Stephen Mulhern has made his debut as Phillip Schofield’s Dancing On Ice replacement (Picture: REX)
Already a firm favourite among telly fanatics, Stephen didn’t have to graft too hard to win people over.
However, his first episode has gone down a storm, with Dancing On Ice viewers branding him a ‘vast improvement’.
The In For A Penny host has also been praised for the ‘energy’ he brings to the skating competition.
Taking to X to rave about Stephen’s presenting talents, user CoreyEES said Holly looks to be ‘thriving’ alongside her new pal.
Stephen and co-host Holly Willoughby had plenty of banter (Picture: Kieron McCarron/ITV/Shutterstock)
Stephen was branded a ‘vast improvement’ (Picture: Kieron McCarron/ITV/Shutterstock)
‘I feel like she’s able to have fun with Stephen and they just work together,’ they added.
WhoPotterVian echoed that Stephen is ‘a vast improvement’ while AhmetGocer2 hailed him as ‘a natural’.
BeardyCrafts said: ‘In the first few minutes, Stephen Mulhern brought much better energy than Schofield ever did.’
MattZeeMiller added: ‘Actually finding Stephen far better on #DancingOnIce than Schofield was! Mulhern does entertainment hosting better!’
Throughout his first show, Stephen was seen cracking jokes, leaving co-presenter Holly in fits of laughter.
Keeping the mood light, the former children’s TV star feigned injury after boxing champ and 2023 contestant Ricky Hatton ‘punched’ him, falling to the floor.
The Saturday Night Takeaway star replaced Phillip after he resigned from ITV last year (Picture: Kieron McCarron/ITV/Shutterstock)
He joked about drinking a pretty vile smoothie in a nod to Josie Gibson’s I’m A Celeb stint (Picture: Kieron McCarron/ITV/Shutterstock)
He also made gags about the ‘S’ in S Club (in reference to Hannah Spearritt’s casting) standing for his own name, and pretended to drink a grim smoothie when I’m A Celeb’s Josie Gibson appeared to announce the competition.
This isn’t the first time Stephen has presented on Dancing On Ice, having briefly stepped in for Phillip once before when the ex-This Morning host contracted Covid-19 and was forced to isolate.
He’s now a permanent fixture, though, following Phillip’s resignation from ITV last spring when he admitted to lying about an affair with a much younger male runner on the daytime show, which happened while he was married and before coming out as gay.
Phillip has kept a low profile since bowing out from the spotlight, previously admitting he doesn’t think he’ll work in television again.
Meanwhile, Holly has had a turbulent time of things herself in recent months.
Phillip has kept a low profile over the past year and distanced himself from Holly (Picture: Matt Frost/ITV/Shutterstock)
Until this weekend, the much-loved star had not been on our screens since she stepped down from This Morning in October after 14 years on the sofa.
When she returned to Dancing On Ice, Holly brushed off the reasons for her absence.
Introducing her new co-host to the audience, Holly asked DOI fans to give him a ‘huge welcome.’
She said: ‘To the greatest show on ice, and let’s hear it for the amazing cast of 2024. Let me just say a huge welcome to Stephen Mulhern.’
Ready to go, Stephen declared: ‘I’m ready, are you ready?’
Amber Davies was one of the stars who wowed the panel with her first skate (Picture: Kieron McCarron/ITV/Shutterstock)
Hannah Spearritt was at risk of being in the skate-off (Picture: Kieron McCarron/ITV/Shutterstock)
However, it was Ricky Hatton who found himself in the bottom (Picture: Kieron McCarron/ITV/Shutterstock)
The first show saw the likes of Coronation Street’s Ryan Thomas and Love Island’s Amber Davis take to the ice with their professional partners.
Alas, while Ryan topped the leaderboard, ex-boxer Ricky found himself at the bottom and will take on the skate-off next weekend after the second lot of celebrities perform.
Dancing On Ice continues Sunday on ITV1 and ITVX.
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