Brace yourselves, Strictly fans.

The next winner of the hit TV show could be from Glasgow – if his professional partner has anything to do with it.

“Katya really does want to win,” grins Joe McFadden, Holby City heartthrob and Govanhill’s favourite son, who is one of the stars tipped to take the glitterball trophy ifter four high-scoring weeks in the competition.

“I’m just trying my best not to get in the way of that….”

Joe and Katya Jones have had rave reviews so far for their outstanding routines and they are hoping to blow away the judges again in tonight’s show.

But despite Katya’s steely-eyed instruction, Joe admits the final seems a long, sparkly samba-walk away.

He laughs: “I’m just taking it one week at a time. If I can get to Blackpool, that would be amazing.

“Every dance is different and every dance hurts a different part of my body."

He shakes his head.

“It’s unbelievable how much I hurt," he groans. "First my shoulders, then my hips, then my feet – every week it’s some new level of pain, some new way to punish me.”

Despite the pain, Joe is loving the experience – and, he says, it’s finally sinking in.

“You start to notice repeat steps, little things you’ve done before that you pick up a bit quicker the second time – it’s like I am actually learning something,” he marvels. “It’s going in!”

He adds: “I’ve done little bits of dance over the years in the few musicals that I’ve been in, but they were more for comic effect than for showing off any dance prowess.

“I love Strictly – I was blown away by the exceptional standard of last year’s three finalists Danny, Louise and Ore. If I could have a fraction of their ability at some point then I’ll be made up.”

Joe admits the energy levels are flagging, however.

“I’m just a bit tired,” he sighs. “It’s not getting any easier. And as the weeks go on, our partners are looking for us to do more, and the routines are getting harder.”

“We’ve had some really lovely feedback from the judges which is great and gives you a bit of a confidence boost, and getting the votes from the public is amazing.”

Joe acknowledges with a laugh that the Scottish vote is split this year, with comedian Susan Calman – also from Glasgow – having won the hearts of the nation with a succession of joyous routines.

“Me and Susan are doing it for Scotland,” grins Joe. “I heard that my old teachers at Holyrood Secondary school have even been telling their pupils to vote for me! I’m really grateful for everyone’s support.”

Now best known for his role as Italian doctor Raf di Lucca in BBC One drama Holby City, Joe got his big break aged 12 when his drama teacher recommended him for a small part in crime drama Taggart.

After a spell on High Road and film success in cult Glasgow gang film Small Faces alongside Laura Fraser and Iain Robertson, he went on to star with Judi Dench and Michael Gambon in period drama Cranford, landed a long-term role as PC Joe Mason in Heartbeat and performed on stage in West End shows such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Rent.

“I’ve been lucky to do a variety of different things – telly, films, a bit of singing and stage work,” he says. “I’ve been up in Scotland a few times, doing odd theatre jobs which has been great – I haven’t done so much since being in Holby but when I come out of that I’d like to do more.”

Fitting dancing around his Holby City filming schedule has been tough too, although he says he has been grateful to his bosses for ‘lightening the load’ to allow him to spend more hours in the training room.

His current storyline has teamed Joe up with an old pal – Iain Robertson, with whom he starred in Small Faces.

“He plays my brother in Holby which is fine, because we’re just like brothers,” grins Joe. “We’ve known each other for 20-odd years, and it was great acting with him again.”

Joe lives in north London now, with his cockapoo called Douglas, but he is a regular visitor to Glasgow, to catch up with his sister and his dad – who is an Evening Times reader.

“He always keeps it for me when I come up,” grins Joe. “They’re both going to come down to the show at some point. They’re really happy for me, it’s been lovely to have their support.

“I love coming home – Glasgow is a great city. It changes all the time – I find it hard to keep up with new bars and restaurants and everything that’s going on.”

While he admits he doesn’t get up to Glasgow as often as he would like, fans of Joe might get the chance to see their hero in the city sooner than they might think.

He admits he would love to dance in Glasgow as part of the Strictly Live Tour, which comes to the city early next year.

“I’ve heard there is a Strictly Live tour, which goes round all the big venues up and down the country – I’d LOVE to be part of that,” he beams. “It sounds like such a lot of fun and it would be great to dance for a home crowd.”

So far, Joe’s costumes have included a tartan waistcoat – but will the Strictly costume designers make him go the whole hog, like Kenny Logan before him, to don the kilt?

“Oh I really hope so,” he grins. “Everyone’s kind of expecting it, aren’t they? I’m definitely up for it….”