Rufus Hound: why has the comedian been dropped from Dancing on Ice - and who is his replacement Matt Richardson?
He confirmed he would not be back on the show, stating the decision ”sucks”
Comedian Rufus Hound has been axed from ITV’s Dancing on Ice after testing positive for Covid-19.
The star wowed judges in his previous performance as Super Mario, but will not continue as a contestant on the show.
Hound announced the news in a Youtube video on Wednesday 3 February, telling his fans he would not return and “that sucks.”
So what happened and who will replace him? This is what we know.
Who is Rufus Hound?
The comedian, whose real name is Robert James Blair Simpson, is best known for his appearances as a panelist on ITV’s Celebrity Juice, alongside funnyman Keith Lemon, and as a radio presenter of Glastonbury Festival.
He was a contestant on Channel 4’s reality series, Famous and Fearless, where he earned the nickname “The ruthless hound”.
The comedian also featured on Sky 1’s sitcom Trollied and CBBC’s TV series Hounded.
He also previously won a Christmas edition of Strictly Come Dancing.
Why has he been dropped from Dancing on Ice?
Hound was forced to sit out of the show last weekend after Dancing on Ice revealed he had been in contact with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus.
Hound could have returned to the show after isolating for the required period if he had not contracted the virus, which is currently 10 days.
Therefore, had be provided a negative Covid test then he would only have missed one week of the competition.
On wednesday 3 February, Hound confirmed in a YouTube video that he has now tested positive and this has resulted in an immediate dismissal from the rest of the show.
Hound said in the video: "Unfortunately, the rules on Dancing on Ice are completely cut and dry, very strict, because they need to keep everybody on that production as safe as possible," he said.
"So it seemed like when I was just quarantining, there might be a window of opportunity for me to be able to get back to the show, a window that I now know doesn't exist."
He said the situation “sucks”, before thanking his partner Robin Johnstone, referring to her as "human sunshine" and a "tremendous pal".
The series released new Covid protocols just hours before his video, which resulted in Hound being unable to return to the show. These confirmed a dancer could not miss more than one week of the show.
A statement from the show read: “Following the guidance on isolation, a positive COVID-19 diagnosis for any of our cast at this stage would mean two weeks missed and sadly an end to their time on the show.
"It has always been the case that no celebrity skater has missed more than one public vote."
Will his partner also be axed?
Since Hound has been dismissed from the show, his partner Robin Johnstone will not appear in the rest of the series.
The couple only got to skate once, performing a Super Mario themed routine. They earned the judges’ Golden Ticket - which allowed them to excel to week three without being considered for the public vote.
Johnstone could now need to self isolate, depending on when she was last in contact with Hound.
Hound and Johnstone will be replaced with a new celebrity and professional skating partner.
ITV confirmed the couple would not be back on the show, in a statement which read: "Although Rufus and his partner Robin'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."
Who will replace them?
Fellow comedian Matt Richardson and dancer Vicki Odgen will replace the couple.
It is not known when the newcomers were informed they would be contestants on the show, but Richardson has confirmed in an Instagram post that he has been practising.
He captioned his wobbly attempts at dancing on the ice: “Is that... is that Christopher Dean? No, just me guys being so amazing. This is good enough to be on the show in 3 days, right? @dancingonice”.
Who else has left the show?
Despite only Mylene Klass being voted off by the public and judges, four contestants have departed from the show or missed some weeks of filming.
Hound has been axed due to Covid, while presenter Denise Van Outen was forced into an early departure after dislocating her elbow in training.
Reality star Billie Faiers also took a week off following the death of her grandmother, though she has confirmed she will be returning this week.
Dancing On Ice continues Sundays at 6pm on ITV.