LAUNCHING his own talent show is not the only career first GARY BARLOW will tick off tomorrow – he’ll also sing topless on telly.
It’s a big deal for the TAKE THAT frontman, who has spent years battling his weight.
That’s why for the past three months he’s trained hard to be in the best possible shape for the opening shower scene skit to feature on new BBC1 Saturday night show, Let It Shine.
Speaking during his Bizarre takeover, Gary said: “Training was pretty intense. I’m 45 now, to go topless on TV is like, ‘I’m gonna get in shape for this’.
“I wanted to look semi decent. I didn’t want the old moobs flopping away there.”
Fans can enjoy a sneak peek of the scenes on the BBC’s iPlayer from 7.30pm on Friday 6 January.
Gary’s soapy show number sets the scene for Let It Shine, which aims to find a five-member boyband to appear in his new stage production The Band, featuring the music of Take That. His lean look caps a remarkable transformation from when he “rolled out of bed 17 stone” in 2002.
His confidence has truly been restored.
He said: “I went through every single diet book, anything and everything that’s out there I’ve probably done, all of those diets.
“And it’s taken me years to get to a place where I just eat good, healthy food and I’m happy with it and I don’t crave sweets and chocolate.”
And he has no fear the weight will creep back on, pointing to his head, saying: “No, I’ve got that right, which is the other thing.
“It’s so f****** complicated, that’s the thing. To get a balance, it’s so hard. It’s taken me years and years.”
The shower scene wasn’t Gary’s idea – he just wrote the song – but he was more than happy to play along with the jovial theme, particularly because it proves the show “doesn’t take itself seriously”.
Gary added: “There was a point where I thought I have been at this since I was 11, all these years of work and I’m in a shower with no top on, singing, while a load of cameras are filming. So it’s a bid odd.
“But it’s entertaining, it’s fun, and that’s what it’s all about.”
The show’s pretty good, too.
THE VOICE star WILL.I.AM said in yesterday’s column that Let It Shine was just “opening for the headliners”.
But Gary is not biting ahead of the start of a new Saturday night ratings battle. He said: “That’s all right, ‘warm up’ – I’ve been a warm-up act before. It’s the same with Strictly and X Factor – the clever audience member watches both.”
Gary insists he’s a fan of the new ITV show, despite turning down a role as coach due to his links with The X Factor.
And he reckons the BLACK EYED PEAS man is the show’s biggest asset.
Gary said: “I think Will is the best talent show judge on TV. He’s brilliant. I am always dying to hear what he has to says.”
His old rival SIMON COWELL will raise a smile when he reads that.
ROBBIE WILLIAMS got caught cleaning his hands with sanitiser after doing Auld Lang Syne with fans on his BBC New Year’s Eve show.
He brilliantly played up to it on social media by posting a video of himself using the gel after shaking the hand of his mother-in-law.
And despite giving him a gentle ribbing, Gary says he understands his old bandmate’s recent admission in this column that he’s a “germophobe”.
Gary said: “Little did I know every time I hug him, he’s going through the old shower thing to get rid of the germs.
“I must say In his defence, when I’m on tour I am paranoid about getting a cold, or getting ill.
“You’ve got night after night, 20,000 people with tickets and I cane the sanitiser.
“When I’m not on tour I don’t use it, so I don’t know what he was up to after that show.
“But I probably imagine he’s paranoid about something.”
He certainly was.
OLLY MURS features in Let It Shine’s Collaborations round after the auditions.
And Gary thinks the Essex boy has been getting into shape for his latest TV gig, too.
He said: “Olly looks like he has been working out, definitely. And that beard – what’s going on there?
“I think he’s like me, he’s prone to weight. Like a plate of chips goes past and he puts on two pounds.
“That’s what happens to me, even if I don’t eat them – it’s just being in the vicinity to fried foods. But Olly looks great.”
‘ When I spoke about him to the BBC they said: ‘We must have offered him 15 shows and he has turned them all down’
‘ I wanted three permanent judges, but for that fourth seat to change every week. So we have Amber for the auditions and she’s been great. She has a real passion for music’
‘ I’m amazed they’ve not been paired together on TV before. Mel brings so much fun and
‘She was definitely my No1 choice. I liked her on The X Factor and when I made the call she was desperate to return here and always loved her time in the UK’
NEARLY three years ago, Gary was one of JAMES CORDEN’s early participants for his now global phenomenon Carpool Karaoke.
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