Oti Mabuse: who is Strictly champion joining Dancing on Ice 2022 panel - and why is John Barrowman leaving?

Oti Mabuse is a two time Strictly Come Dancing champion, scooping the Glitterball trophy in 2019 and 2020

ITV have announced that Oti Mabuse is the new Dancing on Ice judge for the 2022 season of the competition, taking over from Doctor Who actor John Barrowman.

This is everything you need to know about Oti Mabuse, the 2022 series of Dancing on Ice - and why John Barrowman is no longer a part of the judging panel.

Sign up to our NationalWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Who is Oti Mabuse?

You’ll likely recognise Mabuse as one of the professional dancers on Strictly Come Dancing, after making her debut in 2015.

She has claimed the Glitterball trophy twice, in 2019 with Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher and again the following year in 2020 with comedian Billy Bailey.

This year, Mabuse and her celebrity partner Ugo Monye were eliminated in the fifth week following a dance off against Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu.

Mabuse was born in South Africa and studied civil engineering before embarking on her journey as a professional ballroom dancer. She started dancing at a young age alongside her sister Motsi, who is also a professional dancer and a judge on the Strictly Come Dancing panel.

Oti Mabuse and husband Marius Lepure pose onstage at the London Coliseum (Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

She has won the South African Latin American Championship eight times, and has a number of other dancing titles under her belt, including third place in the World Cup Freestyle Latin in 2014, second place at the European Championship Latin in 2014 and first place in German Championship PD Freestyle Latin.

As well as appearing on Strictly Come Dancing, Mabuse has also taken part in the German equivalent of the show called Let’s Dance as both a professional dancer and a judge. She was also a dance captain on The Greatest Dancer, and in 2021 was a panellist on The Masked Dancer.

In 2014, Mabuse married her husband, Romanian dancer Marius Lepure. The two currently live in London.

What did Oti Mabuse say about joining Dancing on Ice?

Talking about the announcement of her joining the Dancing on Ice judging panel, Mabuse said: “As a professional dancer I have always had so much respect for the skating professionals on Dancing on Ice.

“It is an exceptional skill that is also so beautiful to watch. I’m feeling really enthusiastic about joining the panel alongside the legendary Torvill and Dean and Ashley Banjo.

“I can’t wait to see the celebrities thrive as they learn how to ice-skate and to champion the professional skaters as they create incredible choreography.

Oti Mabuse will join Ashley Banjo, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean on the judging panel (Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

“Having been on both sides of the table, I know a little bit about how they’ll be feeling. It’s more than an honour and I already can’t wait to join the family.”

Katie Rawcliffe, Head of Entertainment Commissioning, ITV said: “Oti is not only a supremely talented dancer and choreographer but she brings enormous fun and energy to all that she does. It’s fantastic to be welcoming her to our Ice Panel.”

Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby will also be returning to present the show in the new year.

Why isn’t John Barrowman on the panel any more?

Earlier this year it was announced that John Barrowman, who had been a panellist on Dancing on Ice since 2019, would not be returning to the show.

The news came after allegations that the actor would regularly expose himself to fellow cast members on various projects he had been involved with.

Barrowman was accused of exposing himself on the set of Torchwood and Doctor Who, and in an article published by the Guardian in May, two women claimed that Barrowman had made them uncomfortable.

One woman said: “He’d just sort of have his balls hanging out of his trousers or something, which he just thought was really funny.”

The other said: “Sometimes he’d call me into his dressing room, and I would knock on the door and he’d say, ‘Oh, look at this’, and he’d just have his willy out, standing in the doorway.”

Following the allegations against him, it was announced that John Barrowman would not be returning to the ice skating competition (Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

In a statement given to the Guardian, Barrowman said: “With the benefit of hindsight, I understand that upset may have been caused by my exuberant behaviour, and I have apologised for this previously.

“Since my apology in November 2008, my understanding and behaviour have also changed.”

As a result of the allegations, Barrowman was dropped from an upcoming interactive Doctor Who theatre exhibition.

When it was announced that Barrowman would not be returning to Dancing on Ice, ITV did not cite the allegations as the reason for the actor exiting the show.

At the time, an ITV spokesperson said: “We thank John Barrowman for two brilliant years on the Dancing on Ice panel and are pleased to be working with him again as host of the forthcoming All Star Musicals specials.”

Who is taking part in Dancing on Ice this year?

The celebrities that have been revealed to be taking part in Dancing on Ice this year are:

  • Coronation Street star Sally Dynevor
  • Happy Mondays dancer Bez
  • Paralympian Stef Reid
  • Love Island star Liberty Pool
  • Rugby player Ben Foden
  • Pussycat Doll singer Kimberly Wyatt
  • Dancer Regan Gascoigne
  • Singer and former S Club 7 member Rachel Stevens
  • Ex-Strictly Come Dancing professional Brendan Cole
  • Presenter Ria Hebden 
  • BMX Olympian Kye Whyte
  • The Vamps member Connor Ball 

Guiding the celebrities through their Dancing on Ice journey are the professional skaters.

Bez and his professional skating partner Angela Egan were the first to skate on the ice during homecoming Manchester ice skate, a practice session for Dancing On Ice on the new ice skating rink (Photo: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

Matt Evers, who has been part of Dancing on Ice since it launched on ITV in 2006, returns to the series alongside Alexandra Shauman and her husband Łukasz Różycki, Andy Buchanan and wife Robin Johnstone.

Other returning faces include Mark Hanretty, Brendyn Hatfield, Vanessa Bauer, Karina Manta and Joe Johnson, as well as reigning champion pro Angela Egan, who took the trophy with Sonny Jay last season.

There are three new faces joining the lineup this year as well, with world class competitive figure skaters Morgan Swales, Tippy Packard and Colin Grafton making their Dancing on Ice debuts.

The new season will air on ITV and the ITV Hub in January 2022.

A message from the editor: Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.