Strictly Come Dancing 2021: The full celebrity line-upDec 6 | 27 min read
7 Questions with… Dancing On Ice and Emmerdale star Joe-Warren Plant: ‘I get anxious and put too much pressure on myself’
The 18-year-old actor opens up about switching from the Dales to Dancing On Ice.
Joe-Warren Plant has been on our screens as Jacob Gallagher in Emmerdale for the last 10 years.
After dealing with a tough storyline in which Jacob was groomed by Maya Stepney, the young star has taken a short break from the soap… to put his skates on instead.
Joe-Warren spoke to BT.com about his chances on the glitzy ITV show and how he's found training amid Covid restrictions.
1. Are you feeling nervous?
I’m nervous, yeah. I think with these sorts of shows you can never not be nervous really. But I think sometimes it works in your favour. I’m just looking forward to getting started.
I just want to get started now, because with myself I tend to overthink things if I have a long build up to it. I get anxious and I put too much pressure on myself. I’m just raring to go now.
2. How are you getting on with your professional partner, Vanessa Bauer?
Vanessa’s great – we’re getting on really well. We’re dedicated to the show so we’re just trying to do our best. We’ve got to tell a story on the ice as well so I think it’s important for us to have good chemistry there.
She’s been so dedicated to helping me grow physically and mentally. It’s come at a perfect time for me really, Dancing On Ice. I think it’s been a tough year for us all so I’m in a very lucky position to get out there and train every single day and just have something to do.
She’s never not been in the final so there’s a little bit of pressure there to get her to that destination, but at the same time I’m just going to enjoy it and whatever happens will happen.
3. Who has been your favourite contestant on the show in previous years?
I think Perri [Kiely] – he’s my number one favourite. I’ve grown up being a Diversity fan and I love the dancing, the street dance side of things.
Perry was just phenomenal. I think he did an amazing job – both the skating aspect but also the storytelling and he set a really good example.
Obviously I cannot compare myself to him because he’s been doing dancing for years and years. But I think he has been my favourite contestant so far.
4. Have you spoken to any of the previous contestants and asked for advice?
Matthew [Wolfenden], who plays my dad on Emmerdale. He won it a few years back so I’ve been talking to him about it.
The advice he’s given me was to just enjoy it really. He said to me that you cannot downplay the amount of strength it’s going to take to endure this competition.
It’s very tough – not only physically but mentally as well. Luckily I’ve got the time off Emmerdale to purely focus on Dancing On Ice, but he was working at the time on Emmerdale and I remember him coming into set being absolutely shattered.
I’m just thankful to have the time off to really focus on Dancing On Ice and give it 100%.
5. Who do you think your biggest competition is?
To be honest, it could go any way. It really could. I haven’t seen much of other people skating, due to Covid.
We’re so focused on what we’re doing that we don’t really want to watch other people to be honest. I haven’t seen that much of people to give a decision on that, but we’ve got such an amazing line-up and I think everybody has got huge potential, so it could really go any way to be honest.
6. How safe have you felt so far, both in terms of Covid and the dangers of the show?
It’s been a weird year. I think we’ve all got a responsibility to stay as safe as possible. We don’t want to jeopardise the show. Obviously we want it to go ahead and bring some entertainment to those who are stuck at home.
With previous years on Dancing On Ice I can imagine it being very different. This year we don’t have the coaches to help us through certain steps and be there in case anything happens. So there has been a fear factor in the back of my mind.
You’ve got to know your limits on the ice and respect the ice really, and never get too comfortable with it because at the end of the day it is a very dangerous sport.
If I’m doing something that I’m proud of, I tend to race ahead and get a little bit too comfortable. Especially towards the end of the sessions when you get fatigue, that’s when the accidents can happen. So you’ve always got to take a moment to step back, rein it in and reset, and just think about what you’re doing really. But it has been scary!
7. Are you feeling apprehensive about the judges’ comments?
Criticism is the best form of training really – that’s the way you improve. I won’t be too bothered about anything they have to say. At the end of the day, they’re there to help me, so I can only take that away from it and go and just try and improve myself really.
I’d love to set a good impression, but whatever they say I’ll be fine with. I take criticism quite well, to be fair.
Dancing On Ice airs at 6pm on ITV from Sunday, January 17.