By Tom Dare

CELEBRITIES COMPETING in this year’s Dancing on Ice competition have been put to shame this week – as footage from the 1960s of an ice-skating chimp has emerged to show maybe there’s not that much to it after all.

The video, taken in 1962 as part of a newsreel clip, shows Berlin-based chimp Archie gliding over the ice as a group of revellers look on in wide-eyed amazement.

Public Domain /


Archie shows off an array of tricks in the short one-minute long clip, including skating backwards, hurdling over obstacles, spinning on the spot and leading a ten-strong conga ling of fellow skaters across the ice.

The clip has resurfaced this week as British celebrities continue to compete on ITV’s revamped ‘Dancing on Ice’, which has returned after a four-year break for the tenth series of the hit show.

Public Domain /


This week saw Hollyoaks star Stephanie Waring eliminated in the skate-off after judges opted to save pop star Lemar for the second week in a row, with the singer outlasting Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown last week.

Public Domain /


The pop star has visibly struggled so far in the competition this year, as have several other stars. They could clearly learn a thing or two from circus performer Archie, who performed as part of the Berlin circus throughout the 1960s for hundreds of adoring spectators. The reporter who covered the story at the time explained how the chimp became involved in ice-skating:

“You see they have this chimp, they have an extra pair of skates. It’s a matter of simple addition, they decided to teach the tree-swinger to swing on skates, and he got right in the groove.

Public Domain /


“At that, he skates better than a lot of people we know. With the crowd present, he jumps at a chance to show off.

“Who’s better suited to lead a conga line? I’ll say one thing for Archie, he’s a gay blade with quite a line.”