Kara Tointon has confessed she nearly quit acting after leaving EastEnders, as she felt the ‘soap actress’ tag would haunt her forever.

The 29-year-old actress left Albert Squeare in 2009 after four years playing barmaid Dawn Swann, and has gone to take the West End by storm as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion and win acclaim for her role in The Sweeney, the movie remake of the 1970s police series.

But Kara revealed: “I have had a fantastic couple of years and yet there was a point after EastEnders that I strongly considered giving up on acting and resorting to my plan B, training to be an interior designer.

“At that point, I started to think it wasn’t going to happen for me.

“After you’ve been in a soap, people can assume you can’t do anything else, because you’re associated with your TV character.

“It can be demoralising, going to audition after audition and getting rejected, and you have to be pretty strong to carry on in this business.”

Kara – who has been open about her battle with dyslexia – is now fronting a new campaign for Quick Reads.

She said: “I’m so passionate about promoting Quick Reads – I know how off-putting a big novel can be, so these short books are brilliant.

“I love the fact they’ll help others like me and people will realise they’re not alone in their struggle with reading. In fact, more people come up to me and talk about this than any of the roles I’ve been in.”

The new Galaxy Quick Reads are available now. For more information, visit www.quickreads.org.uk