Johnny Weir and Holly Willoughby on Dancing On Ice

Dancing On Ice judge Ashley Banjo replaced by Johnny Weir as viewers issue plea: ‘Make him a permanent judge!’

It's bad news for the Banjo…

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Last weekend, Dancing On Ice returned but the Ice Panel looked a little different, and it will for the foreseeable future thanks to the absence of Ashley Banjo.

Earlier this month, hosts Stephen Mulhern and Holly Willoughby revealed that Ashley would be taking a break from the 2024 series. This is because he is heading off to join dance troupe Diversity on tour.

He won’t return till mid-April, for the show’s semi-final. In the meantime, he’ll be replaced by Olympian Johnny Weir, an American figure skater. Fans of the show were looking forward to Johnny’s arrival, and tonight they’ve delivered their verdict.

Stephen Mulhern and Holly Willoughby on Dancing On Ice
Stephen Mulhern and Holly Willoughby were back for another week on the ice (Credit: ITV)

Ashley Banjo replaced on Dancing On Ice

The Diversity frontman is off the Ice Panel for the next few weeks, replaced by Olympian Johnny.

He seemed thrilled to be on the show, telling Stephen and Holly: “First of all just to be on a programme that celebrates a sport that I have given my life to is just such an honour.”

He then said that he was very excited to work alongside Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, branding them “legends”. Former Strictly pro Oti Mabuse rounds out the judging panel.

Viewers deliver their verdict

A couple of skates in, viewers at home were loving Johnny, with many even asking: “Please can he stay?!”

Look away now Ashley…

One Dancing On Ice viewer declared: “Johnny is a gazillion times better than the awful Ashley… Can he please stay?” Another said: “MAKE JOHNNY A PERMANENT JUDGE.” A third added: “Can we keep Johnny Weir instead of that dullard Banjo and get replacements for Torvill and Dean while we are at it.” Another echoed: “They should keep Johnny as a permanent judge! Fact.”

Johnny Weir on Dancing On Ice
Johnny Weir is keeping the seat warm for Dancing On Ice judge Ashley Banjo (Credit: ITV)

Others said they were loving the fact that there was another pro skater on the panel. “About time they get another pro skater besides Torvill and Dean on the panel,” said one. “Finally a judge who knows what he’s talking about, Johnny,” said a second. A third then added: “Johnny giving better critique than the other 3 have for years in one dance.”

Another commented: “Much better having a third judge who knows what they’re talking about. Let’s keep him please!”

Others were missing Ashley, though. One commented: “Already missing Ashley!” A second added: “Where’s Ashley? I miss him!”

Read more: Stephen Mulhern addresses Holly Willoughby partnership amid complaints

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Nancy Brown
Associate Editor