Ratings for the second outing of the troubled Torvill and Dean’s Dancing on Ice sagged badly last night, but Nine still won the night… just. Nine beat Seven 29.5% to 29.4% thanks to wins in Sydney and Melbourne.

But Dancing on Ice fell from 1.610 million viewers a week ago to 1.395 million last night – a fall of more than 13%. It fell from second to sixth place on the list of most-watched programs, but more worrying for Nine is that Seven’s Border Security recovered its audience and climbed back over two million (2.002 million) at 7.30pm and Medical Emergency averaged 1.595 million, also up from the previous week. The second half of Dancing on Ice from 8.30pm beat Seven’s All Saints (1.369 million) narrowly.

The program last night saw some particularly poor TV: co-host Jamie Durie is a slight figure but directors have been told not to show him in a full length shot and to only shoot him from the waist up (called an MCU in TV speak or Medium Close Up).

Last night we found out why – a director went to a wide shot of Jamie from a high camera and viewers saw that he was standing on a four-inch riser (a wooden box made with plywood and painted grey to lift a set piece or host so that they look to be a more normal height on camera). Durie also tended to shout at times last night to project his voice. At one stage he was slightly hoarse on camera.

We also saw a pretty nasty fall by contestant Trisha Broadbridge during practice that left her slightly concussed (her words). That means one contestant is out with a broken leg; another, Michael Slater competed with a cast after severing a tendon in his hand; a third suffered a back injury and another a rib injury during training.

Why Ms Broadbridge and the other “learners” weren’t required to wear safety helmets for the practice sessions is puzzling. Perhaps WorkCover should drop in and check it out. One thing is certain: the workers compensation and insurance bills for the program will be huge, given all the claims so far.

Peter Fray

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