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Blackburn DOI queen shuns the glitz of showbiz

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Bren View Drop Down
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  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Blackburn DOI queen shuns the glitz of showbiz
    Posted: 07 Mar 2011 at 16:26

Blackburn Dancing On Ice queen shuns the glitz of showbiz

3:56pm Monday 7th March 2011

AFTER five years on Sunday night TV’s Dancing On Ice series Karen Barber has gained a celebrity status.

But the Blackburn coach is still as down to earth and friendly as her neighbours at home in East Lancashire.

You won’t see her selling her life story to OK magazine, or gracing the London celebrity party scene.

For Karen has a rooted grounding that she holds onto firmly.

In her home town Karen runs Blackburn Skating School and has received a Lifetime Achievement Award for her services to figure skating.

“Being known from the telly is quite nice” said Karen who still lives in Blackburn.

"I quite like people coming up to chat to me in Tesco and everyone is so friendly.

"But coaching is what I do best and the rest is a bonus for me.

“I’ve been with Blackburn Ice Arena since it opened in 1990 and I’ll always keep my students there.

"I don’t have the time to get back to Blackburn during the series sadly but my girls have been coming to me,” said Karen.

She speaks to her daughters, Laura, 19, and Emma, 17, on the phone every evening from her London flat where she stays during the Dancing On Ice 12-week run.

The TV coach regularly spends seven days a week with the contestants even putting in extra tuition on her days off. “We go in about 8am and it’s 12-hour days.

"Me, Chris and Jane work very hard,” said the former Olympic skater who started figure skating aged 14.

And Karen is said to be dating the show’s star Christopher Dean, 52, after apparently separating from Stephen Pickavance, her husband of 21 years.

But the mum of two maintains a fierce determination to keep her private life out of the limelight by keeping tight-lipped about the reported new romance.

There is one delicate issue, however, that Karen is not shy about discussing; her looming birthday, the big 5-0 in June.

It’s no wonder the milestone age doesn’t faze her. Karen’s looking better than ever. So what is her secret?

“Well I’ve lost two and a half stone by not eating carbs, I now love clothes and have 20 pairs of shoes in my dressing room!" said Karen, who has undergone an image makeover since her first TV appearance in 2006.

“My personal stylist (Luke Henderson who dresses The Saturdays) has made me experiment with different outfits.

"I have come from behind the desk on the live shows, so the entire look is important.

"He gives me the confidence to wear things that I would normally shy away from.”

The show has also brought some new friends for Karen, who took a shine to ex Atomic Kitten singer Kerry Katona.

“I was particularly close to Kerry. She wasn’t just learning to skate she was starting a new chapter in her life.

"It was good to be part of that. She’s a really lovely girl.”

For the 2011 series Karen has stepped down from the judging panel and taken on a new role in the live Sunday night broadcasts, representing the celebrities.

And she’s hit the headlines after spats with caustic tongued judge Jason Gardiner who hit out at the head coach after she questioned his critique of war hero Johnson Beharry’s week five routine.

Viewers saw Karen blink back tears as Jason snapped at her ‘If your opinion mattered, you’d still be on the panel'.

Rising above the comments Karen, who has been inundated with words of support from viewers said: “He is what he is, we never know what he’s going to say next.

"I don’t know what’s the matter with him, he’s got his grumpy pants on.

“If you listen to what he says there’s normally some sense in it but I don’t always agree with how he says it.

"Even Simon Cowell would not be quite so rude as he is at times.”

So who is going to skate off with the 2011 crown?

“Jeff has always been my dark horse and I predicted he’d still be in it towards the end.

"Sam is great and the girls, Chloe and Laura are pushing each other.

"But it’s a tough call, it will literally be up to that final performance.”

And for Karen the highlight comes when the series nears to a close, and the Dancing On Ice Tour begins.

Hosted by Andy Peters and judging by a panel made up of Christopher Biggins, Robin Cousins and Karen, the arena tour includes Sam Attwater, Chloe Madeley, Comedy Dave Vitty, Laura Hamilton, Denise Welch, Vanilla Ice and Johnson Beharry plus 2010 winner Hayley Tamaddon.

Karen added: “The TV show is great but the tour is the icing on the cake.

"The crowds are fantastic and the celebs all get excited about going to Manchester, it’s renowned for being the loudest audience.

"My family and friends all come to watch when we’re there, too I have a big family, we could fill half the arena.

"I’m really looking forward to it.”

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@lovingDOI View Drop Down

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  Quote @lovingDOI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2011 at 18:30
bless. chuckled about the bit about the quiet romance LOL, I think i read about it in about 5 magazines LOL. (all the same clip mind, copied and pasted i think hehe) do like Karen, glad she on the judges panel for the tour, wish they would all skate again for one of them. xx
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Rain Drops View Drop Down

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  Quote Rain Drops Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2011 at 18:34
That was a good read I really like Karen!
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SkatingSam22 View Drop Down

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  Quote SkatingSam22 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2011 at 19:26
Originally posted by Rain Drops

That was a good read I really like Karen!

I'm with ya :)
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