Willoughby heartily welcomed Mulhern, who is Phillip Schofield’s replacement. In 2023, Schofield quit ITV after admitting to having an “unwise but not illegal affair” with a younger male colleague while working on daytime series This Morning.
Six of the 12 participating celebrities – not including a star who was forced to drop out – graced the rink after weeks of training, but it was former welterweight Hatton who loomed in the memory due to an incident that occurred during a presenting segment he was involved in.
In what appeared to be a staged skit, Mulhern asked Hatton to hold a microphone for him in the style of one a boxing announcer would use and, after he had finished his bit to camera, Hatton put the microphone down.
Mulhern forcibly returned the microphone three times, making unimpressed face to the ccamera, following which, Hastton landed a blow on his arm. However, it appeared the blow was a bit harder than expected, as Mulhern fell to the ground, leaving Willoughby gasping in shock.
After the episode aired, a messaged appeared on Hatton’s X/Twitter, reading: Ricky even landing knockout blows on @dancingonice! Hope you’re okay @StephenMulhern .”
Mulhern himself responded to the moment, branded “hysterical” by viewers, stating: “I’m already starting to bruise!”
Responding to the moment on social media, one viewer wrote: “Script probably says ‘Ricky Hatton gives Stephen Mulhern a gentle push’”, while another added: “I bet Stephen Mulhern now has a dead arm after Ricky Hatton just clobbered him on #DancingOnIce.”
At the start of the episode, 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.
In December 2023, it was confirmed that Willoughby would return to host Dancing On Ice without Schofield. The duo had presented the ice skating competition together since 2006.