DANCING On Ice stand-in Matt Richardson says he was about to quit showbiz until getting the call up for the show.
Comic and TV presenter Matt, 29, says COVIDiot Rufus Hound getting the boot for testing positive for coronavirus might have saved his career.
He said: “I was looking at a career change or to just leave the industry altogether, because it’s tough times.
“I am of a level where I’m on TV, but I’m not a big, huge name. It’s not like I’ve got stacks of cash lying around. I am currently skint because I’ve not worked a year.
“Dancing On Ice has been a career saver.”
Matt has been secretly training with skating pro Vicky Ogden for the past three months but never expected he would get to perform on the show – the second stand-in to get the nod this year after Olympian Amy Tinkler replaced crocked Denise Van Outen.
He said: “This was my last week of training. And it was really the last point that joining the cast was going to be an option, so it’s been a surprise, but a pleasant one.
“When I took the job, I was like, worst case scenario, I get paid to learn a skill. Best case scenario, I get on the show.”
He will immediately be thrust into the show, skating this weekend in the place of disgraced comedian Rufus, who we told had broken quarantine rules yesterday.
And he hopes he can emulate Strictly Come Dancing latecomer Kelvin Fletcher, who won the show after replacing injured Celeb Jamie Laing.
He added: “I’ve enjoyed it so much but have also been so jealous of the others because I’m there for the show and training at the studio every week.
“And then, last week, I went to watch the show. And because of Covid, they sat me on a table, by myself, about 100 metres from anyone else – masked up, not allowed a drink or anything.
“Everyone’s all sat there together chatting on the TV and everything, and I’m the loser in the corner. But finally, I’m part of the cool gang, I’m one of the gang!
“I would love to think I could do a Kelvin. I would love to win it. But I think if I was going to win it, it would be on personality – not on skill.”
Matt is dating stunning supermodel Sam Rollinson. The couple met in 2015 and now live together.
But the comic knows he is one lucky lad and cannot help but brag to have such a beauty on his arm.
He spilled: “As if I’m subtle about having a girlfriend who is a supermodel. When I’ve had a few drinks in the pub, I go, ‘Look, that’s her in that advert!’ It’s brilliant.
“For years, when I started doing comedy, I worked in Next for a really, really long time. And then, I kind of went away, kind of did comedy, got on telly, whatever.
“And then, Sam, a couple of years ago, was the Next girl. She was on the front of the book. And you’d go into Next, and there would be huge pictures of her all around Next.
“And I was back in my hometown in the Next I worked in and they’re like, ‘Oh my god mate, haven’t seen you for years, how’s life?’
“And, like an arsehole, I went, ‘Yes it’s alright, I live with her now,’ pointing at the picture.
“What a dickhead, but there we go. But because everyone is so English, they were just like ‘Oh yeah… you’re an arsehole.’
“But it is really cool because she is super successful, which I’m grateful for because she’s been supporting both of us for the last twelve months.”
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