Racism in Scotland: ‘Why we’re fighting for change’

Scots who have experienced racism have opened up about their experiences.

“There have been so many incidents I can’t remember everything. And if I was to remember, I’d be a wreck.”

Paul Joseph is one of many Scots who have experienced racist abuse. 

He says he’s been racially abused everywhere from filling up at the petrol station to playing football.

His four children have also experienced racist comments, opening up about heartbreaking situations they have faced at school.

ADVERT

But they are far from the only ones to face racist abuse in Scotland. 

With race and equity hitting the headlines following the death of George Floyd in the US and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, STV News spoke to black and minority ethic people about their experiences of everyday racism.

Ellie

Ellie Wilson, from Edinburgh, says she has experienced racism for as long as she can remember. 

ADVERT

The 22-year-old says: “When I was very young, even at primary school, I always just felt that I didn’t fit in because of the comments that people would say. The P word, if I could say that. I would be made fun of and told that I should go and make a curry or something.

“For like a very long time I felt very uncomfortable in myself and my own skin. I hated my own skin. I used to wear make up to make myself look paler and fit in more.

Ellie Wilson says she has felt uncomfortable in her own skin.

“People were asking me where I was from, where I was really from and having all of these things just really contributed to me feeling so insecure and so unhappy in myself. 

“I just felt alien and completely uncomfortable in my skin. I remember being five years old and not understanding race and sitting in the bath tub just trying to wash my skin away so I could fit in and stop feeling so alien.”

Even now at university, Ellie has been taunted due to the colour of her skin.

“This guy who was in the rugby club shouted Mohammed Mohammed at me. Which was very strange because I’m Christian as well. It made me feel very uncomfortable.”

ADVERT

Saqib

Taxi driver Saqib Pirzada says he has been racially abused while simply doing his job. He has lived in Scotland for more than 20 years.

“Being an ethnic driver when you work the first thing they ask you, can I ask you where you come from? Why are you here? 

“These are things that make you feel like you’re from a different planet.

“When we go outside Scotland, when we go on holiday, we don’t ask our taxi driver in Germany or France ‘can I ask you where you’re from, why you’re here?’ Because these are not things to ask.

“It makes you feel like they are trying to put a barrier between you and your feelings for this country. 

“Scotland is my second home and it is not easy to settle down in a second home.

“If I make Scotland my second home it’s because I love Scotland.”

Saqib Pirzada has been attacked while working as a taxi driver.

Saqib says that after the Glasgow Airport attack and the Manchester bombing, things became worse for him.

The abuse he received went from verbal to physical. 

“[A man] put the seatbelt round my neck and that was half four, five in the morning and he was pulling my neck with the seatbelt.

“It was all just very quick, another fellow driver came and he said what’s happening. And when I got out of the car he just ran away.”

Paul

Originally from London, Paul Joseph moved to the west of Scotland 55 years ago. 

“Racism exists everywhere,” Paul says.

“And at first when you’re younger you get upset, you stand up every time someone calls you a name in the street you say bring it on.

“But as you get older you tend to realise that these people are inadequate themselves and therefore you should not rise to the bait.

“But I stress, the majority of people are lovely. The only problem is that normal folk don’t realise it goes on. It’s like the secret club of racists that are out there. 

“They always choose their time when it’s one on one. I’ve been at the garage filling up with petrol and been abused, I’ve been out playing football and been abused. 

“Work people asking, hey PJ what’s it like to be a n*****. It just goes on and on.”

Paul Joseph has been abused while simply filling his car with petrol.

Paul’s children have also been affected by racist abuse.

His son Reuben says: “I also did experience a lot of racism from other students. At times, I had kids through up a Nazi salute in the lunch hall to me.

“I’ve had a group of my pals say to me ‘could you go walk around the corner for me?’, so they could tell a racist joke, then invite me back round when they were all laughing.”

Daughter Florence adds: “I had a teacher at high school that used to behave very poorly towards me and I didn’t really say anything. 

“She went round the world and said how you get varying shades of people around the world and you get white people, they’re the rich people, and you get black people in Africa, they’re the poor people. 

“You get the beige people, Florence, you’re beige, you could be so ugly, you could have the ugliest face but because you’re beige you’re pretty. 

“And then she went onto say about yellow Asian people, brown Asian people and used her hands to mimic the eye shape of Asian people and she did that in front of the whole class and didn’t feel any sort of qualms about doing that and that was for me, that really humiliated me.

“I went and spoke to mum about that. We went to the school and nothing was done. It was just laughed off, she didn’t mean it, she wasn’t being racist.

Paul ‘s children want things to change in schools.

“You don’t want to accuse someone of being racist but sometimes, actually, you just need to call a spade a spade.”

Paul says he and his wife were disgusted at what had happened to their daughter at school.

“My wife and I at the time, we felt so aggrieved that we actually put our house on the market to move to a more multicultural area, shall we say. 

“It was only when we got a whisper that perhaps that teacher might retire that we stayed. 

“I’m glad we stayed because all four children have done remarkably well.”

Making a change

Ellie believes that denying there is racism in Scotland is part of the problem.

She says: “We like to feel that Scotland is such a tolerant and open country and we don’t have racism here but that’s simply not the case and I think denying the problem is part of the problem.

“Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean that it’s not there.”

Paul adds: “I remember being in a hospital in an open ward in Glasgow and a Pakistani doctor was dealing with a patient in the bed next to me and that patient said ‘I don’t want some p*** looking after me’. So even though his mum and dad said you need to have a good job, you need to do this and that, and be a doctor, no one escapes. Nobody escapes.

However Paul’s children are adamant that things can change in Scotland.

The Joseph siblings have launched a petition calling for a rethink on the teaching of ethnic diversity in schools and have written an open letter to the FM and the education secretary

Reuben says: “It kind of sparked from us wanting to do something and what can we do to address the issue of race in Scotland,

“It kept coming back to schools. If we’re going to start anywhere in addressing it, maybe schools would be the first place to start.”

They’ve gained support with more than 12,000 signatures.

Florence says: “It’s been phenomenal and what we want now is a response from John Swinney or Nicola, the powers that be to try, so that we can try to get this in motion and get this going”

Paul adds: “Racism and bigotry has no part in this society but it has to come from school, it has to come from teachers. And hopefully in a few generations we’ll have cracked the nut.”


Salmond has ‘no doubt’ Sturgeon broke ministerial code

Former first minister says there was a 'malicious scheme' to damage his reputation.

STV News

Alex Salmond claims there is “no doubt” Nicola Sturgeon has broken rules governing the behaviour of ministers, but stopped short of saying she should resign.

Giving evidence to the Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish Government’s unlawful investigation of sexual harassment claims against him, Salmond said Scotland’s “leadership has failed”.

The Court of Session ruled the Scottish Government’s investigation into complaints against him was “tainted by apparent bias” after it emerged the investigating officer had prior contact with two of the women who made complaints.

Salmond called for the Lord Advocate and the head of Scotland’s civil service, Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans, to resign over the handling of the complaints against him.

ADVERT

He alleged a “malicious scheme” among senior SNP figures to damage his reputation, but said he had no evidence the current first minister was part of this.

Salmond contradicted evidence from Sturgeon over key meetings on the complaints against him, and added: “I have no doubt that Nicola broke the ministerial code, but it’s not for me to suggest what the consequence should be.”

He said he did not believe she was involved in covering up complaints against him, but criticised her for using a Covid press conference to “effectively question the result of a jury”.

STV News
Alex Salmond gave evidence under oath.

He declined to directly apologise for his own behaviour when asked.

ADVERT

In his opening statement to the committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints on Friday, he told MSPs he believes the government’s actions are no longer true to the principles of openness, accountability and transparency.

He said the failures of leadership surrounding the investigation into his conduct are “many and obvious”.

He added: “The government acted illegally but somehow nobody is to blame. Scotland hasn’t failed, its leadership has failed.

“The importance of this inquiry is for each and every one of us to help put this right.

“This inquiry is not about me, I have already established the illegality of the actions of the Scottish Government in the Court of Session, and I have been acquitted of all criminal charges by a jury in the highest court in the land.

“The remit of this inquiry is about the actions of others, whose investigation into the conduct of ministers, the Permanent Secretary, civil servants and special advisers.

“It also requires to shine a light on the activities of the Crown Office.”

ADVERT

He went on to claim the committee has been “systematically deprived of the evidence it has legitimately sought” in its inquiry, later adding there was “deliberate suppression of information inconvenient to the government”.

He said his ability to give evidence has been “severely hampered” by the Crown Office, adding the “threat of prosecution made to me if I offered that evidence is, in my estimation, both extraordinary and unwarranted”.

The committee redacted parts of his written evidence previously published after the Crown Office raised concerns – something he said would not have happened at the House of Commons.

He said the previous two years and six months – during his investigation and criminal trial – had been a “nightmare”, but “we can’t turn that page, nor move on, until the decision-making which is undermining the system of government in Scotland is addressed”.

Questioned by Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton, Salmond said he did not believe Sturgeon had been involved in a “cover-up” of complaints against him.

He said: “I’ve seen it pursued on the committee that somehow Nicola Sturgeon was covering up – that’s not the case, my charges against Nicola Sturgeon don’t include that.”

Mr Cole-Hamilton added: “I want to ask, laying aside the charges of which you have been acquitted, and the allegations that you deny, of the behaviours that you have admitted to, some of which are appalling, are you sorry?”

Salmond replied: “In my statement I pointed out the Government’s illegality has had huge consequences for a number of people, and specifically mentioned the complainants in my opening statement.

“Over the last three years, there have been two court cases, two judges and a jury, and I’m resting on the proceedings of these cases.”

Labour’s Jackie Baillie asked the former first minister if the name of one of the complainers had been shared at a meeting his then chief of staff, Geoff Aberdein, had been present at.

Salmond said it had, adding: “My former chief of staff told me that.”

The former first minister also claimed a leak to the Daily Record newspaper, which broke news of the allegations against him, was “politically inspired”, as he called for police to act.

He added: “I think it does require further police investigation – I do believe I know the identity but I’m not here to speculate on individuals that I cannot substantiate.”

He will later face questions about his claims Ms Sturgeon misled Parliament and breached the ministerial code.

Salmond, who was acquitted of 13 charges of sexual assault in a criminal trial, was awarded a £512,250 payout after he successfully challenged the lawfulness of the government investigation into harassment claims made against him.

Sturgeon has previously insisted there is “not a shred of evidence” that there was a conspiracy against Salmond and she has denied lying to parliament.

She is scheduled to appear before the committee to give evidence next Wednesday.

The Scottish Conservatives said “devastating evidence” had left the SNP leadership “on the ropes”.

Party leader Douglas Ross said: “Devastating evidence has revealed SNP cover ups, costly mistakes and terrible errors of judgement.

“The number of accusations of misleading parliament and breaking the ministerial code are extraordinary.

“The entire leadership of the ruling party of government are on the ropes.”


This is the biggest split I have ever seen in Scottish politics

The dispute between Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon is about personality and some in the SNP think it is about destruction.

STV News
Alex Salmond gave evidence to Holyrood committee on Friday.

Alex Salmond is one of the biggest figures in modern Scottish politics – he is the country’s longest-serving First Minister and led the SNP for 20 years.

Nicola Sturgeon served her political apprenticeship during his first term as leader and was his deputy for a decade before taking over as First Minister herself.

So this is the biggest split I have ever seen in Scottish politics.

The SNP split in the 1980s when the 79 Group including Alex Salmond was expelled – but that was about ideology and direction.

This is a much bigger split – it is about personality and some in the SNP think it is about destruction. They think Salmond is trying to bring the house down. He thinks it is about an attempt to destroy him.

Salmond finally had his say on Friday, giving evidence to the committee investigating the Government’s botched handling of sexual harassment complaints against him.

ADVERT

Among the key exchanges at the Holyrood committee, Salmond said the name of one of the original complainers was shared at the first meeting with Sturgeon – she denied that yesterday at FMQs.

The First Minister will face further questions on this when she is at the committee on Wednesday.

Salmond made it clear he felt there should have been resignations – specifically the Permanent Secretary, the Lord Advocate, and those who he believes were part of a malicious scheme against him including the SNP chief executive Peter Murrell.

He believes the First Minister has broken the ministerial code – that is the biggest threat to her through the independent investigation being led by former Irish director of public prosecutions James Hamilton.

ADVERT

Senior figures in Government admit privately that could force her to quit just before the Holyrood election – they don’t think it will. But there is still a doubt, to the extent that it’s difficult for the SNP to plan their election leaflets for example.

And we saw in that STV News/Ipsos MORI poll yesterday – this row might not have hit the SNP’s poll ratings, or boosted the opposition much so far, but more than a third of those questioned last week did say that it made them less favourable towards the SNP. So this week it’s a story breaking out of the political bubble.

And politically – everything is at stake here.

Sturgeon will be at this committee on Wednesday to tell her side of the story.

She says it’s her chance to set the record straight.

Over 40s next in line for Covid vaccines in Scotland

Jabbing groups by age is the fastest way to cut deaths and serious illness, advisers say.

Paul Biris via Getty Images

People aged 40-49 will be prioritised next for a Covid-19 vaccine, with scientific advisers saying the move will “provide the greatest benefit in the shortest time”.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) had considered whether groups such as teachers and police officers should be vaccinated next.

But it concluded that the most effective way to prevent death and hospital admission is to carry on prioritising people by age.

The Scottish Government said it would accept the JCVI advice.

ADVERT

Advisers said modelling studies for phase two of the vaccination programme also indicate that the speed of vaccine deployment is the most important factor in helping prevent severe illness and death.

This means that in phase two, priority will be given in the following order:

  • All those aged 40-49
  • All those aged 30-39
  • All those aged 18-29

These groups will be vaccinated once all those in phase one (the over-50s and most vulnerable) have received a jab.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “All four UK nations will follow the recommended approach for phase two of the vaccine rollout, subject to the final advice given by the independent expert committee.

ADVERT

“Each government remains focused on the target to offer a first vaccination to all those in the phase one priority groups by the middle of April and the remainder of the adult population by the end of July subject to the availability of supplies.

“The vaccination programme is one of three key ways we are working to beat this virus, along with our expanded testing programme to identify cases and break chains of transmission and the important lockdown restrictions everyone in Scotland must follow.

“All these measures work to greatest effect when they work together.”

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chair for the JCVI, told a briefing that age “remains a dominant factor – it is still one of the most important causes of severe disease, even in those aged 50 years and below”.

He said that even within different occupational groups, it is older people who are more at risk than those who are younger.

In a statement, he added: “Vaccinations stop people from dying and the current strategy is to prioritise those who are more likely to have severe outcomes and die from Covid-19.

“The evidence is clear that the risk of hospitalisation and death increases with age.

ADVERT

“The vaccination programme is a huge success and continuing the age-based rollout will provide the greatest benefit in the shortest time, including to those in occupations at a higher risk of exposure.”


Medics exhausted during ‘relentless’ Covid second wave

Staff at University Hospital Crosshouse believe it will take several months before they see any reduction in their workload.

STV News

In the corridors and intensive care units of Kilmarnock’s University Hospital Crosshouse, staff are fatigued and stressed.

Coronavirus case rates may be falling across Scotland but the pressure on medical workers remains intense.

Crosshouse has been one of the busiest hospitals in Scotland during the second wave of the pandemic – its ICUs have been stretched to capacity for months.

There are currently 11 patients in the hospital’s 17-bed unit, a decrease of three in recent days and the first time in weeks that the number has reduced.

ADVERT

But staff remain just as busy as patients are staying in hospital longer – some for as many as two months.

Medics believe it will take several months before they see any reduction in their workload.

Gemma Blair, deputy charge nurse in the hospital’s intensive care unit, said the cracks were starting to show among staff who have been dealing with Covid patients for almost a year.

She said: “There are days in here when you feel that the ship has capsized and we are manically trying to get to the shore.

“I have seen what I would say are the strongest of my colleagues crying within the unit because it really is so tough. That’s really the important message to get across that it is still very busy and this is still happening in your local hospitals. “

ADVERT

“We are so tired, we are exhausted. You feel some days that you don’t know how you’re going to make it to the end of the day but then a patient who has been with you for 40 days will wave to their family for the first time on a video call or take their first drink of juice.

“That is why we get out of our bed in the morning, that is why we show up, it’s for these patients.”

Gemma feels she is can switch off from work easier these days compared to the start of the pandemic, but is now worried about the impact the last 12 months has had on staff.

“The first wave I lived it, worked it, breathed it, watched it every day on the news,” she said.

“Now I worry about after – what happens once the Covid unit closes? What will staff do then? Will there be a PTSD element?

“We are used to looking after critically unwell patients but we are not used to this and there is also a worry about the staff who have redeployed from other areas and the strain on them. “

The area that now houses the covid ICU unit was previously used for day surgery – it was converted during the summer months when Crosshouse had no new coronavirus admissions.

ADVERT

Then one Friday night in October, a call came through from accident and emergency.

One of those on shift was ICU consultant Dr Peter O’Brien, who recalls feeling uneasy at what was to come.

He said: “From June we had no new Covid admissions. I was on shift that Friday night in October when we got the call from A&E that we had the first patient of the second wave and the words in our mind were ‘well here we go again’.

“In Scotland, there appeared to be a peak of the second wave and then we took a second superimposed peak on top of that – I didn’t expect that. That second increase in that wave around Christmas going into January felt like a kick when you are down. “

Dr O’Brien says his biggest hope is the vaccine rollout will relieve some of the pressure.

“You never know what’s around the corner,” he said.

“We were always advised when the first wave was over that we had to in a state of readiness for 200, 300, 400 percent capacity. I would say for the next year, our minds will always be in that state of awareness. “

Scotland recorded a further 27 people coronavirus deaths n the past 24 hours.

That means the total number of deaths of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days now stands at 7111.

There are currently 924 patients in hospital with coronavirus, a decrease of 43, with 80 of those in intensive care, a fall of nine from Thursday. 

Although the number of Covid hospital admissions is falling across the country, Dr John Allan, critical care clinical director at Crosshouse, said the second wave has been “relentless”, adding that ICU capacity at the East Ayrshire hospital has been two to three times over capacity for many months.

He said: “The volume of patients and the duration for which we have had to deliver this high level of intensive care is the most striking aspect of this second wave.

“We have certainly seen a lot more younger patients than we did in the first wave. Another difference is that we using CPAP machines as a therapy more so than we did in the first wave.”

Dr Allan says it is also important for hospitals to catch up on elective surgery as Covid rates continue to fall.

He said: “We do need staff to get a chance to decompress and physically rest but we also have this big unknown about what Covid will look like in three months, a years time.

“I guess we all hope that it’s not going to look anything like this but it will change how we work for years to come.

“Even though we have now vaccinated a large section of the population, we are not that much quieter than we were at the peak. It could take several months before our numbers start to come down so we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel just yet.”

Pauline Murray, a deputy charge nurse with 30 years of experience, said medical staff are resilient but tired.

She said: “We have not had as many patients recover, unfortunately, so we have not had that boost that we got with the first wave when patients were discharged; that helped us keep going the first time when we saw these wins but this time it’s been tougher.

“We are a resilient bunch of people, although we are tired. We all just want a holiday to be honest. The support staff are maybe finding it a bit more difficult but we are trying to support them as much as we can. “

Teenagers who died in crash between motorcycle and van named

Derek Paton, 19, and Leon Fitzpatrick, 18, both from Wishaw, suffered fatal injuries in the crash on Thursday.

Police Scotland
Teenagers: Derek Paton and Leon Fitzpatrick.

Two teenagers who died following a crash in North Lanarkshire have been named.

Derek Paton, 19, and Leon Fitzpatrick, 18, both from Wishaw, died after a crash involving a van and an off-road motorcycle on Thursday.

The incident took place at around 4.30pm near the town’s Waverley Drive.

Derek, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was the rider and Leon a pillion passenger in the motorcycle.

ADVERT

The 18-year-old was taken to Wishaw General Hospital where he later died from his injuries.

A 34-year-old man, the driver of the white Volkswagen Crafter van, also suffered minor injuries.

Police say enquires are ongoing into the incident and asked anyone with information can call them on 101.


Coronavirus: Further 27 deaths and 581 new cases in 24 hours

During Friday’s coronavirus briefing, Jeane Freeman said the total number of deaths now stands at 7111.

Jonathan Kirn via Getty Images
Coronavirus: Further 27 deaths and 581 new cases reported.

A further 27 people have died from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the health secretary has said. 

During Friday’s coronavirus briefing, Jeane Freeman said the total number of deaths of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days now stands at 7111.

There have been 581 new cases reported, which bring the total number of positive cases in Scotland to 200,987.

The daily test positivity rate is 3.3%, down from 3.7% the previous day.

ADVERT

Meanwhile 924 patients are currently in hospital with coronavirus, a decrease of 43, with 80 of those in intensive care, a fall of nine from Thursday. 

The number of people who have been given their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine now stands at 1,542,929, an increase of 26,949 from the day before.

Additionally, 65,340 people have received their second dose of the vaccine in Scotland.

Man, 34, dies after being struck by vehicle on motorway

The man was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on the A90 near Kinfauns in Perthshire.

© Google Maps 2020
Police are appealing for witnesses to crash on A90 near Kinfauns.

A 34-year-old man has died after being struck by a vehicle in Perthshire.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on the A90 near Kinfauns.

Police Scotland are appealing for witnesses to the crash, which happened at around 3.50pm on Friday afternoon.

The road was closed while officers carried out collision investigation work and reopened around 8.30pm.

ADVERT

Sergeant Paul Taylor, from the Road Policing Unit, said: “Our thoughts are with the man’s family and enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstance of what happened.

“We are appealing for anyone who may have seen what happened, particularly a man standing beside a green Vauxhall Astra which was parked in the lay-by on the eastbound carriageway at the time.

“In addition anyone with dash-cam footage that may assist our enquiries is also asked to get in touch.”

Anyone who can help should call Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident number 2197 of Friday, 26 February, 2021.

Mogwai mark 25 years together with first number one album

The rock band's previous chart peak came in 2017 when they reached number six with Every Country’s Sun.

Jason Kempin / Staff via Getty Images
Mogwai: First number one single.

Scottish rock group Mogwai have scored their first number one album – 25 years after releasing their debut single.

Their tenth record, As The Love Continues, fended off competition from grime pioneer Ghetts, whose third album, Conflict Of Interest, lagged behind by some 2900 chart sales, according to the Official Charts Company.

Mogwai’s previous chart peak came in 2017 when they reached number six with Every Country’s Sun.

Prior to that only one of their records had cracked the top ten.

ADVERT

The four-piece, known for their mainly instrumental brand of experimental post-rock, also became this week’s best-seller on vinyl and the top seller in UK independent record shops.

They said: “We’re unbelievably happy to have the number one album in the UK. We want to thank everyone at Rock Action Records – both of you – and mostly to thank everyone who has bought, downloaded and streamed the album, and supported us over the last week, and the last 25 years.

“It’s something we’re amazed by. We’re taken aback by everyone’s support, kindness and generosity.

“It is 25 years this week since the release of our first single Tuner/Lower, the first release on our own label Rock Action Records. We didn’t start the band or the label to get into the charts.

ADVERT

“None of us ever envisaged either the band or the label being in a position where having a number one record would be a possibility.”

Elsewhere, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia returned to number three following the release of its extended Moonlight Edition, including new single We’re Good.

The Weeknd’s The Highlights compilation finished at number four, while Ariana Grande’s Positions rebounded 28 places to number five following a deluxe edition release.

On the singles chart, Olivia Rodrigo’s Drivers License earned a seventh consecutive week at number one – the longest stint there since Tones & I’s Dance Monkey at 11 weeks.


Dancing On Ice cut short after injury and Covid exits

The show lost a number of contestants who had to withdraw due to injury or receiving a positive Covid result.

ITV
Dancing On Ice has had its series cut short.

Dancing On Ice has had its series cut short following multiple injuries and dropouts.

The show lost a number of contestants who had to withdraw due to injury or receiving a positive Covid result.

Emmerdale star Joe-Warren Plant and comedian Rufus Hound both had to withdraw after testing positive for coronavirus, while reality TV star Billie Shepherd, singer and actress Denise Van Outen and Jason Donovan all had to pull out of the series due to injury.

ITV said in a statement: “ITV have taken the decision to move the final of Dancing On Ice forward by one week.

ADVERT

“The competition’s final will now take place on Sunday, March 14.

“Our production team and cast have delivered a fantastic show during incredibly challenging times.

“Continuing to make the best TV for our viewers is our top priority and we look forward to the rest of the series, on air from this Sunday at 6pm.”

The celebrity skating competition has also been on a week-long break.

ADVERT

The statement comes as Faye Brookes and her new Dancing On Ice skating partner have spoken about only having limited time to prepare for their first routine together on Sunday.

The Coronation Street actress and professional skater Matt Evers are now a pair on the ITV series, after Brookes’ first partner Hamish Gaman had to withdraw due to injury.

Evers told This Morning that it was a “whole new world”, adding: “We’ve had 11 hours together to get ready for Sunday.”

Soap star Brookes credited Gaman with showing her the basics.

She told presenters Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond: “Well my head was spinning obviously but what was so lovely is that I owe everything to Hamish for teaching me all the basics, the technique, how to perform and I fell in love with ice skating.

“And then things changed and I got given Matt and he’s been here since day one, which is just phenomenal and he knows exactly what the judges are looking for and he’s a pro and so it’s just basically we’ve had to work ridiculously hard for the past week and just kind of go with it. We’re having fun.”

Evers, who last year made history alongside Steps star Ian ‘H’ Watkins as part of the first same-sex couple to compete on Dancing On Ice, said: “We are still standing, the morale here is still high.

ADVERT

“We know we’re up against a lot this year and it’s just a matter of making the best out of a weird situation that 2020 and 2021 have brought, so it’s a matter of continuing to move forward, keeping that smile on our faces and hopefully entertaining people on Sunday night.”

Brookes added: “And listen, we signed up for this. We know this is the most dangerous show on television… we’ve all just got to make sure that we take care of ourselves, that we trust our partners, we work together and at the end of the day we just want to put on a good show at the end of the week.”

The remaining contestants, including Brookes, are Lady Leshurr, Colin Jackson, Sonny Jay and Rebekah Vardy.

They will all skate to routines in a movie week theme.

Dancing On Ice returns to STV on February 28 at 6pm.


You're up to date

You've read today's top stories. Where would you like to go next?