He was booted from Dancing On Ice, but no one could have predicted that show executives would entice Jason Gardiner to return to help the ailing show. He opens up to The Daily Mail about his return to the judging panel.
He says of his departure from the reality competition, "all of a sudden I was a nobody and I was treated that way", speaking to Dan Wooton at The Daily Mail.
"I stopped getting invited to anything. The phone stopped ringing. There was a very big cold shoulder". Gardiner sat on the panel between 2006 and 2011, being replaced last year by friend and fellow choreographer Louie Spence.
"I was shocked" Jason reveals, speaking about the circumstances of his return for the first time. "It’s a first – bringing someone back as a judge after an entire year. In this business, if you leave something you’re not coming back".
When show executives clambered to get the fiery Australian back on the panel, he says "my heart initially sank. I’d moved on. The experience was still very raw and I certainly wasn’t very excited".
Continuing, he explains: "Honestly, I felt sad that a show I was so synonymous with was not doing as well as it should and had lost favour with the public. I couldn’t believe it. But I felt it showed there was a real justification for what I did for the show which I never got appreciation for".
Speaking about his 2010 on-air heated exchange with head coach Karen Barber, he explains: "There was so much heat after that last series for me. I was being branded a bully and had serious death threats".
Both panellists now return to their former roles to sit side by side on the judging panel. Dancing On Ice returns Sunday evening on ITV1 at 6:15pm and 8:30pm.