Tom Milner's best known for playing bad boy Paul Langley in Waterloo Road - but he’s about to go head to head in The Voice UK battle rounds to win a place in his coach Ricky’s final eight! Here, he tells What's On TV about his brotherly bond with Ricky and how he's been getting plenty of support from his Waterloo Road cast mates…
What made you decide to audition for The Voice UK?
"Family and close friends have suggested a talent show like this for years and I’ve even applied a couple of times before, but at the last moment I've always chickened out! Then this year I decided to bite the bullet. I've not given up on acting, but it’s nice for people to get to know the real me. Although I'm nothing like Paul Langley, I do have a cheeky side to me!
Ricky turned his chair really quickly for you at the blind auditions… what’s he like as a coach?
"He’s a Yorkshire lad like me so the banter has been brilliant! With him what you see on the telly is what you get in real life – he’s a great lad and so down to earth. It’s funny because we’re both from Yorkshire, we both sing, I used to be the front man in a band at school and we’re both fond of a waistcoat. It was like, ‘hang on, are we actually brothers?’"
Were you a fan of the Kaiser Chiefs?
"Yes. When I was growing up it was either Arctic Monkeys or the Kaiser Chiefs, but I was greedy and liked them both! I actually first met Ricky years ago at a celebrity event where the Kaiser Chiefs were headlining, so it’s weird to get to know him and actually work with him!"
You’re singing a big song in the battles against fellow contestant Brooklynne Richards. How are you preparing for it?
"I've got to really give it my all. It's a battle at the end of the day – and against someone completely different to me, who's an awesome singer. I’ve just got to give everything, and as long as I come away knowing I’ve done all I possibly can then I’ll be happy. I’ve just got to hope that Ricky chooses me."
Has Ricky given you any advice?
"He knows how scary it is to get up on that stage and sing, but he told me to just enjoy the ride and that's probably the best piece of advice I’ve had."
You look really different now. Do people still recognise you from your Waterloo Road days?
"Whenever they do I always end up thinking, right I need to go for a haircut and lose some weight! Me and Ricky were having a bit of banter about that the other day – about how we both used to be a bit chubby and had long hair. Now we've both totally changed and we wear waistcoats!"
Tom Milner as Paul Langley in Waterloo Road
What are your favourite memories of being in Waterloo Road?
"There are so many! I'd love to live it again because back then I didn't realise how lucky I was. But Paul was also a tough character to play at such a young age. He had some deep storylines."
What’s life been like since?
"People think that when you’re not on the telly you’re not working, but I’ve been busy trying out different avenues. I've been doing a lot of musical theatre – I had the lead role in a musical called Water Babies and I did a show called Soho Cinders in London, which was a remake of Cinderella."
Are you still in touch with your former cast mates?
"Yes. I still text Neil Morrissey for advice – he’s a great person to have in your phone contacts! And Eva Pope as well. I've had a few texts from them offering me support for The Voice and a few messages from Chelsee Healey as well. They’ve all been great."
Let battle commence! The Voice UK battle rounds start on Saturday 27 February at 7.00pm on BBC1.
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