The British Figure & Ice Dance Championships 2005


by Melanie Eley

The British Championships (or Brits, as we call our nationals) was held at the twin-pad arena at Ice Sheffield in England, UK.

I love this arena. I prefer it to Nottingham - the "other" National Ice Centre, from a spectator's point of view, anyway. Both arenas are relatively new, purpose-built, and were/are being heavily invested in by NISA, to try and recruit and develop excellence/new skating talents. Quite a few skaters re-locate to be there, as that is where some of the reputable coaches are and where, dare I say it, the money is.

The crowd attendants were pleasant and helpful, the arena wasn't too cold. Seats are plastic but also not too cold or uncomfortable and enough leg room to place your bag/coat there. We had allocated seats but the arena was half empty at times so we sat anywhere, mainly beside Sinead & John's mum & dad.

I must apologise for not taking photos. My camera is useless unless I'm practically standing on the ice to take the photo. I know Shoe, Gems and Joy took photos though, so they might share. (There will be photos added to Sinead and John's site at some point.)

I also saw Miffy again and her friend Belsornia. Miffy is an AS member.
I also met Peaches (a skater who posts on S&J's MB) at the banquet and she has such a pretty (model-like) face.

One other person watching the competition was Sean Wilson who played Martin Platt, a character in Coronation Street (a very popular British TV soap which has been on the screen for YEARS).

He is going to be one of the celebrity skaters in Dancing On Ice, (the one with Torvill & Dean in it) which is being shown in the New Year. He was sitting very close to us at one point, with Marika Humphreys-Baranova, who is perhaps going to be his coach and partner for the show?

The TV company was there filming him watching the ice skating. Sean Wilson's expressions went from amazement to awe to raw fear, and that was just the Junior Dance he was watching!

The NJS (new judging system - PDF file) was used, at these nationals for the first time. I can't comment on that since I haven't a clue unless scores are compared with others.

Click here for the RESULTS of all sections, Primary, Junior & Senior - Men, Ladies, Pairs & Dance.

I was there for the last two days. I watched the ladies LP practice and the Men's, also the OD and FD practise. Of the competition, I saw the Primary Pairs - there were no junior pairs, and the Senior Pairs, of which there was only one. Stacey Kemp and David King - Stacey landed a high and far thrown 3 loop which I saw her land last year - are the senior pairs champions. This is promising for GBR as we've had no pairs at international level since Tiffany Sfikas and Andrew Seabrook in 2002.


Here is a newspaper article about them ~ Kemp & King article


Jenna McCorkell (our senior lady champion for last 3 years) did not compete due to a back injury, although she was there, at the arena, supporting her friends, and looking well.

She is usually one of the highlights for me, and I missed her not being there to skate!

The title of Senior Ladies went to Vanessa James (18) who skated in Washington, USA.

Here is her bio:

British Championships 2005 - Gold Medallist.

When skated for U.S. - Junior -2005-06- Broadmoor Open - 9th place.

2003 -04 - Eastern Sectionals - 6th place finish, South Atlantic Regionals 4th place. Novice - 2003 - 4th place Liberty Championships, 8th South Atlantic Regionals,

2002 - Gold Medallist - Cherry Blossom Invitational Competition, Gold Medallist - Skate Wilmington Competition.

2001 - 8th Cherry Blossom Invitational Competition.

[ source ]

She skates well, very pleasant to watch, has a lovely flow, nice arm movements, but the triples didn't come off in the competition as well as in practise. She skated at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, briefly. Shoe, Gems and Joy know her and swear she's the best thing since sliced bread. My gut feeling is that had Jenna been skating, uninjured, she would have retained her title. Still, I hope Vanessa gets to go to Junior Worlds this year.


The Men

Always the most exciting for me. The minute they step on to the ice the atmosphere is charged with power. The egos and testosterone flying about is almost palpable. I love the speed and vigour of the men.

There were no triple axels although John Hamer was trying them in practise. He did two 2 axels in his LP. He almost landed one in practise, but the landing wasn't good. He retained his title.

In 2nd place, the highlight for me, was Thomas Paulson, whom I remember from primary level in 2002, thinking he had lots of potential. He had a good programme, some really good choreography, good basic skating and nice steps - but also very graceful and balletic. I hope photos of him will be available - he's grown his hair and wears a headband now. :)

David Hartley is lovely but I felt there was something lacking in his LP. He came third. There seems to be a big gap (which I don't really understand, but I didn't try to analyse it too much!) between his scores and Alex Wilde's who came 4th,.

I was really rooting for Nick Rigby who was turning out solid triples in practise. He skated with real passion and determination but just couldn't pull off the jumps. He seems to have built himself up more since I last saw him when he was off the ice with a groin injury - he looks very powerful and well muscled. I wish he could pull everything together and get on the podium.

Robert Murray was 6th. Simon Surridge in 7th gets the prize for the voidiest “out there” costume. I wish I had a photo of it. You must see it! His program was stopped by the tannoy announcing a warning (alarm triggered somewhere). His program to Beetlejuice was so weird that at first I thought it was part of his choreo!

This evacuation scenario happened two years ago at Sheffield - the whole stadium, skaters from the general public session complete with skates on, all the spectators, everyone, was evacuated out to the cold and damp for ages, right in the middle of the competition. Thank goodness we didn't have to do that this time. Simon got huge encouragement from the crowd when he had to start his program again at the 3 minute point. It may have done him a favour actually, as he was flailing before this happened.

Chris Tees, I'm afraid had a poor skate - not his usual standard.



Well I only go to watch Sinead & John in the Dance, but I like to watch Pippa Towler-Green and Phillip Poole aswell. I actually thought a couple of the Junior Dancers were better than one of the senior dancers, but I don't know if the experts would agree with me or not on that.

Kerr/Kerr's OD is fantastic. What can I say?

The FD had a couple of really scary moments. On the last lift, my heart was in my mouth when it didn't go to plan. Sinead told me there was a deduction for that as she put her foot down so it was an illegal element. There were 3.00 deductions but they still won by a country mile.

They also won a trophy for best performance at European Championships 2005, which they were presented with at the banquet afterwards.

The results of the Dance:





























Older photos of many of the skaters mentioned can be seen here:

The Banquet Titbits:

The banquet compared to last year was fantastic. The venue was quite splendid. There was a proper sit down meal with silver cutlery and silver service waiters/waitresses!

Joy and I are were seated with Stacy Kemp and David King, among others. She looked stunning in a red sparkly dress.

The disco afterwards was a success - the floor was never empty. I got my customary dances with Mr Kerr Senior. :)

Nick Rigby did a little break-dancing!

The floor was really slippy though. One young lady had just entered the banquet room and fell with a huge thud. It was a level 3 splat for sure. It made me think twice about dancing in high heels, I can tell you. Another woman fell down the stairs at the Ladies Room.

John Kerr and Mark Hanretty, who was 2nd in Junior Dance last year, (he wasn't competing in Junior Dance this year as he and his partner split up) dressed in national dress (kilt etc) did a sort of unique version of a highland dance on the stage, then loads of people joined them and the DJ had to tell everyone to get off the stage!

Robin Cousins (brother of Tristan Cousins) was there, and he said that Tristan had had a stress fracture, and that's why he wasn't competing. I hope he is fit for next season.

Jimmy Young (ice dance coach) was there. He is a disco diva too.

I hope Sally Stapleford turned a blind eye to all the alcohol intake.

That's it!


The End.


PS If anyone has a photo of Simon Surridge's LP costume, please please post it on AS message board!


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