As the youngest ever contestant on celebrity Dancing on Ice, Joe-Warren Plant certainly has his work cut out.
The Blackpool teen, who plays Jacob Gallagher in Emmerdale is following in the footsteps of his on-screen dad.
The 18-year-old plays the son of David Metcalfe – who is played by 2012’s ice-dance winner Matthew Wolfenden, 40.
Joe-Warren says: “The fact Matthew won Dancing On Ice definitely adds to everyone’s expectations.”
The star, who has been training for three months ahead of his debut tomorrow night, adds that Matthew offered some veteran’s advice- reports The Mirror.
He said: “He has told me to enjoy it, that it’s the best way to get the most out of myself. He also told me not to underestimate the strength and the dedication I was going to have to put into the show.
“When people say yes to Dancing on Ice they don’t know how hard it is until they start training and go: ‘Wow, what have I got myself into here?’
“I’ve loved every minute of it so far. What an opportunity it is. If I can come out of this and say I can ice skate comfortably that’s the job done really.
“It’s a bonus if I somehow win it.”Emmerdale star Joe Warren-Plant
Joe-Warren, who has been in Emmerdale since 2010, was recently part of a harrowing storyline in which Jacob was groomed by his teacher.
Jacob’s abuser Maya Stepney, played by Louisa Clein, was later jailed and Joe-Warren was praised for his performance as the schoolboy victim.
He was then at the centre of a teenage pregnancy scandal with Leanna Cavanagh, played by Mimi Slinger.
Following his gruelling plotlines, the Blackpool actor said he is very happy at the soap but admits he is also relishing his six-month break to be on DoI.
He says: “I love Emmerdale and having people come up to you and say your storylines have helped them, or their friends, that just makes me so happy because that’s why I do it.
“But it’s been great to do something more uplifting like Dancing On Ice.(Image: ITV)
“It is also nice for people to get to know me more. People always call me Jakey or Jacob. Every time I’m in the street and I hear: ‘Jacob’ I think they must be talking to me but sometimes I turn round and they’re not.”
The actor, who smiles constantly on our video chat, often gets comments about his “moody” character.
“People come up to me in the street and go: ‘Why don’t you smile for a change?’” he says.
“I do smile, I’m quite a happy bloke to be honest so it would be nice to get that across to people.”
Joe-Warren’s professional skating partner is the equally smiley Vanessa Bauer, 24.
Reports have suggested the pair are romantically linked, with Joe-Warren having split from his long-term love, model Nicole Hadlow, last month.
But Joe-Warren says: “There’s nothing going on between us. People do jump to conclusions – it’s part of the job and I knew it was going to happen.
“It doesn’t bother Vanessa and it doesn’t bother me. Vanessa’s great, she’s so dedicated to the show.
“Judging by her track record – she’s never not been in the finals – she knows what she’s doing. We’re both quite competitive so that works in our favour.”
Joe-Warren is dedicated to his training, practising his routine in his kitchen and checking his lines in his bedroom mirror.
He says he is the fittest he has ever been despite the Covid lockdown putting a stop to his formerly active lifestyle.
He says: “I used to play football quite regularly but I’ve hardly played any in the past year due to Covid.
“I found myself slipping into an unhealthy routine, I was eating a lot of junk food and I wasn’t really looking after myself. Dancing on Ice came about and I was like: ‘Right, now it’s time to get fit.’
“I’ve noticed physical changes in my body, I’m not the strongest person at all but if I’m going to attempt those big lifts I’m going to have to get that strength behind me. It’s great to be physically fit because that affects you mentally as well. People don’t realise that working out is a really good form of meditation.”
Joe-Warren will be skating against celebrities including former Corrie star and early favourite Faye Brookes.
Others include model Rebekah Vardy, singer Jason Donovan and Olympic hurdler Colin Jackson.
Joe-Warren says of them: “It’s an amazing line-up and everyone has the potential to do well.
“I saw Faye skating briefly today, a fellow soap star from up North. I stood there in awe a little bit – she’s very, very good.
“She’s definitely one to watch.”
This week former Olympic skier Graham Bell had to pull out of his debut performance this weekend when his partner Yebin Mok was injured.
In a freak accident, the blade of Bell’s ice skate stabbed her in the shin.
Rebekah Vardy’s partner Andy Buchanan is also recovering after she sliced his face with her skate.
Joe-Warren, who was nearby at the time, says the incident brought home the risks involved in ice dancing.
He says: “We were skating on the main rink and Yebin and Graham were on the practice rink. All of a sudden we heard a crash and knew something had happened. We were standing there in shock for 20 minutes. That’s when it really starts to sink in. We’ve got blades on the bottoms of our feet and it’s so dangerous.”
But despite the danger, Joe-Warren says he would love to do a big overhead lift or the famous headbanger move if he progresses far in the contest.
And he can’t wait to get dressed up in some of the glitzy skating costumes.
He says: “I love fancy dress parties so I can’t wait to see what they’ve got in store for me. Being able to jump into a new character takes the pressure off.”
The actor insists he will take any negative feedback in his stride.
“Criticism is the best way to improve your skills so whatever the judges say, I’m not going to take it to heart.
“I just want to get going and bring a bit of magic to the TV because there’s a lot of people stuck at home who can’t get out.”
He adds: “Hopefully they will have something to look forward to every week.”
- Dancing On Ice begins tonight at 6pm on ITV.