Didi Conn takes to the rink for Danc­ing on Ice

Grease leg­end Didi Conn ex­plains why she’s get­ting her skates on for Danc­ing on Ice…

TV Times - - My Tv Week - Vic­to­ria Wil­son

Grease is a clas­sic movie mu­si­cal which 40 years af­ter its orig­i­nal re­lease en­ter­tains gen­er­a­tion af­ter gen­er­a­tion.

While the 1978 film cen­tres on the love story between John Tra­volta’s cool dude Danny Zuko and Olivia New­ton-john’s shy Sandy Ols­son, it was Sandy’s best friend Frenchie – and her colour-chang­ing hair – who truly warmed our hearts.

And we fell in love all over again when Frenchie her­self – ac­tress Didi Conn – ap­peared as one of the celebri­ties lin­ing up for this year’s Danc­ing on Ice.

With Grease giv­ing us such clas­sic songs as Sum­mer Nights and You’re the One That I Want, it was only right that Didi’s first rou­tine last Sun­day was to the movie’s rous­ing We Go To­gether.

TV Times called our favourite ‘Pink Lady’, Didi, 67, in her na­tive New York prior to the launch, to talk about her ice-danc­ing ‘ad­ven­ture’ and life as a liv­ing movie leg­end…

What made you want to sign up for the show?

Well, first of all, I love be­ing in Eng­land; the peo­ple are won­der­ful. I’ve never ice-skated be­fore and the pro­duc­ers asked me: ‘Would you want to learn?’ I’m al­ways up for learn­ing some­thing new but I didn’t realise how hard it would be.

When I first en­tered the rink I had a spec­tac­u­lar fall the minute I got on, so I ini­tially thought: ‘I’ll say yes to the dress but I don’t know

about this ice-skat­ing!’

How’s train­ing go­ing? My dance part­ner, Lukasz Rozy­cki, is ter­rific – I call him ‘Lucky Lukasz’. He’s got such en­ergy and pa­tience and he’s fun, too. Some­times I like to see if I can do any steps on the ice with­out fall­ing down and he goes right along with me.

When peo­ple first men­tioned do­ing lifts

I was like: ‘Lifts?

Tricks? You’ve got to be kid­ding me!’ I was just about skat­ing back and forth!

Were you pleased to hear that your first Danc­ing on Ice rou­tine was go­ing to be to the song

We Go To­gether from Grease?

Oh yes, I was happy to know I was go­ing to be danc­ing to some­thing fa­mil­iar. I didn’t know what we were go­ing to do skat­ing-wise – but at least I knew the words to the song! And, of course, I still have my orig­i­nal Pink Ladies jacket from the movie with mus­tard stains on it!

How do you feel about be­ing cri­tiqued by the judges?

At my age, the big­gest com­pe­ti­tion I have is against Old Fa­ther Time! I have cer­tain goals and if I don’t con­cen­trate I’m go­ing to get up­set and the judges will recog­nise that.

I’ve got a very good work ethic and I have a lot of grit. So if I pay at­ten­tion and do the best I can do, that’s all I can hope for.

Grease cel­e­brated its 40th an­niver­sary last year. What’s your fond­est mem­ory of mak­ing it? That has to be the two days I had my own sound stage at Para­mount Stu­dios when they filmed the scenes for the song Beauty School Dropout. Hav­ing Frankie Avalon, all dressed up in those tight pants, singing to me, it was not too hard to start drool­ing! That morn­ing, I had put on the pink wig for the first time as Frenchie and I looked in the mir­ror and thought: ‘Oh my God!’

Do peo­ple still recog­nise you as Frenchie?

Oh yeah, es­pe­cially when they hear my voice. I know Grease is still such a phe­nom­e­non. It makes peo­ple happy and that makes me happy. Peo­ple seem to like Frenchie be­cause she was such a good friend.

At the end of the movie, we say we’ll al­ways be to­gether and Olivia and I are still good friends, so it’s true. It’s very spe­cial.

So the two of you are still in touch? Yes, all the time. Olivia’s quite some­thing. She’s work­ing through a lit­tle bump in the road right now – but she’s a sur­vivor and a thriver.

You live in New York. How are you feel­ing about Win­ter in Eng­land? The big­gest chal­lenge for me do­ing this show will be be­ing away from home be­cause I’ve never been away from home this long. I had to com­mit to 10 weeks… even if I don’t make it that far! I have a son who’s autis­tic and he doesn’t know how long I’m go­ing to be away yet. I’ve got to get him used to the tele­phone; he doesn’t like the tele­phone much.

What do you like about the UK?

I love the his­tory, I get blown away when

I’m in Eng­land. Amer­ica is such a ‘young’ coun­try and

I go to Eng­land and into churches from the 13th cen­tury and I’m like: ‘What? That’s crazy!’

I doubt I’ll get to do much sight­see­ing, though, be­cause we’ll be work­ing ev­ery day, with one day off, so I know I’ll be pooped!

What are you hop­ing to achieve from be­ing on this show?

I have three broth­ers and a very pro­tec­tive hus­band and I’ve had to prom­ise them that I’m go­ing to be safe, so it’s go­ing to be a ‘PG’ ad­ven­ture. I just hope to be able to push the en­ve­lope a lit­tle bit in terms of what I phys­i­cally can do. I hope my body can re­spond to what my mind wants it to do!

Grease makes peo­ple happy and that makes me happy

Danc­ing on Ice Sun­day / ITV / 6Pm

Danc­ing duo: Didi with part­ner lukasz Best pals: Didi with olivia new­ton-john in Grease

the judges: Ja­son Gar­diner, Jayne torvill, Christopher Dean andash­ley Banjo

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