Scottish queen of the ice Angela Egan reckons Bez will surprise everyone on Dancing on Ice – if she can keep him focused.
The freaky dancer in Happy Mondays, aka Mark Berry, 57, is the celeb everyone is talking about before they hit the ice on Sunday.
Famous for shaking his maracas and partying, he can’t remember much of the 90s.
And now Greenock-born pro skater Angela has been tasked with getting Bez on the ice and staying upright.
But if anyone can it’s Angela, who won on her first year on the show last year with Sonny Jay.
She said: “When they told me I’d be skating with him I was star-struck, excited and a little bit nervous. I know what his character is like so I thought ‘what am I walking into here?’ “Is it going to be mad?
“But he’s a hard worker and is going to surprise everyone. He has moments of greatness and moments of none whatsoever. It’ll be pot luck.
“I’m trying to keep focused for Bez because I know he likes to be unfocused. Hopefully we’ll get through Sunday.”
Producers of the STV series decided Angela was the perfect partner for Bez because she’s the only British female skater.
She added: “They didn’t think the Americans would get what he was all about. But he’s a living legend and an icon in Scotland
“I grew up listening to the Happy Mondays so it’s legit surreal for me. The Mondays played in Glasgow last year and he got me tickets to see them. It was fantastic. He’s just as ridiculous on stage as he is in real life.
“He’s a lovable, fun-loving character who has the biggest heart in the world but I think he’s going to surprise everyone.”
While his Madchester persona is a drug-fuelled, bug-eyed lunatic who has been known to fall off stage, and despite being injured get back on and carry on dancing, he also has a strong will. He has had a couple of bad falls in training. One of which saw his helmet come off – but it was before Angela took him on.
The Scots skater revealed that while he is a dancer he’s not a natural skater. and that he’s very hard on himself.
She said: “He does get down on himself and will say ‘I keep on falling. I’m rubbish’. But I keep telling him ‘if you’re not falling you’re not trying hard enough so it just shows you how much effort you are putting into this’.
“He’s hardworking which I was shocked about. He’s more hardworking than some celebs I’ve seen so far. He doesn’t want to stop. He wants to keep going.
“If he has a tumble, which he has had a few of unfortunately, he’ll just get back up and do it 10 thousand more times, over and over again.
“I’ve come away from the training rink and been back in my apartment and I’ve had a text message from him and he wants to discuss the intricacies of a certain step.
“And I’m thinking ‘he’s obviously taking it in and taking it home and thinking about it’.”
Angela is confident enough in him that she’s already planning their headbanger. The most dangerous move on Dancing on Ice, it involves one skater spinning the other from their ankles.
Without a pause, she said: “It’s something we’d definitely shoot for in the future. The very far future. But honestly I could imagine Bez trying.
“He wanted to try this move, the Mohawk one of the other celebs was doing.
“I knew he wasn’t ready for it as he wasn’t quite balanced to pull it off and I said we can start it and do baby steps. And he was like ‘no’ and went and did it. My heart was in my mouth.
“But he did it and he was great and it’s now one of his most consistent tricks.
“He’s one of these guys if he’s told he can’t do something he’ll literally say ‘hold my beer and watch me’.”
Many fans are expecting Bez to add the comedy to Dancing on Ice when he and Angela take to the rink for the first time this Sunday in the opening show.
He could be the new Todd Carty – the EastEnders star who stumbled off the rink mid-performance.
Angela laughed: “I think Bez is going to top that. We will definitely be getting the maracas out at some point.
“He’s a natural comedian. He doesn’t mean to be funny half
the time but what he says is absolutely hilarious. He likes to have fun and have a joke around and doesn’t take life too seriously.
“Hopefully that translates on to the ice.”
Angela, being a Scot, is the measure of the Madchester legend and has been winding him up about wearing Lycra and sequins.
She said: “He’s not a man who would naturally pick a sequin T-shirt or shirt to wear so I’ve been telling the costumers to add on more sequins, rhinestone and he’s not having any of it.”
The pair are training up to three hours a day ahead of the first show.
Strictly’s Brendan Cole, Coronation Street legend Sally Dynevor, Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt, BXM Olympian Kye Whyte and presenter Ria Hebden are the first celebs in week one.
In week two the rest of the celebs take part including Rachel Stevens and Gazza’s son Regan.
Strictly star Oti Mabuse has taken over from John Barrowman as a judge and joins Christopher Dean, Jayne Torvill and Ashley Banjo while Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby will again host.
Angela is nervous but excited as she defends her crown, this year back in front of a crowd. She said: “Last year my parents, Irene and Frank couldn’t travel from Greenock but this year they’ll be there on Sunday with my friends. I can’t wait.”
Sadly, boyfriend Cody Rowekamp, a fellow pro skater won’t be there as he’s in Disney on Ice in America.
She sighed: “He has to go where the work is.”
The Scot, who after her win last winter spent summer 2021 in Abu Dhabi with Disney On Ice, is keen to retain her title and enjoy herself doing it.
“It’s all about having fun and helping my celeb to have a good time out there,” she said, “But coming from a competitive background there’s always a drive to get to the top.
“If it happens again, fantastic. If it doesn’t – no problem.”
● Dancing on Ice returns this Sunday, STV at 6.30pm.