The upcoming ITV drama Torvill and Dean is sure to be an integral part of the 2018 Christmas television schedule. The one-off programme tells the life stories of legendary British ice skating duo, Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean. But did the Torvill and Dean actors learn to skate?
According to The Sun, the actors who play the Winter Olympic champions, Will Tudor and Poppy Lee Friar, did complete a crash course in the sport in order to learn how to ice skate for their respective roles. However, viewers tuning in to enjoy a recreation of the gold medal winning Bolero routine will be left disappointed, as producers chose not to recreate the iconic 1984 Winter Olympics routine within the drama. Instead, some original footage of the Bolero will be shown toward the end of the episode.
Emily Dalton, one of the Torvill and Dean producers, hopes that viewers will understand their creative decision. Speaking to The Sun at a screening of the two-hour ITV drama, she said: "We hope people don't feel robbed. No one can do it like them (Torvill and Dean). They are simply the best ice dancers that ever lived." Dalton then explained that herself and show writer, William Ivory, both felt it was the "right thing to do to let Chris and Jayne have that."
Torvill and Dean writer, Ivory, who is known for his work on Burton and Taylor and Made in Dagenham, revealed that he did originally include a scene which showed footage of the main characters ice skating — but eventually decided to drop it. When explaining his decision, Ivory said: "When I first wrote it I think we did have a sequence where we were intercutting and that made it even worse — it was like Frank Sinatra singing live and then karaoke."
Despite the decision to drop the Bolero from the final cut, actor Will Tudor — who portrays Dean in the drama — revealed that he does not regret learning to skate in order to play the role. As reported by Digital Spy, the actor said: "I had done ice skating twice before I got the audition, once was for a birthday party, and I remember thinking it was good fun, and the second was for a date, which was a bad idea, because that time I was Bambi on ice. So when they rang about the audition, I thought, 'Good lord, this is going to require a lot of work.' But one of my favourite things is being given a challenge, and I think I do my best work when I’m really pushed and challenged."
Real life stars of the one-off Christmas special, Torvill and Dean, were heavily involved in the production of the drama, according to the Radio Times, and even sat down with screenwriter Billy Ivory to share their life stories. Poppy Lee Frair, who plays Torvill in the drama, commented on the famous duo's involvement in the series. She revealed: "We spoke to them and they’re so kind. They gave us creative license. They’re ecstatic that this is happening," and co-star Tudor added "They said we had their blessing to put our own artistic spin on it. That was liberating. They were wonderful, that put my mind at rest hearing them say that."
Torvill and Dean airs on Christmas Day at 9.15 p.m. on ITV1