Bradley Walsh is one of the most popular entertainers on British television and things are about to get even busier f.

The Chase and Tonight at the London Palladium presenter is about to return to acting, landing a role as the companion for Jodie Whittaker in the next series of Doctor Who.

[Read more: Bradley Walsh lands role as new Doctor Who companion]

[Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole join Doctor Who cast]

But how much do you really know about the Watford-born entertainer? Here are 8 surprising facts about the TV star.

1. Bradley was a professional footballer

Bradley Walsh

Everyone knows somebody who claims to have “had trials for the United” or who was “scouted for City”. But Bradley was the real deal in the 1970s.

He was signed by Brentford in 1978 and a was a regular in the reserves. He also played for Dunstable Town (15 goals in 25 games), Barnet and Boreham Wood.

Sadly his sporting career was cut short due to an ankle injury. Football’s loss was TV’s gain.

Bradley Walsh's 9 most memorable moments from The Chase

2. The Corrie years

Bradley Walsh

Bradley had been doing the rounds on TV and the live comedy circuit for decades, but it was in 2004 when he arrived as Danny Baldwin in Coronation Street that he became well known to the nation.

Danny was a hugely popular character in Weatherfield, however, did you know the character was originally called Viv.

It was changed to Danny – the name of Walsh’s father - on the request of the actor. Walsh had been called ‘young Danny’ in his youth so “thought it would not be so bad” when people called him by his character name in the street.

The Chase: 9 backstage secrets of the hit show

3. His comedy career started at school

Bradley was always destined for a career in light entertainment according to his high school teacher at Francis Combe Secondary School, Mr Carr.

“He was highly popular but extremely mischievous student whose comic genius was apparent even at the age of 15,” said Mr Carr.

We suspect his school reports at the time might not have seen the funny side of all Bradley’s antics.

4. Odd job man

Bradley Walsh

Bradley’s didn’t just walk into a football career and then wander his way to a TV studio. He’s had plenty of curious jobs in his life.

From the age of 14 he was working as a baker’s boy with 4.30am starts to help his mum make ends meet. His other early jobs included a sheet metal worker, a metal engineer and a Pontin’s bluecoat.

5. Bradley has never owned a credit card

His working class single-parent background means that Bradley knows the value of hard work and it also means he’s very sensible with his money.

“Credit cards frighten me. I'm 52 and I've never had one and never will,” he told The Telegraph three years ago. Walsh says he sticks to debit cards because he likes the idea of “never spending more than you have”.

Bradley Walsh

6. A Weatherfield comeback?

Walsh’s time on Coronation Street was popular with viewers but tabloid coverage about his private life meant that it wasn’t all smooth sailing. However, he hasn’t ruled out a potential return to the Cobbles for Danny.

The only problem for Walsh is his busy schedule and the lengthy commitment required for a soap.

"If the time was right for them and Danny Baldwin needs to go back, and the time is right for me where I've actually got some time to do it. Because you can't just go in and do one, two or three weeks - you have to really put your mind to it,” said Bradley.

“The scripts come four months in advance, so the timing has to be absolutely right. It's a bit like the alignment of the moon and the stars to get it right.”

7. The name’s Walsh. Bradley Walsh.

Bradley Walsh

Does Bradley have any career regrets? Only one and it involves a certain 007.

“I could have been the new James Bond. Down to me and Daniel Craig, but I was doing panto in Milton Keynes so they gave it to Daniel Craig,” he said.

We suspect he may have been joking, but with Craig rumoured to be retiring from Bond, maybe it’s Bradley’s turn.

Mark ‘The Beast’ Labbett could be his first Bond villain, we’ve already got it all mapped out.

8. TV Nightmares

 

Bradley’s had plenty of hits in his career, but one miss was the TV gameshow Snakes and Ladders, which failed to get off the ground.

However, thankfully it wasn’t cancelled before he made this incredible TV blooper that has probably put poor Bradley off slides for life.

[9 of the funniest Bradley Walsh moments]