Is there any soap rivalry between you?
Matt: “There’ll probably be a little bit on the show, but Samia’s lovely so not really.”
Samia: “Oh God no, nothing like that. Matt’s really funny. He’s the naughty one of the group!”
Emmerdale stars, past and present, have won four times (Gaynor Faye, Suzanne Shaw, Hayley Tammadon and Matthew Wolfenden). EastEnders has one win with Sam Attwater. Do either of you feel up to adding to your soap’s tally…?
Samia: “Emmerdale have won four times?! But Gaynor [who also starred in Corrie, of course] or Suzanne weren’t actually in it when they won were they? [Laughs] So I’m saying they have won twice so I’m not as pressurised – only joking!”
Matt: “I think Walford could step up! I’m going to represent EastEnders the best I can. Hopefully they’ll be pleased with me…”
So why did you decide to take part in Dancing on Ice?
Matt: “For the last year and a half people have seen me as Antony Moon. So it was the chance to show people who the real Matt Lapinskas is.”
Samia: “I’ve been on Coronation Street for 13 years and I turned 30 last year and so I thought: ‘I’m in the right place to do it, it’s now or never really’. My daughter Freya [who’s three] loves the show and next year she’s starting school so I wouldn’t want to be away from her or busy working then, so it’s a really good year for me to do it.”
Neither of you have skated before. How are you finding training?
Matt: “It’s hard work. But the more I’m training and pushing myself, the better I’m getting so I’m enjoying it. The basics have been hardest to learn as the professionals make it look so easy. But the lifts have come quite easy because I’m partnered with Brianne Delcourt, so it’s literally like picking up a feather. Off-ice, we did all the lifts straightaway, but transferring them onto ice, I nearly dropped Brianne three or four times, which was scary.”
And how about you, Samia?
“I didn’t have any preconceptions on how difficult or easy it would be as I’d never skated before so it was going to be hard. It’s frustrating more than anything because you want your feet to do what the coaches’ feet do and they just don’t!”
Any bumps and bruises?
Samia: “Yes, I’ve had concussion and whiplash as I fell on my head a few days after meeting my partner Sylvain Longchambon. I had an operation on my wrist in August and wear a wristguard so I was conscious not to fall on it. And because of that I didn’t put my hands out, and fell straight on the back of my head on the ice. Within 10 minutes I got back on the ice, but later that day, whilst filming Corrie, I was still feeling a bit weird so they sent me to hospital.”
Matt: “I’ve fallen on my head a couple of times and sort of bounced back off the ice.”
Are your respective pro-partners good teachers?
Matt: “Brianne’s brilliant. We have great chemistry and laugh constantly.”
Samia: “Sylvain’s patient, strong and got a good sense of humour. I couldn’t ask for any more.”
And are you good students?
Samia: “He says I’m a good pupil because I don’t get cross and I just trust that he knows better than me so I don’t argue with him.”
Matt: “I’m terrible! I’m always being told to focus.”
Dancing on Ice is broadcast live. Does that add to the nerves?
Samia: “This is far worse than live Corrie. I’d rather do live Corrie every day for a year than this as at least I know what I’m doing there; this is completely alien to me.”
Matt: “On the outside, I’ll look confident but inside, it’s butterflies. I’ll probably be sick but hopefully not on the ice…”
It takes a lot to thaw the Ice panel. Are you scared of facing the judges?
Samia: “I’ve already told Jason Gardiner how nervous I am about facing him. I told him to go easy on me, but I don’t think he will.”
Matt: “I’m going to give as good as I get! I can take constructive criticism, but we’re doing it because we want to do it and are training hard, so if Jason puts the boot in then I’ll have to go over and say something to him or there will be some words said backstage. A bit of banter is always good fun.”
Samia, your cobbles colleagues Chris Fountain (Tommy Duckworth) and Andy Whyment (Samia’s on-screen brother Kirk Sutherland) previously took part. Are they giving you advice?
“Yes loads, and Chris has been doing a few lifts with me in the Corrie greenroom and Andy keeps checking that I’m all right and not too tired.”
Who’s supporting you in the audience
Samia: “My family will be in the audience. Freya’s still a bit young to sit through such a long show and whenever she sees me, she wants me. So if she sees me on the ice and starts crying, it’ll be so upsetting so for both our sakes, she’s going to stay at home and watch with her dad [Samia’s ex-husband Matt Smith].”
Matt: “My girlfriend Shona McGarty [Whitney Dean] is coming along, she’s really proud and excited for me. Tony Discipline who played my on-screen brother Tyler Moon is bringing his girlfriend Jacqueline Jossa, who plays Lauren Branning. David Essex [who played Antony and Tyler’s dad Eddie] wants to come and loads of my friends at EastEnders have asked so I’m going to try to get them all down.”
And finally, are you looking forward to wearing all the sequin-laden costumes?
Samia: “Bring it on! I never thought I’d say this, but less is more. It’s the only time I’ll get to wear costumes like this in my career. I certainly won’t wear anything like this on Corrie.”
Matt: “I’m going to embrace it to the maximum and I’ll probably be the orangest out of everyone as [ex-TOWIE star] Lauren Goodger has promised to get me some men’s fake tan from her Lauren’s Way range. I’m up for being an Oompa-Loompa, I don’t mind!”