BRENDAN Cole has revealed tension behind the scenes at Dancing on ice.
The former Strictly dancer says his skating partner Vanessa Bauer is having to "calm him down" as Sunday's launch show edges closer.
Brendan, 45, suffered concussion after a nasty fall on the first day of rehearsals.
And he says "accidents happen all the time" as stars work hard to avoid being voted out first.
Comparing this experience to his time as a professional dancer on Strictly, Brendan said: "I've performed in this scenario for 15 years where I've been the one in control and having to calm my partner down.
"Thankfully I've got a partner who can calm me down on Sunday. I will need it because actually I'm starting to feel that excitement and that adrenaline popping.
"I have that as an advantage more than anything else over everybody."
Denying that he's competitive, Brendan continued: "That's something that's misunderstood about me.
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"I'm never driven to win. I'm not here to win. I'm here to do the best I can do.
"I'm very competitive with myself. I want to do the best I can. I want to become a really good skater.
"I said to Vanessa I want to look as good as you, I know it's never going to happen – she's had 25 years experience of this, I have none.
"I would love to emulate what she's doing. I've said it to partners on the other show for years, 'try your best to look like the other girls'. You won't necessarily know what you're doing but you'll get to the point where you're hopefully matching them at something during the minute and a half routine.
"It's not going to be easy, trust me. But I'm not here to win. I do want to be there at the end. I want to be there week on week on week on week. I make no bones about it."
Vanessa has been putting Brendan through his paces resulting in being battered and bruised on the ice.
"I love that though, I think that's why we were partnered," said Brendan.
"We love to push, but we're having a good time as well.
"We're not competitive about wanting to win, we're competitive in that we want to do well and that I skate out there and feel really confident in myself that it's going to be a great routine and not worry about anyone else.
"Although I have had a cheeky look and it is does make me nervous."
He added: "We're all competing with ourselves at the start. I presume we all want tot get through the first week. No one want togo home first.
"The more involved you get with the show the more keen you are to stay in each week. There's no way anyone wants to go home on the first, second or even third week."
Responding to claims his dance experience gives him an unfair advantage over the other celebrities competing, Brendan insisted he's faced the same challenges as everyone else.
"The thing with Dancing on Ice is that we're all taking tumbles.
"When you're pushing yourself as hard as we are getting ready for the live show, there are going to be accidents. They happen constantly.
"What you don't want to do is land on the same bruise twice. If you land on the same bit that's already been bruised three days before that, it really hurts.
"I concussed myself on the first day which was very embarrassing, but thankfully that was eight weeks ago and we carry on."
He added: "Yes, there are expectations, but you'll see on Sunday we are all at different points.
"Where you start to where you finish… getting to the next level or next week.. we're all trying to build upon wherever we're starting from.
"That's the beauty of these shows. No two people are the same, no two partnerships are the same.
"There are many things that put expectations and pressures on. I'm embracing the dancing side of it.
"There are a few of us who have had dance experience on the show. I think it's exciting to see what everyone is going to bring."
Brendan competed on Strictly Come Dancing for 15 series from 2004.
Without warning, his contract was not renewed and he broke down in tears on ITV's Lorraine about the bombshell decision.
- Dancing on Ice returns on Sunday at 6.30pm on ITV.
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