As ITV go head to head with BBC for a Sports Relief rowing challenge, Corrie's Nicola Thorp reveals why she thinks EastEnders were too scared to compete!

Coronation Street’s Nicola Thorp, best known for playing murderer Phelan’s daughter, Nichola Rubenstein,  is getting ready to go into battle for ITV as part of Celebrity Rowing for Sport Relief.

Under the watchful eye of Olympic gold medal winners James Cracknell and Helen Glover she and her team will take on the BBC in the ultimate TV race.

Here Nicola, who has Emmerdale’s Chris Bisson and former TOWIE star, Ferne McCann in her rowing crew, talks training, teamwork and why she reckons rival soap EastEnders were too scared to compete!….

TV Times talks to Coronation Street star Nicola Thorp…

TVT: You’re so busy on Corrie, how will you fit in any training?

Nicola Thorp: “A friend of mine who’s a personal trainer is very impressed that I’ve met Sir Steve Redgrave and now wants to train me. I can’t lose. I’m representing Coronation Street now!”

TVT: Will the rest of the cast be there to cheer you on?

NT: “They’ve said they’ll come and watch and my mates from London will too. I’ll get a few of them out waving some banners.”

TVT: Are you confident?

NT: “I’m happy on water. Not so happy in it but that is the aim of being in a rowing boat – being in it! I’m not a particularly strong swimmer.”

Nicola with Ferne McCann while training

TVT: How are you enjoying rowing?

NT: “It’s an amazing sport. I’ve never had any experience of it before but the camaraderie and teamwork is amazing. If there was somebody on your team who you didn’t gel with, it just wouldn’t work.”

TVT: Are you sporty?

NT: “I’m all right but I’ve been a little bit lazy, especially since I’ve been pregnant on Coronation Street. I’ve seen it as an excuse not to go to the gym. Even though it’s just on the telly I’ve gone full method!”

TVT: Any pressure to get into shape?

NT: “It’s going to be like a high-pressure sports day so you want to be in a good state.”

TVT: Do you enjoy watching Sports Relief?

NT: “I’ve watched Comic Relief since I was a baby and Sports Relief since it started. It’s one of those nights in the year when my whole family watches TV together.”

TVT: What do you like about it?

NT: “What’s different about Sports Relief is it actually inspires people to get involved themselves. It makes people realise even the slightest thing will make a difference. There’s nothing I love more in terms of sportsmanship than seeing old ladies doing aqua-aerobics at the local swimming pool. That’s what’s good about sport – it’s all-inclusive.”

Nicola in her Corrie with the dreaded Phelan

TVT: Will you be nervous on the day?

NT: “I’m going to be very nervous. I do get very nervous before sporting stuff because I used to be an athlete. I used to run. I always felt sick before a race. Hopefully that won’t happen this time. It’s a BBC event though so I’m not convinced it hasn’t already been rigged!  There’s a lovely friendly rivalry but EastEnders didn’t bring anyone to the table. They were too scared!”

TVT: Is this harder than running?

NT: “Yes. When you’re sprinting or doing hurdles you only have yourself to think about whereas here you have to bear in mind every single other person in the boat, including the people behind you who you can’t see. You have to make sure the boat isn’t tipping too much. There’s so much more going on.”

TVT: How do you rate your chances?

NT: “I’ve got strength but I can be a little bit clumsy. That goes for every aspect of my life. But I’m determined to improve before the race!”

TVT: And what can we expect from you in Corrie?

NT: “Well the baby will be born at some point. It’s soapland so I doubt it’s going to be a straightforward pregnancy. And there’s the issue of what’s going to happen when Phelan’s uncovered. The whole country is watching with baited breath.”

Celebrity Rowing is part of Sport Relief Night on BBC1 on Friday March 23.

To donate go to www.sportrelief.com