Matt Richardson replaces Dancing on Ice’s Rufus Hound after comic axed from show

Dancing on Ice bosses have confirmed that Matt Richardson will replace Rufus Hound after the comedian was forced to quit the competition after contracting coronavirus.

The 29-year-old television presenter has been training for the 2021 series of the ITV ice-skating show as a stand-in and will finally make his debut on Sunday night.

Rufus and his professional skating partner Robin Johnstone had already missed two weeks of the competition after the former Celebrity Juice star was told he must isolate after getting a Track and Trace notification.

He has since contracted Covid-19 himself and has been told to withdraw from the competition.

With the departure of Rufus and Robin, Matt and his pro-skater partner Vicky Ogden will join the line up this weekend.

Matt is best known for co-presenting The X Factor spin-off show The Xtra Factor on ITV2 alongside the late Caroline Flack in 2013.

He became the drive time presenter on the digital radio station Virgin Radio UK in 2016.

The TV star and comedian has also co-presented Celebrity Haunted Hotel Live and Celebrity Haunted Mansion with Christine Lampard on UKTV's W channel.

A statement from ITV confirming Rufus' departure read: "We can confirm that following a positive test result, Rufus Hound is unable to return to Dancing On Ice this weekend.

"Although Rufus and his partner Robin Johnstone's time on the ice has been all too brief, they can be truly proud of their achievements.

"We thank them for all their hard work and commitment to the show.

"When the full cast reunite for the series final our hope is Rufus will be able to be back in the studio with everyone."

Confirming the news on Twitter, Rufus penned: "I will no longer be participating in @dancingonice. COVID is – as I'm sure we're all well aware – a b*****d and sadly the world isn't short of those."

He posted a video explaining: "Having come into contact with someone with Covid and isolating it transpired I have Covid.

"Unfortunately the rules on Dancing On Ice are cut and dry – very strict."

Rufus and Robin wowed the judges with their video-game themed performance during the first show of the series and were therefore awarded the first-ever Golden Ticket.

However, the star sparked a backlash with an emotional speech about the British government after receiving the ticket from Christopher Dean, Jayne Torvill, John Barrowman and Ashley Banjo.

He said: "I’ve spent most of this year not emotionally stable because the world does not make sense and this does not make more sense of it.

"We live in a world where the people we elect don’t want to feed hungry children, this is the least mad thing that has happened to me in a long time."

Dancing on Ice continues Sunday on ITV at 6pm

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