Claire Sweeney has defended her place on ITV’s Dancing on Ice having enjoyed a successful career performing on-screen and on-stage for decades.
The actor, singer and musical performer has a CV packed full of credits in several soaps, TV shows, pantomimes and musicals but ahead of Sunday’s second show of the series, Sweeney has insisted it plays no part in her Dancing on Ice preparations alongside pro skater Colin Grafton.
“I’m a complete novice, literally starting from scratch. I do go at Christmas but I tend to cling onto a penguin. I’m not very good,” Sweeney said of her ice skating ability.
She added to ITV: “I’ve just mastered going backwards, which I can’t believe. For me, that’s like winning the lottery, being able to skate backwards.”
When asked how she’d score herself, the Dancing on Ice star said: “I’d put myself at a two at the moment. I’m being honest.
“I’ve spent years faking it from the waist up. When I was in Chicago and other shows, I’ve faked it from the waist up for years but I don’t think you can do that with skating because you’ll be on your bum.
Claire Sweeney has been partnered with Colin Grafton for DOI
“I can make nice shapes from the waist up but it’s the feet down. At the end of the day, if you can’t get over the fear, that’s the hard part.”
Despite her protestations, Sweeney expects some critics who may feel her performing background will hold her at an advantage compared to other stars.
However, she’s insisted everyone’s in the same boat as she explained: “It’s like learning a new language.
“It doesn’t matter how many shapes you can make from the waist up, if you’re scared, and I’m not lying, I get scared but then something kicks in and I enjoy it. I just really want to enjoy it.
“My character Cassie, in Corrie, is so drab – I’m looking forward to wearing sequins and sparkles on a Sunday night. To me, it’s all about the music as well. We get great music and we get to get glammed up. It’s exciting and I learn a new skill too.”
Sweeney currently plays Cassie Plummer in ITV soap Coronation Street with her CV also boasting on-screen roles in Brookside, Benidorm, Doctors and The Good Ship Murder.
She also enjoyed five weeks of dance training for a Strictly Come Dancing stint in 2004.
When it comes to the stage, Sweeney’s has credits in Guys and Dolls, Tell Me Sunday, Legally Blonde: The Musical and Fosse among others.
Claire Sweeney is taking part in this year’s Dancing on Ice
Sweeney will be hoping she has what it takes to avoid meeting Ricky Hatton in the dreaded skate-off on Sunday evening.
At the moment, it’s Ryan Thomas who’s emerged as the leaderboard-topping celeb of the series so far with Amber Davies close behind in second – although her scores did spark a favouritism row among ITV viewers.
Sweeney will perform against remaining celebrity skates Miles Nazaire, Adele Roberts, Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, Lou Sanders and Ricky Norwood to see if any will knock Thomas off the top spot.
Holly Willoughby and Stephen Mulhern will be back to present the show after the former sparked concern with her “croaky” voice moments into the first episode of the series last week.