Shayne Ward: “I was terrified when my first episode aired”

Shayne Ward was a bag of nerves when he won the part of fiery Aidan Connor in Coronation Street last summer. The 31-year-old former X Factor winner feared that no one would take him seriously as an actor, but six months later he’s claimed the NTA Best Newcomer award and is loving his character’s dramatic storylines. Here Shayne, who’s giving up chocolate for the month of March for the British Heart Foundation’s DECHOX campaign, talks to TV Times about Corrie and his X Factor memories…

Congratulations on your NTA Best Newcomer award. You must be thrilled

I really am. The award is now on my mum’s kitchen cabinet. Winning it has given me a big confidence boost; now I want to keep focused and compete for Best Actor.

Have you always wanted to act?

I have always loved performing, but as a young lad, I wanted to do tough roles, you know, gangs, army, prison – the kind of Guy Ritchie parts. My sister put me up for the TV talent show Popstars: The Rivals without telling me and I got down to the boot camp stage so singing seemed like a natural course to follow. I don’t have any formal acting training, but I’m from a big Irish family where everyone loves to entertain.

Did you worry that people wouldn’t take you seriously as an actor?

I was terrified when my first episode was aired, but I think that is natural when you come from a different part of the industry. I had to get over that straight away because at the end of the day, I had been hired by Coronation Street to do a job. Of course I worried a bit about the public and how they would percieve me, but they have been brilliant. Now when I am on set I feel that I really am Aidan, which is weird.

What’s in store for Aidan?

Well, as you know, they have a story about slavery at the moment. Eva is trying to help Marta and as a result, risks upsetting the O’Driscolls who have just gone into business with the factory. Eva is risking their relationship with the biggest client they have and that is where Aidan is going to have to make some real choices.

How do you feel about your time in The X Factor back in 2005?

I was only 21 and it all feels like a bit of a blur now. I believe everything happens for a reason and I learned so much. When you’ve sung on live TV on a Saturday night anything seems possible. There have been ups and downs since, but I did Dancing on Ice and War of the Worlds and now I’m on Corrie, which I never take for granted. I want to be like Lionel Blair and do a bit of everything and keep going.

Why are you taking part in DECHOX?

I was asked if I would give up chocolate and I guess I am a good choice because I eat around five or six bars a day. I am going to be toothless by the age of 60! I jumped at the chance because it was for the British Heart Foundation.

Tell us about the time you worked in a chocolate factory.

When I left school, I didn’t want to go to university or college, so I did lots of different jobs. I worked at a printers and a chocolate factory. That was early in 2000 and it was the one time I went off chocolate for a bit. I couldn’t even look at a Swiss roll because I’d be scraping it off the floor at 3am. I enjoyed the work though.

What do you think when you watch clips of yourself on The X Factor now?

I look so young. I see it a lot as my mum is so proud, she has X Factor nights just about every week. She has a load of friends round, makes foood and shows back-to-back episodes!