As a former British Champion and Junior World Ice Dancing Champion, who was ranked in the world’s top five ice dancers and has competed in two Winter Olympics, he was one of the best-qualified members of the panel.Then last autumn he was told the show was being ‘refreshed’ for 2011 and that his services were no longer required.All white on the night: Penelope Cruz appears to have taken inspiration from Kate Middleton's wedding dress in her white lace dress by Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci at the Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides premiere Her co-star Johnny Depp arrived to a chorus of hysterical screaming from his thousands of female fans, and cut a sharp appearance, in contrast to his sometimes scruffy style, in a smart dark grey suit and green shirt.He said: 'I had a little bit of a physical ailment.‘I think Robin looks very good in the middle of the panel as chief judge but although a great skater he was not an ice dancer, which is what the competition is about.And that was the expertise Karen and I brought to the panel.’However, he admits it would have made him even more unhappy about being sacked if he had been replaced by someone with similar qualifications.‘The bonus is that with fewer judges there is more time for them to all have their say, so some really constructive points can be made.When there were five of us, only two or three would be called upon, but we never knew who Holly Willoughby was going to ask.
‘The emphasis now is on entertainment, rather than having a serious ice dancing competition — which is the wrong way around.’ The judging panel is down from five to three people — choreographer Jason Gardiner, singles skating champion Robin Cousins and singer Emma Bunton — and is unbalanced, Nicky feels.
‘So that created tension, which I sensed was missing on Sunday with them all knowing they could have their say — it was a bit anodyne.‘But now, not only have the judges been cut down, they have been sidelined, at the far end of the rink instead of being at the front where they can better see and be seen.
‘What’s the point of having Karen sitting at the side and having no say in the marking?
‘On Sunday, I saw Kerry Katona being virtually carried around the floor by her partner, Dan Whiston. ‘Jason gave her high marks, as he didn’t see beyond the presentation to the technique — why would he? If I had been on the panel, I would have marked her down and, no doubt, there would have been a fuss with me seen as the baddie.‘And talking of Jason, what’s happened to him?
I don’t mean that he seems to have given up those roll-neck jumpers — so last year — in favour of a cheeky hat, but he’s in danger of becoming Mr Nice Guy.‘Every criticism he made last week was tempered by an encouraging comment.