series after injuring his hand while putting on a sock, while fellow pro Yebin Mok was forced to quit after a “freak accident” while rehearsing with her celebrity partner, Grahame Bell.
Earlier this week, ITV confirmed the current series of Dancing On Ice will conclude a week sooner than planned on 14 March, following the decision to take the show off air last Sunday in the hope of getting the competition back on track.
Five celebrities now remain in the competition, including rapper Lady Leshurr, former soap star Faye Brookes and Olympian Colin Jackson, media personality Rebekah Vardy and radio presenter Sonny Jay.
Dancing On Ice continues on Sunday at 6pm on ITV.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.