Jane Danson has said she was encouraged to take part in Dancing On Ice by her Coronation Street co-star Samia Ghadie.
The actress will be partnered with Ghadie’s husband and professional skater Sylvain Longchambon, who is already a friend of hers.
Longchambon and Ghadie met when the soap star competed in the 2013 series of the ice dancing competition.
Danson said: “I’m really close to Samia, Samia is one of my best friends, and she said ‘It’s really hard, you will be tired, but you’ve got to do it’, and she really encouraged me to do it.
“So, as all my friends have done it, I thought ‘they have been through the same process that I’m going to do’, so they have been really supportive and that helps and it makes you think you can do this.”
Danson, 40, said the fact she and Longchambon are friends has helped with the foundations of their working relationship but added: “We do know each other, but we are getting to know each other in a dancing quantity and I’m not a trained dancer so it is quite difficult, and obviously he is a trained dancer so it comes so naturally to him.
“It is like being back at school and just because we are friends, he’s not going easy.”
She said there is no awkwardness between them about the physical nature of the dancing, saying: “As actors we are so used to being in close proximity to other people and when you’re dancing all you’re thinking about is ‘oh my god, is my leg straight, are my shoulders down, is my neck long, am I doing the right move? Point your toes!’
“You are are so busy thinking about the moves.”
Danson, who first appeared in Coronation Street as Leanne Battersby in 1997, said the show has offered up an “absolute personal challenge” for her.
She said: “I’ve been in Coronation Street for such a long time, always playing someone else and I’ve got two children who are now at an age where they may be a bit more independent and I’ve got a little bit more time for me, and I am always telling them to try new things and seize every opportunity that comes up.”
She added: “I just thought ‘They might never ask me again and I will be gutted!'”
Dancing on Ice starts on ITV on Sunday, January 6.