Jason Donovan will not star on Sunday’s Dancing On Ice, after four stars dropped out from the series due to sustaining injuries or contracting coronavirus.
An ITV representative confirmed the Australian actor and singer, 52 – who is competing on the show with professional skater Alexandra Schauman – has been advised to rest after suffering from back pain, but has vowed to return next week.
The musician’s break from the programme comes just days after Emmerdale’s Joe-Warren Plant and his partner Vanessa Bauer were forced to withdraw after they both tested positive for COVID-19.
Recovery: Jason Donovan will not star on Sunday’s Dancing On Ice after suffering from back pain (pictured with Alexandra Schauman last week)
Former Neighbours star Jason said in a statement: ‘I’ve had back pain the past couple of days and I’m under doctor’s orders to take it easy and sit this week out.
‘I’m resting up, I’ll be watching from home and cheering everyone on and I look forward to returning next week.’
Bosses are keen to ‘make the show work’ despite four celebrities leaving the competition, it was reported on Saturday.
TV star Joe’s exit is the latest in a string of blows, after Billie Faiers, Denise Van Outen and Rufus Hound were all bowed out of this year’s show, prompting viewers to call the 2021 series ‘cursed’.
‘I’ll be watching from home and cheering everyone on’: An ITV representative confirmed the Australian actor and singer, 52, has been advised to rest, but has vowed to return next week
Shock exit: The artist’s break from the show comes days after Joe-Warren Plant and Vanessa Bauer were forced to withdraw after they tested positive for Covid (pictured last week)
Determined: Bosses are keen to ‘make the show work’ despite four celebrities leaving the competition, it was reported on Saturday (Billie Faiers pictured last month before withdrawing)
According to reports from The Sun, despite the withdrawals those behind-the-scenes are keen to work hard to ensure the show can go ahead.
A source claimed: ‘They’ve been super strict with the protocols and following rules backstage.
‘Everyone is tested all the time so it’s just a case of sticking to the rules and making it through to the final week.
‘Morale is high backstage and everyone wants to make the show work.’
MailOnline contacted Dancing On Ice representatives, who declined to comment.
So many celebrities have been forced to drop out of Dancing On Ice, that for the first time in its history the show has run out of reserves.
On Friday, Joe said he was ‘disappointed’ to not be able to continue with the show, while Vanessa, 24, said she was ‘heartbroken’.
The professional skater revealed the pair got the ‘shock’ phone call during rehearsals on Thursday evening and said they ‘both feel fine’.
Upset: On Friday, Emmerdale’s Joe, 18, said he was ‘disappointed’ to not be able to continue with the show, while Vanessa, 24, said she was ‘heartbroken’ (pictured on last week’s show)
Announcing his departure, Joe said in a statement: ‘Having tested positive for Covid this now means the end of the competition for Vanessa and I.
‘I have loved every minute of being a part of Dancing On Ice and I am disappointed as I feel I had so much more to give and was working hard to perfect each performance.
‘Thank you so much to Vanessa for being a fantastic teacher and although its been cut short, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this experience.
‘Thank you to all the crew who have been brilliant and especially thanks to the other cast members, they have been hugely supportive and I wish them all the very best.’
Devastated: Vanessa, meanwhile, shared a picture of herself and Joe on the ice during rehearsals and penned: ‘We are heartbroken’
Heartbroken: ‘I am writing this in tears as I’ve loved every minute on this years show with @joewarrenplant!,’ Vanessa wrote
Vanessa, meanwhile, shared a picture of herself and Joe on the ice during rehearsals and penned: ‘We are heartbroken. Joe and I feel fine, but our COVID tests came back positive and that means the end for us on @dancingonice.
‘I am writing this in tears as I’ve loved every minute on this years show with @joewarrenplant! He is the best partner I could have wished for, we worked so hard for months, had so much fun together and had SO SO much more to show
‘It feels surreal as we were training up until last evening before the shock call hit us…
‘It is devastating that our journey has been cut short like this but we both still had the time of our lives. We love @dancingonice and want to thank everybody for the support this year’.
Great pairing: Joe and Vanessa were one of the front runners in the competition. On Sunday’s show the pair performed an impressive Quickstep, which garnered 32.5 out of 40
Dropped out: Reality star Billie Faiers (pictured with Mark Hanretty) withdrew from the show after suffering a concussion following a fall during training
An ITV spokesperson added: ‘We can confirm that following positive Covid tests, Joe-Warren Plant and Vanessa Bauer have had to withdraw from this year’s competition.
‘They’ve been wonderful on the show this year and we thank them for all their dedication and beautiful performances.’
Joe and Vanessa were one of the front runners in the competition. On Sunday’s show the pair performed an impressive Quickstep, which garnered 32.5 out of 40.
Rufus, 41, was axed from the competition last month after he tested positive for coronavirus.
Out: Rufus Hound was axed from the competition last month after he tested positive for coronavirus (pictured with partner Robin Johnstone)
Oh dear: Denise Van Outen (pictured with Matt Evers) was forced to drop out of the competition after she dislocated her shoulder
Matt Richardson was brought in as his replacement, but was axed during his first show, which took place last Sunday.
Meanwhile Denise, 46, and Billie, 31, both dropped out of the series after hurting themselves on the ice.
The West End star dislocated her shoulder, while Billie suffered a concussion after falling on her head in training.
Ouch! Myleene Klass also sustained a broken toe and torn knee cartilage
Oh no! Taking to Instagram on Monday, the former Hear’Say singer showed her big toe wrapped up in a bandage while sitting on a hospital bed
Injured: Yebin Mok is still in physiotherapy after her partner Graham Bell sliced her leg with his ice blade
The programme has also come under fire from viewers who were concerned by how many celebrities and professional skaters were requiring hospital treatment, putting further strain on the NHS.
Both figure skaters Yebin Mok and Andy Buchanan required hospital treatment after suffering injury while rehearsing with respective partners Graham Bell and Rebekah Vardy.
Myleene Klass also sustained a broken toe and torn knee cartilage.
Dancing On Ice 2021: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
Graham Bell’s partner Yebin Mok suffers a freak accident after suffering ‘a very nasty wound from an ice blade’.
While it was initially thought she would return to the competition, the injuries were worse than anticipated and she was replaced by Karina Manta. They were voted out on Saturday.
Denise Van Outen announced she’s quit Dancing On Ice after learning she’d fractured her shoulder in an accident during training.
The presenter, 46, shared an Instagram statement telling fans she’d withdrawn the show after being told by doctors the injury would leave her severely limited in training.
Denise will be replaced by retired Olympic gymnast Amy Tinkler, 21, who will make her ice debut this Sunday alongside pro Joe Johnson.
Billie Faiers reveals her grandmother Wendy has tragically passed away
In the wake of the news it was revealed that the former TOWIE star wouldn’t appear in the next episode of the ITV skating show following the death.
It was confirmed by MailOnline on Thursday that Billie, 31, and her sister Sam’s grandmother had passed away aged 77 from pneumonia.
Following the news, a representative for DOI revealed that Billie will miss Sunday’s show as she grieves the ‘devastating’ loss of her relative.
Rufus Hound withdraws from the show after testing positive for COVID.
The comedian, 41, took to Twitter on Wednesday evening to announce in a tweet and accompanying video message that he has sadly had to withdraw from the ITV skating competition.
Show bosses confirmed that Rufus and his professional partner Robin Johnstone have both been axed from Dancing On Ice and will be replaced by Matt Richardson, 29, and his pro-skater partner Vicky Ogden this weekend.