Yorkshire cricket hero Ryan Sidebottom is ready to fly the White Rose flag in TV’s Dancing on Ice

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He represented Yorkshire with distinction during his all-conquering cricketing career.

Now Ryan Sidebottom is ready to fly the flag for his home county once again as he competes in the new series of ITV’s Dancing on Ice.

Ryan Sidebottom with dance partner Brandee Malto.

Ryan Sidebottom with dance partner Brandee Malto.

Ryan, who retired from cricket in 2017, is one of 12 famous names pulling on their skates for the programme, which returns to the nation’s screens this weekend.

But he’s not the first person with close ties to the White Rose county to put their ice dance skills to the test on the show.

And the exploits of those previous contestants mean Ryan will have a lot to live up to when he glides onto the rink in front of millions of TV viewers.

Leeds actress Gaynor Faye was the winner of the programme’s very first series in 2006 – helped in no small part by the support of the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Go Gaynor Go! campaign.

Subsequent champions have included two familiar faces from the cast of Leeds-based TV soap Emmerdale, with Hayley Tamaddon taking top spot in 2010 and Matthew Wolfenden leading the way in 2012.

Backing for Ryan’s bid to join them on the list of winners is being spearheaded by Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.

He said today: “This is a great challenge for Ryan, having no background at all in either skating or dancing, but he’s come a very long way since first setting foot on the ice so we’re urging the whole county to get behind him when the show starts this weekend.

“Best of luck to Ryan and his dance partner Brandee – I know they’ll do Yorkshire proud.”

Ryan has made it clear he has no intention of letting Yorkshire’s side down, saying: “It can be a difficult transition when you retire from competitive sport and staying fit and active is so important for your mental and physical health.

“I hope my journey will inspire others to know it’s never too late to try something completely new.

“I’m determined to give it my all, all 6ft 5in of me, and I want to do Yorkshire proud.”

Dancing on Ice is on ITV at 6pm on Sunday. Ryan’s fans will have to wait a while to see him in proper skating action, however, as he is one of the six contestants making their debut on week two of the show.

Other celebrities taking part this year include Brian McFadden, Gemma Collins, Richard Blackwood, James Jordan, Saira Khan and Jane Danson.