Ray Quinn on working as a carpet fitter in the pandemic after his gigs were cancelled

At the height of his fame he was watched by 12.6million viewers in the final of The X Factor.

But last year singer Ray Quinn swapped the red carpet for underlay – after his shows were cancelled because of the pandemic.

The 33-year-old, who was runner-up to Leona Lewis on the 2006 series of the ITV talent show, worked as a Hermes delivery driver and joined his brother Robin working for his carpet-fitting business.

Father-of-one Ray, who also won ITV’s Dancing On Ice in 2009 and the All-Stars series in 2014, trained as a carpet fitter, and he was happy to get his hands dirty during lockdown.

“It was more about the boredom and getting out there and doing something,” he said.

“I’m usually out there gigging and I didn’t want to be just twiddling my thumbs.

“All my family have been carpet fitters. My brother offered me the experience, it was good for both of us.

“I was training on the job and it was a case of ‘do this, do that.’ They’ve been at it for 20-odd years.

“I enjoyed meeting people and the work.”

The hands-on work gave Ray, who is engaged to dancer Emily Fletcher, the confidence to carry out his own DIY around their new home.

© Ray Quinn Instagram The experience gave Ray the confidence to do DIY

“I tiled my own kitchen and bought myself a tool box,” he said proudly.

“It’s given me confidence to go forward.”

Working as a carpet fitter brought Ray back to where his showbiz life began – at Brookside Close in Liverpool.

He shot to fame in the Channel Four soap, set on a real cul-de-sac, as bullied schoolboy Anthony Murray in 2000, when he was just 12.

“We were doing a job nearby and I thought ‘I recognise this area,'” he said.

“I had to get a picture.

“It was surreal seeing the old houses that I grew up with.”

In 2018 Ray played Jonny Baxter in Hollyoaks as part of a harrowing far-right gang storyline.

Asked if the customers recognised him when he turned up at their houses the star said: “They all know Robin and it was more a case of ‘our Ray’s with us today.’

“It was just normal.”

© PA Ray on Dancing On Ice

Ray, who made music history with his debut My Way, as the youngest male ­artist to ever enter the UK album chart at number one without releasing a single, released his second album, Undeniable, last year.

And he’s thrilled to back on the road in the stage show All Singing All Swinging, which tells the story of the Rat Pack, featuring greatest hits of Sammy Davis Jnr, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

It co-stars fellow entertainers Shane Nolan, the son of Loose Women star Coleen Nolan, and Nick James from the West End’s Thriller Live.

“We’ve all been affected by the pandemic,” he said.

© submit Ray is back on the stage

“It’s been hard for us and for everybody working in theatre from the technicians to the writers and the crews front of house.”

Last year was also a dark period for Ray because he lost his dad, also called Ray, in November to cancer.

After such a difficult time his supportive family are in the audiences to cheer him on on during the tour.

On returning to the stage he said: “I’m excited to be back out there and it’s been great.

“It’s a relief more than anything and so nice to be doing something that once was. The past 18 months have been so difficult.

“Every gig we’ve done so far we’ve had standing ovations.”

The tour comes to the Middleton Arena on Friday October 8 and Stockport Plaza on Friday October 29.

Tickets are available direct via the theatre websites or by visiting allsingingallswinging.co.uk

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