A Harry Potter star who has undergone a massive transformation since the franchise ended, is now back on our screens – but this time he is not aiding Slytherin villain-turned-hero Draco Malfoy.
Josh Herdman, who was just 13 when he was cast as Malfoy sidekick Gregory Goyle, and remained in the role until the very end, until his own fire spell at the Battle of Hogwarts wiped him out.
The Mirror reports that originally, Josh was meant to play a spoiled cousin of Harry Potter, Dudley Dursley, but was instead picked as a brute Goyle.
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Back in February 2018, Josh admitted that he went off the rails following the ending of the Harry Potter series, and nearly ruined his career completely due to excessive partying.
At the time, Josh said: “If I’m honest I was a party animal, I was, like many young people are.
“I don’t know, it was the people I was hanging around with and you have money.
“It was just what I was doing and I had enough of it so I gave it up and started to focus on my fitness, I quit smoking and I haven’t looked back.”
Despite still enjoying the screen time, Josh felt that a change was needed in his life as he felt like he was “playing the lottery for a living”, waiting for acting roles.
Josh to take up martial arts and cage fighting, in an initial bid to curb his anxiety and mental health struggles – and it is now a priceless aspect of his continued health and wellbeing journey.
Josh said: “I had enough of it so I decided I was going to get fit and I knew I needed something to focus on and martial arts did change my life.
“You need a discipline, you need a tenacity, you need to drive to keep at it. When you start you’re getting hammered, you are a novice.
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“That is what a lot of people who start martial arts can’t get through and they don’t like it but it was exactly what I needed and it taught me a discipline, which I needed at the time, and a focus, it changed everything for me.”
He has transformed physically due to this new hobby, and is almost unrecognizable from his Potter days, sporting a shredded body and shaved head.
Josh added: “I was never fat or anything but before I started martial arts I was smoking and you feel like you can’t breathe.
“You just generally feel much better in yourself. I feel happy, I can go and run ten miles.
“It’s great looking good and the transformation is really cool. You don’t do it just for that, that’s like an added bonus. It’s more for your mental well-being.”
Josh even made his amateur fighting debut as an MMA opponent in April 2016, defeating Polish fighter Janusz Walachowski at the City Pavillion in Romford, east London.
Speaking about his experience, he said: “I’ve been training traditional Japanese jujitsu for nearly five years and hold a shodan black belt.
“It’s raw, exciting and unpredictable. I find it more interesting than boxing although I appreciate the beauty and art in boxing. It also made sense to move onto MMA because of my jujitsu training.”
But Josh did not fall out of love with acting and realized he could be passionate about playing characters and his sport interests.
Josh turned back to acting, and appeared in a film thriller ‘Piggy’ in 2012, ITV crime drama Marcella in 2018, and starred as Righteous in the 2018 Robin Hood movie.
Josh was also knocked unconscious in a motorbike accident with his father back in 2015 when they skidded on oil and had to be taken to hospital.
However, Josh and dad Martin faced a wait of longer than an hour for an ambulance to arrive after the accident earlier this month.
Speaking to the Richmond and Twickenham Times, Martin said: “It was quite a nasty accident, I thought I had broken my shoulder and my son thought he broke his leg and his hand.
“We were left sat waiting on the side of the road with police for about an hour-and-a-half before the ambulance arrived.
“One ambulance going past even stopped to ask what had happened but they either had someone in the back or were on their way to another call.
“We had both been knocked unconscious by the accident and we couldn’t believe it.”
The father-and-son pair were eventually seen to, and taken to West Middlesex University Hospital for treatment, with Martin left with a torn ligament on his ankle and bloody elbow injury.
And now, Josh is competing in brand new ITV series The Games that sees 12 fitness fanatic celebrities battling in a sport spectacle across a week of live programming.
The familiar faces have undergone weeks of intensive training ready to go head-to-head in a range of sporting challenges in the athletics arena, the swimming pool, gymnasium and velodrome.
Speaking ahead of the first live show, Josh said: “I love a challenge and I’m really competitive. I always want to learn new stuff and we are being taught by the best coaches and teachers.
“It will be a fantastic life experience, learning new things, having a challenge and competition, so it ticks all the boxes for me.”
As well as live coverage of the events, each episode will feature the celebrities’ preparation as they’re taught the sports from scratch by some of the UK’s top coaches.
Josh added: “The event I’m most looking forward to is the canoe slalom. I’ve never done it and it’s so alien to me. I imagine it will be like riding a motorbike, but I don’t know how accurate that will be, we’ll see.
“I’m least confident in the diving. I don’t like jumping off things. I’m not scared of heights, I like flying, as long as I know I’m safe.
“But I don’t like throwing myself off things, I’m not great with that. So that’s what I’m least looking forward to. And the swimming. I’ve never been a strong swimmer.”
You can watch Josh compete on The Games, resuming on Tuesday May 10 at 9pm on ITV.