SHE has been the Dancing On Ice favourite throughout the accident-prone series, but Faye Brookes has been left black-and-blue behind-the-scenes.
The former Coronation Street actress, 33, has revealed that the gruelling ice-skating rehearsals have left her covered in bruises and hand prints from her male pro partners and the pressure has taken its toll on her emotionally, too.
But the determined star has vowed to stop crying on screen and enjoy tomorrow night’s finale as she goes up against radio presenter Sonny Jay, 27, and retired Olympian Colin Jackson, 54.
Faye, who this week announced she has landed her “dream role” as Roxie Hart in Chicago when the musical tours the UK later this year, opened up about her tough journey on the ice.
She said: “I have never been so sore in all of my career. I’ve never pushed my body to this kind of limit. I don’t think I’m going to miss the bruises and I’ve scratched my hands on the ice.
“One of my legs, the one we tend to use for the male to grab for lifts, while the other leg is all pretty and pointed, that leg basically has paw prints all the way down the back of my hamstring.
“Each day I’m going home and soaking in the bath with all of the salts I have. I’ve been bathing twice a day. I’m like a lady of leisure now.
“I wake up in the morning so stiff I have to have a quick dunk with all the magnesium salts just to get me moving. Then it’s up, stretch and go.”
‘I FELT LIKE I HAD NOTHING LEFT IN THE TANK’
It has been one of the toughest series yet, with bosses having to pull the show off air for one week last month due to multiple health scares and injuries to contestants.
Producers were struggling to fill the scheduling gap after Towie’s Billie Shepherd, presenter Denise Van Outen and singer Jason Donovan injured themselves during rehearsals and actor Joe-Warren Plant and comedian Rufus Hound tested positive for coronavirus. All five had to be permanently withdrawn from the competition.
While Faye has miraculously managed to escape serious injury herself, her skating partner Hamish Gaman, 37, had to be dramatically replaced last month by show veteran Matt Evers, 44, after Hamish broke his finger off the ice.
Manchester-born Faye, who played lesbian factory worker Kate Connor on the cobbles, admitted she had been overwhelmed with messages of support from childhood pals since competing on Dancing On Ice.
She said: “You just don’t know how much that means when you’re on such an unpredictable journey.
“That’s what this is. The ice is so unforgiving, you don’t know where the public are going to sit or the judges, and to get that support is everything.
I knew it was going to be tough but
I didn’t realise how tough. It has been the best experience ofmy life
“I’ve felt every emotion going on this show — I’ve felt frustrated, I’ve felt like I’ve got nothing left in the tank and then gone on to do my best per- formance. I’ve been hysterical, exhausted.
“Above all, I’ve got to be part of the 13th series and to make history with the show.
“For the first time ever, I’m in a show where I’m being me and not a character.
“Friends and family are telling me, ‘We love that we’re seeing you, just Faye’.”
The actress, who has previously admitted that the “cut-throat” showbiz industry left her feeling insecure, confessed that performing live on telly each week had helped her.
She said: “I’ve never had the confidence to just be me before. When you’re playing a character it’s like you have a protective wall, and I’ve learnt to let that go. And that is huge. That’s something I will take with me through life.”
Faye rose to fame dating Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates, 36, her co-star in Legally Blonde: The Musical.
They broke off their engagement in 2019 and she is now dating personal trainer Joe Davies, who she lives with in Manchester.
How dauntingto come up with a Bolero knowingthat you have gotto perform it infront of Torvill and Dean?
She said: “Joe’s there with a foot rub at the end of the day.”
There is no doubt Faye, who finally achieved a perfect score of 40 last week after viewers claimed she had been “undermarked” throughout the series, has worked hard — but she wants to stop the waterworks.
She said: “I had a moment yesterday where I got to look back at my best bits and the team had put together these lovely messages from my family and friends to say good luck for the final. Two minutes into the video I was just a mess. I don’t think I’ve fully recovered. And I said I need to stop crying.
“All the viewers keep seeing is me crying.
“However, I must say that this experience has been the best thing that I have ever done. I’ve fallen in love with everyone. I can’t not see me keeping in touch with everybody and certainly taking on this skill I have learnt.
“I have been given a gift. You don’t get that anywhere else.”
Faye is determined to keep skating even when she is on the road with Chicago, which is set to star Sinitta and drag queen Divina De Campo.
IT’S GOING TO BE A FULL-ON SPECTACLE
She said: “I knew Dancing On Ice was going to be tough but I don’t think I realised how tough and I didn’t think that I would love it this much.
“There’s a mutual feeling among the contestants that if you’ve had a bit of time off and step on the ice you’ll feel like you’ve forgotten how to skate. For someone like me, who has had so much crammed in in a short space of time to learn a lifelong skill, well, you’re going to have to keep it up. I don’t want to lose it because I know what it feels like to properly skate now.
“I’m definitely going to have to keep in touch with all the coaches and the pros — because I’ll be asking them for a tip or two.”
Tomorrow night Kate and Matt will perform to Swan Lake, Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and, of course, judges Jayne Torvill and Chistopher Dean’s famous Bolero routine, which won the skaters gold at the 1984 Winter Olympics.
She said: “I’m the last girl standing, of course I’m going to put that in it. It’s going to be a full-on spectacle.
“How daunting is it to come up with a Bolero knowing that you’ve got to perform it in front of Torvill and Dean? I keep saying I’ll be nervous, but I think it will be different nerves.
“Chris said to us the other day, ‘Imagine that someone is peeking in to something they shouldn’t be seeing’, because when they performed it at the Olympics you could hear a pin drop. It was as if you were looking at something very private. I thought that’s really interesting to give us that piece of advice.
“Matt and I want to stay connected the whole time. I don’t think we’re ever not touching throughout. We have fluidity throughout the piece and we try to skate as one.
“We just want to capture Torvill and Dean’s magic, even if it is just for a minute.”
Out in blades of glory?
Occupation: Former Olympic hurdler
Skating partner: Klabera Komini, 27
Journey: Colin blasted claims he had an unfair advantage after taking part in Strictly Come Dancing in 2005. He said: “Dancing On Ice is way harder than Strictly, the jeopardy of being on the ice is always there.”
He has twice survived being eliminated after finding himself in the bottom two acts.
Occupation: Stage star and former Coronation Street actress
Skating partner: It was orginially Hamish Gaman, 37, but he left following a hand injury. She is now paired with Matt Evers, 44.
Journey: Faye has consistently had high scores, but a low point came when she was caught on camera cheering when skating rival Rebekah Vardy’s routine went wrong.
Occupation: Capital FM DJ
Skating partner: Angela Egan, 34
Journey: Made an impressive start, finishing second on the leader board, getting to the top in week six. He has suffered minor thumb injuries after a series of lifts in rehearsals. His highlight was movie week, where he performed as Popeye to sea shanty Wellerman.
- The Dancing On Ice Finale is on ITV tonight at 6pm.
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