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Brian McFadden on Christmas traditions and leaving Westlife behind

On top of touring with Boyzlife and releasing a solo album, Brian McFadden has now signed up for the next series of Dancing On Ice. With such a packed schedule, how does he get the time to put his feet up over the festivities? We caught up with the star to find out…

Are you looking forward to Christmas?
‘I can’t wait! I love Christmas – the tree is full of decorations, I put fake snow on the windows, and even a Father Christmas and reindeer in the garden. I really enjoy buying presents for my kids and family, and I love listening to Now That’s What I Call Christmas – I actually start listening to it in November!’

How do you celebrate?
‘It all depends, because every second year I have my kids, Molly, 17, and Lilly, 15. When I have them for Christmas, like this year, we always go to my mum and dad’s house and have an old-school family Christmas. When they’re with their mum [Kerry Katona], I just do something with my girlfriend, Danielle, like go on holiday.’

Are there any Christmas traditions in the McFadden household?
‘We all run downstairs first thing in the morning and the kids open all the presents under the tree. We then sit there and wait, staring at the kitchen for my Ma to get the dinner ready!’

So you don’t cook Christmas dinner for the family then?
‘You won’t find me cooking a scrap on Christmas Day! I grew up in an Irish family, and you’re not allowed near the kitchen until the dinner is ready – although I did used to sneak in and eat things when they were still raw! I love Christmas dinner and will devour the full works: turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, mashed potato, roast parsnips, Brussels sprouts, carrots and gravy, followed by trifle and Christmas pudding with cream. I then end up in a food coma on the sofa watching Home Alone!’

What’s the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?
‘That’s a hard one to answer. My kids got me Batman pyjamas last year and I love them, as I’m a big fan of Batman. When I was a kid my mum and dad got me a Commodore 64, which really shows my age! That’s probably the most memorable present, as you always remember the gifts from when you were young.’

What are you getting Molly and Lilly this year?
‘I’ll probably end up giving them money, because they love to shop. For the last five years it’s been iPhones and iPads, so instead I’m just going to say, ‘here’s a few quid, buy whatever you want with it.’ They want to go out and do things with their friends, so I think they’ll appreciate having money, rather than pretending to like a gift I’ve bought them.’

Are you still touring with Boyzlife?
‘Keith [Duffy] and I have clocked up 150,000 air miles this year – and we’re not even finished. I love performing with him. He’s my best mate and we’ve had so much fun. We’re on the golf course during the day and enjoying the world, then playing to sold-out shows every night.’

The new year sees you in Dancing on Ice, but you’re also releasing an album. What’s the album all about?
‘It’s called Otis, and is a tribute to Otis Redding. Soul music has always been a huge part of my life, but the thought of me doing it never really crossed my mind. I’ve always loved Otis Redding. My last few releases have been original albums, and you kind of get fed up going to the studio and writing, because when you start writing songs you have all these people telling you it needs to be more like the person who’s at number one. I just wanted to do my own thing – so I did!’

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