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Hollyoaks actors getting into shape at new Deeside gym

SOAP stars have been getting into shape at a Deeside gym.

HFF Solutions, based on Deeside Industrial Park, welcomed former Hollyoaks actors Anthony Quinlan, who played Gilly in the Chester-based soap, and Nico Mirallegro – who played Newt and appeared in period drama Upstairs Downstairs – last week.

Managing director Ian Munzberger opened the gym, which specialises in martial arts training, a month ago and invited Anthony and Nico to try it out.

He said: “They came down for a training session. Anthony comes here quite frequently to train and Nico is about to start filming the second series of Upstairs Downstairs so will be trying to get in shape for that in the next six weeks.”

The pair took part in mixed martial arts training to improve their strength and conditioning.

Ian said: “They were pretty amazed when they saw the gym.

“They’re good friends and they know I put my heart and soul into everything I do, but I think they were quite surprised with how good the gym was.”

Ian is also hoping to forge a career in acting and will appear in an online episode – or ‘webisode’ – of Channel 4 drama Shameless in the next few weeks.

“We filmed it over a couple of days and it will be a 10-minute episode,” he said. “It was brilliant, I really enjoyed it.”

Ian, 35, plays a character called Craig, but said he’s not allowed to give away what happens.

Up until two years ago Ian worked in management and practised martial arts as a hobby.

He said: “I left quite a well-paid job to take on the martial arts business full-time and it was a big gamble.

“Then my friend Jamie Lomas, who plays Warren in Hollyoaks, encouraged me to try out acting and I studied at the Manchester School of Acting.

“I’d love to do more in the future, but I’m concentrating on the gym for now.”

Ian added: “I want to spend about 12 months getting the gym up and running and then take a step back from it and do more acting.”