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60 Seconds with Ray Quinn

The actor/singer, 29, ponders his Brookside childhood, his swing comeback and his lead role in the new Summer Holiday musical tour

What are you up to in Summer Holiday?

I play Don, which is the Cliff Richard role — I’m all-singing and dancing. It’s like the film but we’re going all out with the dancing. It’ll be a big production. There’s romance, they’re on the bus, they’re trying to get work. It’s all about friendship and love and things people can relate to.

Do you drive the bus? Did you pass your test first time?

Yes, I’m driving the bus. I passed my test second time — I failed first time because I left my indicator on and I had wrong positioning in the road.

You started in showbiz when you were very young…

I started when I was three. I was always singing and dancing and copying people on Top Of The Pops, and my mum decided to take me to dance lessons. I started doing disco, then it was Latin and ballroom, then tap, jazz, street dance and salsa. The first time I went, I screamed the place down as it was full of girls. I was the only boy for five years. As I got older I went to acting lessons. I’ve done every type of dancing, including morris dancing. That was for a BBC drama. I was playing a troubled teenager who was embarrassed his dad was a morris dancer. At the end I did a morris dance to show him I loved him.

First job: Ray in Brookside

Should Brookside come back?

One hundred per cent yes. Why shouldn’t it? It was my first job. I was eight years old. I learned some tricks of the trade from some fantastic actors and actresses — and I won four awards. One was the British Soap Award for best dramatic performance. Back then there was no separate category for young actors so I was competing against adults. I was only ten and I won — that was for the storyline where I killed the person who was bullying my character. It was quite dark. They got my mum to come in and they talked through the storyline because I was only young. It was a big achievement to win that.

Were you there when the flesh-eating virus hit the Close?

No, I think that must have been before me. I was there for the last five years of the show. I still see people from the show: Dean Sullivan, Jennifer Ellison — she’s running her own dance studio now — Philip Olivier, Claire Sweeney. I’m back living in Liverpool so I see them all quite regularly, which is nice.

At ten, I won an award for the plot where I killed the person who was bullying my character. It was quite dark

Who have you learned the most from in your career?

Neil Caple, who played my dad on Brookside. He told me acting is all about reacting. Bernie Nolan played my mum — unfortunately she’s no longer with us. She was like a second mum to me. I’m best mates with her nephew Shane. I worked with them more or less every day for five years and they were unbelievable — I loved working on that show.

Did you ever consider giving up showbiz?

No. I can’t do anything else. I did a barbering course when I was studying musical theatre at college. That comes in useful. I was cutting people’s hair on the Dancing On Ice tour.

You do photo shoots without your top on. How often do you go the gym?

At the moment I haven’t been going at all because I’ve just done the Dancing On Ice tour then I’ve gone straight into rehearsals for Summer Holiday. Hopefully the skating has kept me fit. Normally I go three times a week minimum and I watch what I eat but that doesn’t happen when I’m on tour because you have to eat when you can.

Like a second mum: Bernie Nolan

Your stint on The X Factor launched you as a swing singer. Would you want to do another album?

Absolutely. I want to do another swing album and I’m getting a band together for a small UK tour. I’d love to get an album out for Christmas. I want to go back to swing and do what I do best and feel comfortable doing.

You self-financed your last album. Would you do that again?

I would. If you believe in something enough, you’ll do whatever it takes. The last album was a pop album. It was an idea at the time, I went for it and loved doing it. With this one, we shall see what happens.

What lessons has your career taught you?

Take work whenever you can, enjoy it, always put 110 per cent in and if you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail. If you put all your concentration and effort into something you will usually get good results.

The Summer Holiday UK tour starts at the Liverpool Empire on May 8.