The Real Full Monty on Ice

The Real Full Monty on Ice, ITV, review: surprisingly entertaining and thought-provoking

The real meat, however, comes from hearing the reasons why each person is taking part

By Sarah Hughes, iNews, December 14, 2020 10:30 pm

The Real Full Monty on Ice is the sort of series that sounds ludicrous on paper: a bunch of celebrities come together, dance, bond and strip on live TV in the name of cancer charities. Oh, and this year they’ve got to do all that on a freezing cold ice rink. The reality, however, is the sort of programme that takes you by surprise simply by dint of its heartfelt tenderness.

This year’s collection of celebs are the usual mixed bunch with the men featuring everyone from reality TV stars Chris Hughes and Jake Quickenden (who rather endearingly notes: “You probably know me as that guy who’ll appear in any show”) to sporting icons, Welsh rugby player, Gareth Thomas and former Grand National winning jockey Bob Champion. The women include one-time Page Three goddess Linda Lusardi, Emmerdale actress Hayley Tamaddon and the formidable former presenter of Women’s Hour.

With some proving more adept on ice than others – a number of contestants have taken part in Dancing on Ice, with Quickenden winning it last year – there’s a decent amount of fun to be had wondering if team leaders, Ashley Banjo and Coleen Nolan, will be able to whip them into shape for tomorrow’s socially distanced finale in front of a virtual audience.

The real meat, however, comes from hearing the reasons why each person is taking part. Some, such as Hughes, have talked openly before about their family’s experiences with cancer, others such as his fellow Love Islander Shaughna Phillips are clearly opening up for the first time (Phillips’ father died of cancer when she was a teen). The most emotional moment comes from the otherwise larky Quickenden, who admits that “cancer ripped my family apart” before talking about how his father and younger brother died from it, the latter at only 19.ead More

The night’s best line, however, belongs to Murray, who underwent a mastectomy for breast cancer in 2007: “You don’t battle cancer, or fight it or beat it,” she notes. “You have it and you get on with it.” As someone living with stage IV cancer it is the most important statement made over the course of a surprisingly entertaining and thought-provoking hour. 

The Real Full Monty on Ice, episode 2: triumph over adversity and temperature-related shrinkage

The pandemic nearly nixed this celebratory show. But chilly extremities and possible chafing couldn’t stop the dance

By Michael Hogan, The Telegraph, 15 December 2020 • 10:30pm

The show must go on. Even if that show involves celebrities getting their skates on and their kit off. In an unlikely development, The Real Full Monty on Ice (ITVturned into a heart-warming tale of triumph over adversity –and temperature-related shrinkage. 

The final episode of the annual striptease in aid of cancer awareness was beset by problems, mostly pandemic-related. First, the production’s director, Dancing on Ice’s Dan Whiston, tested positive for Covid-19. He’d been in close contact with choreographer Ashley Banjo, meaning he had to self-isolate too. When the plucky participants took their own routine tests, soap actor Jamie Lomas’s came back positive, so he had to pull out at the 11th hour. 

“Could this year get any worse?” asked Loose Women’s Coleen Nolan, leader of the women’s team. “Could making this programme get any more difficult?” 

Singer Jake Quickenden’s arm was in a sling. Love Island’s Chris Hughes had an anxiety attack. Former glamour model Linda Lusardi had a hissy fit, fearing her unhappy husband would make her drop out. The wheels were well and truly coming off. Would the naked ice-skating extravaganza actually happen?

The semi-famous strippers soldiered on. They attended a bonding retreat somewhere that looked suspiciously like a Center Parcs, where they attempted the Dirty Dancing lift in a lake. Around the campfire that evening, Quickenden explained what had motivated him to take part: the loss of his father and younger brother to cancer. “I feel like I’m missing a piece of my heart,” he said.

Hughes, whose brother was living with testicular cancer, led the males in a self-checking session. Strapping Welsh rugby hero Gareth Thomas got amusingly told off by his elderly mother for failing to take his health seriously enough.

The women attended a burlesque class with body confidence coach Sam Vale. It turned out that Vale and her colleagues were all breast cancer survivors who’d had surgery. Cue lovely scenes of solidarity and camaraderie as everyone shared their experiences and showed their scars.

The stripping skaters were still way behind schedule and starting to panic. But inspired anew, Nolan – who lost her sister Bernie to the disease, while Anne and Linda are currently fighting it – summoned up some Blitz spirit. “We’ll do this,” she vowed defiantly. “We’ll think of all the people we’ll love, and we’ll do it for them.”

Come the day of the big undressing, there still hurdles to overcome. The dance routine had to be rapidly rejigged. While Quickenden was rehearsing his live song, a family snap of his late father and brother appeared on the backdrop. He broke down in tears.

Stage-frightened Hughes had a panic attack but Quickenden gave him an amusingly unconventional pep talk: “You’ve got nothing to worry about, mate. You’ve got the face of an angel and the willy of the Loch Ness monster.”

Quickenden might have played the clown – on the previous night’s episode, the alumnus of The X Factor, I’m a Celebrity and Dancing on Ice said, “I’m probably best known to the public for just doing any show that I can” – but he was rapidly emerging as the breakout star. 

The cathartic, climactic performance was a proper show-stopper. A group routine mixed contemporary wafting and fierce streetdance.

Former Woman’s Hour host Dame Jenni Murray, aged 70 and unable to skate due to two hip replacements, appeared looking magisterial on a sleigh. “I think this is what’s known as being very far from your comfort zone,” she admitted wryly.

Behind showgirl-style feathered fans and soundtracked by The Greatest Showman’s acceptance anthem This Is Me, the women stripped to their bras. The men recreated the classic Full Monty routine in security guard uniforms, getting down to silver posing pouches which looked like something you’d wrap a turkey in. 

Both genders lined up and bared all at once, while the virtual audience went wild. Amid scenes of jubilation, chilly extremities and possible chafing, a caption appeared on-screen: “A check is for life, not just for Christmas. So get checking!”

Yes, this is one of the more random reality franchises on-air. Yes, doing it on ice seemed like a gratuitous twist for the sake of it. But it was also empowering, admirably open-hearted and ended on an uplifting flourish. The show must indeed go on. 

ICE WORK The Real Full Monty on Ice fans rejoice as stars including Shaughna Phillips and Chris Hughes strip naked in show first

Stephanie Soteriou, 15 Dec 2020, The Sun

THE REAL Full Monty On Ice fans rejoiced this evening as the brave stars stripped naked to make show history.

For the first time in the ITV series, the male and female participants exposed their bods in front of an audience together instead of across two separate, gendered performances.  It was a rocky road for the celebrities this time around, with the routine also taking place on ice for the first time ever.

The show aims to raise cancer awareness, encouraging fans to check their bodies regularly and seek medical support if required.

All of the celebs taking part had been impacted by cancer in some way – including Jake Quickenden, whose brother and dad both lost their lives to the disease.  Shaughna Phillips also lost her dad, and Coleen Nolan her sister – with two of her other sisters currently fighting.  Linda Lusardi paid tribute to her best friend, who died from cancer in her 30s, and Chris Hughes’ took part to encourage men to check their testicles for lumps after his brother was diagnosed – and beat – testicular cancer.

All of the celebs were anxious about going buff in front of a crowd, particularly the women who were nervous about joining the men for the grand reveal.  However, the performance, choreographed by Ashley Banjo, went without a hitch – with the lengthy routine reaching its climax as the men stripped to thongs and the ladies to their underwear.  At the very end, the men pulled off the silver pants – going full frontal in front of the crowd, who were watching via video link and projected onto the walls of the rink.  The women, who’d taken off their bras and were covering up with feather fans, then removed the fans so that they were topless.

The entire group looked jubilant at the end of the show – pleased to have made it through.

And fans at home could not hide their excitement that they got through the nerve-wracking performance too – heaping praise on the stars for daring to bare.  Taking to Twitter, one fan wrote: “Well done and massive respect to everyone on #TheRealFullMontyOnIce”.

Another agreed: “How amazing was The Full Monty on Ice? Well done all, a powerful message delivered in such an inspiring way.  “Yet again Ashley Banjo with his finger on the pulse.”

A third wrote: “#TheRealFullMontyOnIce What an incredibly moving show. Well done to everyone involved in raising the cancer conversation please everyone remember to check yourselves”.

Yesterday’s show had viewers in tears as Jake and Coleen broke down while discussing the devastating impact cancer had had on their lives.