JAKE Quickenden isn’t a man to back down from a challenge. He’s twice braved the judges on X Factor, endured bush tucker trials on I’m A Celebrity and in the New Year he’ll be getting his skates on as a contestant on Dancing on Ice.

But for the next three weeks he’ll be taking on one of his biggest tests yet, playing Peter Pan in a brand new musical which will see families flocking to Blackpool Opera House.

Jake has proven himself as a singer and presenter but he’ll now have to display his acting talent in the show which also stars Jennifer Ellison as Captain Hook. And he can’t wait.

“I love being out of my comfort zone and love learning new stuff,” he said. “So to take an opportunity to mix something that I love doing – singing – with learning something new with the acting, was just too good an opportunity to turn down.

“I don’t think you learn anything if you just stay with what you are comfortable with all the time.”

Jake had been taking regular acting lessons when he was approached to take the starring role in the tale of the little boy who never grew up.

“I don’t think it’s fair to be given something just because of what I have done in the past,” he said

“Just because I have done X Factor and I’m a Celebrity doesn’t mean I have got the right to just take acting jobs from people or jump straight into acting when I haven’t got experience.

“It was important to me to take a year of acting lessons and prepare myself because I wanted to get into acting .

“Hopefully I’ll do my acting coach a bit of justice and he’s not watching going ‘oh, those lessons didn’t work!’,” he laughed.

Jake is eminently likeable, engaging and open and is clearly genuinely excited to be part of a new show.

“I’ve been offered pantos in the past but what appealed to me about this is that it’s a musical. I think people will come away from it thinking ‘what a great production’, I know I’m biased but it’s certainly going to be worth coming to watch.

“I think there is a bit of Peter Pan in everyone - there certainly is in me. I think the way to stay young is to act young and to take the mickey out of yourself and have fun. It’s the perfect character for me.”

One aspect of the role particularly appealed to Jake, taking to the air on a nightly basis.

“Oh, I really wanted to fly,” he said. “But then I realised how uncomfortable the special harness I have to wear is, so I’m not quite so enthusiastic now - I just hope the old groin can stand up to it!”

Jake has quickly struck up a rapport with his co-star, the former Brookside actress Jennifer Ellison.

“Jen is so very normal and down to earth and humble,” he said, “even though she has had this amazing career. I like that in people, that’s my favourite quality.

“Of course, I won’t be saying that when she comes on as Captain Hook and is after me of course, I’ll have to watch out for that hook of hers.”

It’s a been a particularly memorable year for Jake who in September proposed to his girlfriend Danielle Fogarty, daughter of former wold superbike champion Carl Fogarty. The pair met at the end of series party for I’m A Celebrity in 2014 when Jake finished runner-up to King of the Jungle Carl.

“I still pinch myself every day that I was in the jungle let alone that I came out of it and met my girlfriend who is now my fiancee.

“And I’ll have Carl Fogarty as a father-in-law!

“But they are an amazing family and it’s so nice to be a part of it.”

Having proposed to Danielle on his birthday, Jake, 29, said that they are now planning to get married in 2019.

Before then, the ice beckons as the takes part in Dancing on Ice which returns to ITV after a four year absence, yet another example of Jake testing himself.

“I’m completely open to trying anything,” he said.

But before he can think about putting on the Lycra, it’s Peter Pan to which he will be devoting all his attention.

“There’s a lot of negativity going on in the world at the moment,” he said. “So if we can give families a couple of hours where they can escape from all that and leave with smiles on their faces, then we’ve done our jobs.

“I think everyone knows the story of Peter Pan but I think we can spring some surprises on them and they will come away thinking ‘wow, that was amazing’.

“I’m just so excited to be involved. The boy that never grew up - that’s really me down to a tee!”

Peter Pan - A Musical Adventure, Blackpool Opera House, until Sunday, January 7. Details from 01253 625252 or www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk