Family struggles, saving lives and leading roles ­ hunky Shayne's seen it all...

Pop star, pin-up and now soap star ­ these are just a few of the words to describe Shayne Ward. After winning The X Factor in 2005, the 30-year-old’s 10-year showbiz career has gone from strength to strength and he’s now preparing for the biggest role of his life as Aidan Connor in Coronation Street.

But none of these titles accurately describe the well-grounded, family orientated star. ‘I worship the ground she walks on,’ Shayne, 30, confesses to us about his mum Philomena, 58, following her second stroke
in six weeks.

And although his mum’s now in ‘high spirits’ once again, this isn¹t the only thing leaving Shayne battling with his emotions. Away from explosive scenes and storylines on the Corrie cobbles, he recently became an unlikely hero when he risked his own life after a motorway car crash to save the lives of a four-year-old girl and her dad. All in a day’s work…

Congratulations on your new role! How did it happen?
My name was associated with the show on Twitter from my fans and I just thought: ‘What the hell is this?’ The next day my management received an email from Corrie saying they’d like to see me for an audition and it just escalated from there.

What was it like when you first arrived on set?
The first time I walked down the cobbles was so surreal. I kept thinking: ‘I’ve watched this for years.’ They were filming a scene on the Street when I had my induction. I couldn’t stop looking around, saying: ‘Oh my God.’

Were you nervous?
I was so nervous because it¹s such a massive, massive deal. During my first scene I kept repeating in my head: ‘Just don¹t mess up your lines.’

Which of the cast have you really clicked with?
Everyone’s so relaxed and working with Alison King and Kym Marsh ­ who play my onscreen family ­ is such a dream. We’re planning a big cast night out soon.

Have they been offering you advice?
They’ve both been brilliant. They said: ‘Listen, if you want help reading through any of your lines let us know.’ I’m always asking them questions and taking notes on set. I bet they think I’m a big geek.

How have you prepared for the role?
I’ve been at the gym a lot and lost a bit of weight, but I’m not sure how much. When you’re on camera you do look a lot bigger. So I want to make sure my body’s in good enough condition in case I have to do a topless scene and they’re expecting Peter Andre-style abs.

Have you always been body conscious?
I just want to make sure that I’m comfortable when I’m delivering my lines and not thinking about how my body looks.

Have you had to whip your top off yet?
Not yet! I’ve actually asked the producers: ‘When am I going to get jiggy with someone?’ I’m a 30-year-old bloke ­ I can’t wait for some sex scenes!

Do you feel pressured at all about the public response?
Yeah, absolutely! I think I’m going to stay off Twitter when my first scenes air because you’re always going to get trolls, but I love the power of the block button. I’m just going to concentrate on working my arse off.

Why do you think Coronation Street keeps hiring pop stars?
[Laughs] I’m not sure, but Kym‘s done really well! I’ve heard people say, ‘Why do pop stars keep going into acting?’ But why shouldn’t they?

Sarah Harding received a mixed response for her recent cameo…
I haven’t spoke to her or seen her in a while. She filmed her scenes before I started, so there was no crossover on set. It’d be nice to see her in real life and find out how her experience was.

Read more in this week’s Now Magazine