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‘Sad’ and ‘vulnerable’ Holly Willoughby powers through nerves in long-awaited TV comeback-Emily Bashforth-Entertainment – Metro

‘The first glimpse of Holly after her emotional hiatus from our screens suggested vulnerability.’

‘Sad’ and ‘vulnerable’ Holly Willoughby powers through nerves in long-awaited TV comeback-Emily Bashforth-Entertainment – Metro

Holly Willoughby is back on our screens (Picture: REX)

Holly Willoughby made her long-awaited TV comeback this weekend as she returned to host Dancing On Ice alongside new co-host Stephen Mulhern, who replaced Phillip Schofield.

The ex-This Morning host – who resigned from the daytime show in October – has been off screens for months and kept a low profile, only being spotted publicly a few times.

Holly also remained off social media, leaving viewers on the edge of their seats on Sunday night, all eager to see what her first on-camera address would be.

The much-loved presenter appeared ‘vulnerable’ when she stepped back out to applause from the studio audience, but quickly settled back into her role as one of the nation’s favourite stars.

Body language expert Judi James comments on the image transformation the blonde beauty, 42, has undergone during her time away, and the role her new sidekick Stephen is playing.

‘The first glimpse of Holly after her emotional hiatus from our screens suggested vulnerability,’ Judi says.

Holly is now joined by Stephen Mulhern as her new Dancing On Ice co-host (Picture: REX)

‘Stephen Mulhern was holding her hand, as though coaxing her back in front of her fans again.’

She continues: ‘As they launched as a double act, though, it appeared to be Holly in charge as she posed with her mic held up to her face, scoping her arm out towards the audience like an opera singer about to perform.’

On Holly’s new look, Judi says: ‘Holly has returned with a darker blonde hair colour, and with some of the girlishness and look of excitement replaced by a more serious and sophisticated look.

‘She seems to be aiming at an upgrade in terms of status.’

Stephen, meanwhile, is ‘the comedy fall-guy’, whereas Holly is ‘the adult in the relationship’.

At one point, Holly playfully ‘shut him up’ by placing a finger over his lips in jest.

Holly has been off screens since October (Picture: ITV/Matt Frost/Shutterstock)

Noting the dynamic, Judi comments: ‘It’s Stephen with the excited gleam in his eye while Holly’s eye expression looked a little sadder and wiser.

‘The cute look is gone and even that high-tone voice with its sweet little cracks has been replaced by a slightly deeper tone.’

Despite several weeks away from public life, Judi doesn’t believe Holly is showing any signs of ‘nerves’ amid her comeback.

Instead, she sports ‘a slightly more subdued look.’

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‘She seemed more at home when she appeared by herself, interviewing the skaters with apparent confidence and seeming to enjoy the moment of control of the action.’

When she first spoke during the 2024 Dancing On Ice launch, Holly brushed over her absence.

Instead, she hyped up the new cast of celebrities taking to the ice, which includes Ryan Thomas, Ricky Hatton, Hannah Spearritt, Greg Rutherford, and Amber Davies.

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Holly resigned from This Morning several months after Phillip Schofield’s exit (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

Holly’s hair is now a darker shade of blonde (Picture: S Meddle/ITV/Shutterstock)

Holly – who was on This Morning for 14 years before quitting – began by offering a ‘huge welcome to the greatest show on ice’.

‘Let’s hear it for the amazing cast of 2024. Let me just say a huge welcome to Stephen Mulhern,’ she added.

Making his own excitement known, Stephen then declared: ‘I’m ready, are you ready?’

The former children’s TV presenter was inundated with messages of praise after his debut, with plenty of DOI viewers saying he was a ‘vast improvement’ and loved the ‘energy’ he brought to the show.

Dancing On Ice continues Sunday on ITV1 and ITVX.

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