WHEN Dancing on Ice returned to ITV after a four-year hiatus in 2018, pro Frankie Poultney was eager to put on her skates.
But she remained angry and disappointed when TV bosses auditioned the skaters for the role, before dropping her by email.
Three years later, in an exclusive conversation with Frankie, 48, and her husband David Seaman to mark their new roles as British Heart Foundation ambassadors, the former DOI star said the loss of her job at the television had made her life happier.
âThe show was really great for me for the first 10 years but when it came back there was a lack of communication,â she told The Sun.
âBut entertainment is really tough – one day you’re hot, the next you’re not.
âI was coming to the end of my career anyway and it was difficult to deal with not being a professional skater anymore because that had defined me since I was 10 years old.
âBut I’ve been on tour my whole life, living with two suitcases and working every Christmas and birthday, so being at home was a huge luxury to me.
âI loved this life at the time. But now being able to come home at night is a huge blessing and I probably appreciate it more than most, because I’ve never had that.
“I feel so lucky, because I have a great family situation and I have a great husband.”
At the time of the ax, Frankie – who met former goalie David, 58, through the show – slammed the bosses for ditching the pros with the same email, calling him “disrespectful and derogatory â.
She also said the treatment was “heartbreaking” because she “lived and breathed the spectacle.”
But speaking at their Berkshire home, Frankie – who laughingly describes herself as “small and greedy” – says she has put the row behind her, even though she no longer watches the show.
âI’m not really the type of person who sits down and says ‘oh ok’,â she said.
âAnyone who knows me would say I’m a force of nature, but I’m always fair. There have been a lot of mismanaged situations, but people move on.
âThe transition was difficult, not being able to say ‘I’m a professional skater’. But I’m 48 for god’s sake, I can’t say that for the rest of my life.
“No one wants to see a middle aged woman in Lycra panties on TV on a Sunday night.”
The couple – who are presenting a gong at the Heart Hero Awards tonight – met in 2007, when Frankie teamed up with David’s boyfriend Lee Sharpe in his freshman year in Dancing On Ice, a year after his own. passage in the series.
But the romance blossomed a year later on the show’s live tour.
âThe attraction was there right away, as it should of course – and that attraction is still there right now,â David explains gently.
Both born in Yorkshire, the couple, who married in 2015, radiate warmth and affection for each other, with easy laughs and jokes punctuating their conversation.
âEveryone loves David when they first meet him,â Frankie says. âHe has such an infectious laugh. He’s so funny all the time. He is always happy.
“We’re both from South Yorkshire – he’s from Rotherham and I’m from Sheffield – so we connected at that level and found we had a lot in common, because we’re both athletes, we have both toured our entire lives, and we have the same sense of humor.
âWe are so lucky to have found each other. “
“We are so lucky to have found each other”
After 13 years, the couple managed to keep the flame alive and say spending more time together during the lockdown was a blessing.
âWe make each other laugh every day and have a good time together,â says David.
âDuring the lockdown, we had a fantastic time starting house projects, a lot of crafts, and I even learned how to make sourdough. “
Frankie, David’s third wife, is proud of the relationship she has with her grandchildren Dan, 35, Thomas, 33, Georgina, 20 and Robbie, 19.
âI’m really lucky to have such a great relationship with my stepchildren because I know that sometimes stepfamilies can be a difficult dynamic,â she says.
âThe older ones were adults when I first met them and the two youngest went from eight and nine to adults during that time. They all have moms so they never needed me to be a second parent in their life.
“But I sleep well at night, knowing that they would say I always treated them with respect and welcomed them into the house with open arms.”
Tragedy behind supporting heart charity
Now both retired from their respective sports, the couple spend much of their time doing charitable work, including long-term involvement with the British Heart Foundation and the charity’s Heart Hero Awards.
The annual ceremony, held virtually this year, is hosted by the BHF to recognize and honor incredible people.
From researchers and doctors to brave children who have battled dangerous heart disease, this year’s Heart Hero Awards celebrate those who have supported BHF during the pandemic, which the charity says has been the toughest time of their 60 years of history.
Their support for the association grew out of personal experience and tragedy, in particular the death of Sir David Frost’s son Miles at the age of 31.
Arsenal legend David, a close friend of the late broadcaster and his family, was devastated when Miles collapsed and died of undiagnosed heart disease while running near his Oxfordshire home in 2015.
The tragedy came two years after the legendary broadcaster died of a heart attack at age 74 while aboard the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship.
âMiles and his brothers George and Will were three young boys who were enjoying life and Miles was in great shape and training for a marathon at the time,â says David.
âHe died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and if that had been diagnosed he would still be here.
âWe want to raise more awareness and get more people to check it out because sometimes you don’t feel anything, and then all of a sudden it happens.
“That and Christian Erikson’s collapse from euro cardiac arrest this summer made it clear that it can happen to anyone, no matter how young and fit you are.”
David met the talk show host, an avid Arsenal fan, after saving three penalties in a shootout against Sampdoria and being a guest on his TV show the next day.
He is the godson of Sir David’s youngest son, George, and close to his widow, Lady Carina.
âTheyâre a brilliant family and theyâve been through a lot,â he says.
“I don’t know how they coped with two massive bereavements in the family. I guess you are learning to live with it, but they will never forget Miles.”
To help overcome their grief, the family created the Miles Frost Fund, under the auspices of the BHF, and raised millions for research and testing.
The fund helped roll out a program to test the family members of anyone who died in the same condition as Miles, who was previously unavailable. They helped find the fault in a 14-year-old boy who saved his life.
Heart fear as a young footballer
The couple suffered heart attacks themselves, with David developing an irregular heartbeat at 38, while still a professional player, and Frankie was diagnosed with a leaky heart valve in his forties.
“I started having heartbeats and palpitations but I was lucky because I spoke to Arsenal medics and they made sure everything was sorted out,” he said.
âI had an operation where they tried to freeze part of your heart, which sounds really traumatic, but it’s not as painful as it looks. I was awake when this was happening.
âIt reset the heart for a little while, then it came back to an irregular rate and my surgeon said there were risks to try again. But it’s completely controlled by medication, so that doesn’t stop me. not to do anything.
Frankie, who was born with a minor heart defect, now has regular checkups but has not needed surgery.
As retired athletes, both know the importance of exercise and a heart-healthy lifestyle – Frankie has taken Wu Shu, a form of Kung Fu, on lockdown and David is an avid cyclist, who rides for two or three hours at a time.
He has also done numerous charity bike tours, including a 100 mile run from London to Brighton for the Foundation.
âHe couldn’t walk for about three days after that,â laughs Frankie. “But he was styling the Lycra.”
Looking forward to tonight’s awards show, Frankie says she wants to recognize all of the incredible work that medical teams and researchers are doing to advance the treatment of heart disease and the like.
âFundraising has been so difficult because of COVID, so getting research funding is more important than ever,â she says.
âThe association funds such incredible work and has helped develop life-saving treatments such as stents, but they also do a lot of research into the vascular problems that cause dementia and strokes.
âThe awards mean a lot to us because they celebrate ordinary people who are normally unrecognized, from scientists and fundraisers to people with heart disease, and they cover people from all walks of life. “
To watch the Heart Hero Awards, visit the British Heart Foundation website.