Emmerdale‘s Michael Parr has revealed he’s hit the gym hard in preparation for his scenes as his character, Ross Barton, enters the lethal world of bare-knuckle boxing.

Ross has taken up bare-knuckle fighting to pay off his debts to gangster Charlie, who wants payment and wants Ross to take a beating so her can win his money back by gambling on him.

Michael told What’s on TV he’d stepped up his usual fitness sessions in readiness. “I did hit the gym a little bit more than…”

Co-star Charley Webb (Donna) interjected: “A lot!”

Michael continued: “I did a little bit more than I usually do because, more because you feel a bit more paranoid than you usually do about getting your kit off in front of so many gawping girls, like her [points at Charley].”

The scenes feature on Emmerdale during the next fortnight.

Michael’s nominated as Best Actor at Saturday’s British Soap Awards in Manchester. Watch the interview filmed at Emmerdale village, above.