Viewers have been praising the pair’s camaraderie since the new series launched earlier this month – but their hijinks led to an apology from Willoughby who appeared to say the word “f***” after Mulhern made her jump.
The host was introducing Emmerdale star Roxy Shahidi and her partner Sylvain Longchambon, when Willoughby said: “Hoping to give their opponents the fright of their lives...”
Here, Mulhern suddenly shouted loudly in Willoughby’s face who, alarmed, jumped and seemed to utter the word “f***”.
However, while viewers were convinced the host had sworn, Willoughby herself was adamant she hadn’t later in the episode, when she addressed the issue directly.
She said: “Now, a little bit earlier on, Stephen may have made me jump and I think it might have sounded like a naughty word slipped out.I don’t think I did! But I’m sorry if that’s what you thought you might have heard, but I don’t think I did.
Willoughby continued: “I’ll watch it back on ITV player, because that’s where you can watch these things back. But I’m sorry!”
Mulhern, who currently hosts the reboot of Deal or No Deal, stepped in as presenter of the skating competition after a scandal saw Phillip Schofield cut ties with ITV, with the latest episode seeing all the celebrities and their pro partners – not including a star who was forced to drop out – perform on the rink after another week of training.
Fans of the show have been sharing comments of praise for the pair on X/Twitter, with many commending the duo’s on-screen chemistry, and saying their combination has infused the series with “more energy”.
“I love you and Stephen presenting together,” one fan wrote, adding “You’re both brilliant and so much fun.”
Welcoming Mulhern to the show on 14 January, Willoughby said: “We are off! Welcome to the greatest show on ice, And also can we just say a huge welcome to Stephen Mulhern!”
It is not the first time the pair have presented Dancing on Ice together. In 2022, prior to Schofield stepping away from ITV, Mulhern briefly co-hosted the programme with Willoughby after Schofield tested positive for Covid-19.
Willoughby made her debut on the ice skating competition alongside Schofield in 2006.