She voices the character of Professor Polonium in the new feature-length special Fireman Sam: Norman Price And The Mystery In The Sky.

Denise Van Outen is ticking what she says are the "cool mum boxes" with her 10-year-old daughter Betsy at the moment.

And it's easy to see why.

At the beginning of the year she competed on ITV's The Masked Singer and was revealed to be the Fox, finishing in fifth place.

She also returned to popular Australian soap Neighbours for the programme's 35th anniversary after joining the daytime programme last year as the "out there" character Prue Wallace.

And then there's her latest project: voicing an animated character in the new feature-length special Fireman Sam: Norman Price And The Mystery In The Sky.

The 46-year-old has lent her voice to Professor Polonium, who "wreaks havoc across Pontypandy as she tries to prove she's the best hero there is".

Van Outen, also known for hosting The Big Breakfast on Channel 4, says: "I always wanted to voice a character in animation, but I always said if I'm going to do it I'd rather play a bit of a baddie.

"Or someone that causes a bit of trouble because it's quite nice to just play around with your voice and also just create this character and I loved every second of it."

She's no stranger to flexing her voice, having won rave reviews for playing Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago, both in the West End and on Broadway.

The Fireman Sam project, she says, was one she "jumped at".

She explains: "To be able to have that freedom to just do what you want with your voice and create this little character, it's lovely to be able to do that.

"Normally when I do voiceovers I'm myself and for instance, The Only Way Is Essex, I voiced it for 10 years, but it's me, so this was nice to see the artwork and see drawings of Professor Polonium and actually then build the character around it with my voice was really fun."

The Fireman Sam brand is one that's been a firm favourite for three decades and has aired in more than 155 territories and 36 languages as families the world over follow the heroics of the team in the fictional Welsh village of Pontypandy.

"Well we always used to, when Betsy was younger, she's 10 now, but we always had all the kids' channels on all the time, so I think she's more excited about this than anything else I've ever done because it's something, because again as a child you all have your animations that you loved, so she's really excited and I think she thinks this is quite cool," says Van Outen.

"I'm sort of ticking a lot of the cool mum boxes at the moment with Betsy. I think the first one was doing The Masked Singer, she just thought that was the coolest thing ever that I was the Fox, because all her friends at school were talking about it.

"Then obviously doing Fireman Sam and now doing Dancing On Ice - mum's pretty cool at the moment".

Her talents extend to beyond her vocal abilities and she also finished as runner-up in the 10th series of Strictly Come Dancing in 2012.

And, as she references, in early 2021 she will be showing off her ice-skating skills alongside professional Matt Evers on ITV's popular series Dancing On |Ice.

"He's brilliant," she says of Evers, who this year made history alongside Steps star Ian "H" Watkins skating as part of the first same-sex couple to compete on primetime TV.

She continues: "He's lovely. He's actually living with us, he's moved in, which was a decision we made when we were partnered together.

"We just said the easiest way to do this, it's not, you don't have to live with your pro partner, ITV are obviously very strict with all of us about social distancing, but we just said it made more sense because then we felt we were giving ourselves the best opportunity to keep ourselves as a pairing safe.

"So we've kept our bubble very small, we've stuck to all the rules. We're just basically trying to get through our training and not miss out and isolate at any point because then we lose training time."

Due to the coronavirus it's likely, as with many other shows this year such as Strictly Come Dancing, that Dancing On Ice may not be able to have a live audience when it airs in the new year.

"It's great with the audience but it's like, for us doing Dancing On Ice it's going to be really different for Matt because he's done the show for 13 years with an audience but I won't notice any difference," she says.

"For me doing the live show is going to feel like a rehearsal so I might be a bit more relaxed, because actually when you go out and there's an audience there, it's an added pressure, it's an added distraction, so hopefully I won't be as nervous but we'll see."

Asked if there are more projects like Neighbours on the horizon, she reveals where she'd like to flex her talents next.

"I'd love to do a sitcom, it'd be nice to even do a little cameo in another soap which would be great," she says, adding: "I'm lucky that I get to do such a different range of things with my career, so any opportunity that comes my way I grab it with both hands. I consider myself lucky".

She'd also at some point like to do more "creating, writing and producing".

In 2014 she co-wrote a one-woman musical play, Some Girl I Used To Know, and says of writing: "I have done it and I really enjoyed the process.

"The trouble is with me there's such a little performer inside me, I feel like it's an itch that needs to be scratched. So if I'm away from the stage or somewhere, a platform where I can perform for too long, I start to get itchy feet.

"I need to get back out there, so it stops me doing a lot of the other creative things because I'm just, the jazz hands need to be aired...."

Fireman Sam: Norman Price And The Mystery In The Sky, Cartoonito on BT TV.