Battle of the blondes! Heidi Range, Jennifer Ellison and Jorgie Porter lead the way as 15 celebrities get their skates on for the new series of Dancin

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By Sarah Bull

Ready to rumble: (back row, from left) Coronation Street star Andy Whyment, Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere, TV presenter Mark Rhodes, actor Corey Feldman, free runner Sebastien Foucan, TV presenter Sam Nixon, singer Chesney Hawkes and Emmerdale actor Matthew Wolfenden, (front row from left) Hollyoaks star Jorgie Porter, actress Jennifer Ellison, British skier Chemmy Alcott, Sugababe Heidi Range, fitness guru Rosemary Conley, actress Laila Morse and Dallas star Charlene Tilton

Jennifer Ellison, Heidi Range and Jorgie Porter are leading the way for the new crop of celebrities ready to get their skates on for the upcoming series of Dancing On Ice.

The trio are among the 15 famous faces set to take part in the new series of the ITV talent show, which starts on the channel on Sunday, January 8.

And it seems to be something of a battle of the blondes in the upcoming show, with not a brunette to be found among the seven female celebrities taking to the rink.

Battle of the blondes: Jennifer Ellison and Heidi Range are among the celebrities set to take part in the upcoming new series of Dancing On Ice

True blue: Hollyoaks star Jorgie Porter, British alpine ski racer Chemmy Alcott and former Dallas actress Charlene Tilton are also taking part

The stars will be performing routines choreographed by their partners with the help of mentors Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean when the series starts, and taking part in the difficult dances is already having an effect on the competitors.

Apparently, the 15 celebrities have already lost an astonishing 18 stone between them, before the new series has even started!

Talking about rehearsing for the show, newly-single Sugababes singer Heidi Range said: 'I’ve found that to help with the skating its good to work on your core. For a number of the moves, you have to hold yourself from the stomach. Your stomach muscles have to be strong. I've got aches in random areas that I never knew I'd have an ache in.

'I’m still going to the gym. I went after my first costume fitting I thought "you're in lycra on HD TV"! Since training for Dancing On Ice I have noticed my body changing shape slightly. My legs and my bottom seem more toned which is good!'

Doing it for the older women: Rosemary Conley, 64, and EastEnders actress Laila Morse, 66, are among the oldest taking part in the new series

And Jennifer Ellison, who has recently lost five stone, said she had decided to take part in the programme in a bid to further her diet and exercise regime.

She said: 'I used to be very sporty but since having a baby that's kind of all gone and I haven't really been to the gym for a long time. I'm literally starting from scratch, fitness wise.

'I have put myself on a diet and I'm going to go to the gym. It's a big massive thing personally for me, it's not just about doing a show.'

Hollyoaks actress Jorgie added: 'I think I did lose a little bit of weight when I first started and I’ve started to notice my bottom, legs and thighs are toned!'

Screen stars: Former child star Corey Feldman and ex Emmerdale actor Matthew Wolfenden are donning Spandex and sequins for their routines

Green with envy: Coronation Street actor Andy Whyment, one hit wonder Chesney Hawkes and children's TV presenter Mark Rhodes will be strutting their stuff

One person who is no stranger to the fitness positives of ice skating is 64-year-old diet and fitness guru Rosemary Conley, who said the skating routines have improved her flexibility greatly.

She said: 'To be honest I’m not suffering with any aches and pains. I always do my stretches afterwards and we always warm up carefully and Mark is very thorough with his tuition and his discipline, how to look after us and so on. I just want to get to January in one piece!'

The other female celebrities taking part in the new series include EastEnders actress Laila Morse, who is the oldest star in the competition this series, alpine ski racer Chemmy Alcott and former Dallas star Charlene Tilton.

Getting their skates on: Former Blue Peter host Andy Akinwolere, children's TV presenter Sam Nixon and free runner Sébastien Foucan

But it's not only women who will be strutting their stuff on the rink in front of judges Robin Cousins, Louie Spence and Katarina Witt.

For the boys, are celebrities such as former child actor Corey Feldman, one hit wonder Chesney Hawkes and former Emmerdale actor Matthew Wolfenden.

Talking about taking part in the show, Corey, who made his name in movies such as The Goonies, said: 'I have no fear when it comes to confrontation being direct, being honest, upfront but when it comes to like a paper cut I’ll cry all day!

'I have a very low thresh hold for pain I am a little but wimpy when it comes to that stuff. I really am scared of hurting myself.'

Dancing queens: Jennifer, Jorgie and Rosemary show off their best moves ahead of the start of the new series on Sunday December 8

As with previous series of the show, there are soap stars a plenty taking part - with Wolfenden and Coronation Street's Andy Whyment leading the way.

And Andy said he is feeling pretty proud of himself when he thinks about what he has achieved so far during rehearsals.

He said: 'It's quite easy to stand up and skate around in a circle, I think most people can do that. It's when you start putting in movements, knowing what side of the blade to be on; I just find it really difficult.

'To be honest with you I'm quite proud of myself, because I wouldn't of thought I'd be doing half the stuff I'm doing now! The more you work on it, the better you'll get.'

Familiar faces... and one new one: Christine Bleakley will be co-hosting the show with Phillip Schofield while Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean are returning as mentors

The other male celebrities taking part are children's TV presenters Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes, as well as former Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere and free runner Sébastien Foucan.

Meanwhile, another new face for the upcoming series is Christine Bleakley, who will be joining Phillip Schofield to host the show.

And talking about hosting the programme, Christine said: 'I'm looking forward to absolutely every aspect. Working alongside the Ice King Phillip Schofield and the legends that are Torvill and Dean are obvious highlights, but the show is one of my favourites and I can't quite believe I'm going to be part of it.'

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