Dancing on Ice champion Kyran Bracken has been brushing up on his skating skills on a visit to Deeside.
The former England rugby union scrum half spent about two hours at Deeside Leisure Centre training for his appearance in Holiday on Ice: Sprit.
He was joined by his skating partner in the show at the Echo Arena, Liverpool, Suzanna Dagger.
Speaking exclusively to The Chronicle, he said: “I felt really cruel because we took up about three-thirds of the ice and there were about 50 people on the rest, but they were very kind. All of the girls were brilliant, all the boys and the coaches.
“The only thing is, I dropped my partner a couple of times! But we needed that time to practice so that we were in better shape.
“It’s a great ice rink. There were loads of kids there, which was brilliant.”
Kyran, who won 51 caps for England and was a British Lion and played for Saracens, Bristol and Waterloo RFC, learnt to skate when he appeared on hit ITV show Dancing on Ice in 2007, which saw him then join the show’s national tour.
“I think it’s a fantastic sport and there’s so much to learn other than when you first get on the ice and slip and fall over,” he said. “Actually when you get into the sport, get some lessons, you know you can actually have so much fun learning jumps, spins and maybe doing some pairs stuff.
“But, from my point of view, at Deeside it was great to see so many of them skating and doing really tricky things, I felt a bit of an amateur there when I saw what some of them were doing, so thumbs-up to Deeside and to all the kids who were there.
“Some of them you know might be the next Torvill and Dean!”
Kyran’s latest skating role in Holiday on Ice saw him doing two routines, which included lifts and a caterpillar along the ice.
The show, which ended its run on Sunday, took the audience on a voyage from East to West following the themes of earth, water, fire and air.
“Holiday on Ice is very different to Dancing on Ice,” he said. “Dancing on Ice is about celebrities who have learnt to skate in a short space of time and Holiday on Ice is about professionals, about how skating is done by the best in the world.
“So, from my point of view, I’ve been brought in to join in that celebration of such good skating and, while I’m not a professional skater, I can still come up with some nice routines and fun routines.
“I’d rather have Todd Carty on my side though to make me look good because the rest of these guys are just amazing!
“When you see what they can do; the jumps, the throws, the flying, I mean, it’s incredible. Then you see me and you might be like ‘oh, he’s not that good’.”
Kyran says the key to becoming a good skater is learning to fall.
“If you learn to fall you’ll learn quicker,” he said. “I try to skate four times a week now. I do it as much as I can.
“I’ve retired from rugby, I don’t play anymore, I’ve taken over a bit from the coaching, so I’m a skating man now and I love it!”