As the 14 celebrities dance together on Strictly Come Dancing for the first time, ex-EastEnders’ star Anita Dobson talks about facing her fears…

You’ve said you’d always be too nervous to do Strictly Come Dancing, what’s changed?

“I’d always wanted to learn how to dance, but I thought I’d be too scared about being judged. But then I thought, you know what, they can say what they like, I’m here to dance!”

How have you found your time on the show so far?

“This whole show is like a rollercoaster… you go up, then you go down, then you go up again. I’m completely strung out and tired with all the yo-yo-ing. But I just want to work hard, do the best I can and not let my partner Robin [Windsor] down.”

Has your husband [Queen guitarist Brian May] been supportive of you taking part in Strictly?

“He has actually. He was really shocked when I first said I really wanted to do it and said: ‘I feel I’m outside of this while you’re on TV dancing with a partner’. But now I think he’s really pleased.”

It’s been 23 years since you quit EastEnders, do you mind still being regarded as a soap icon?

“Not at all. Anything you have created that lives on, you have to be proud of. Some people never achieve anything in their life, but I have achieved something that, 23 years on, people still talk about – fans still come up to me in the street and say: ‘You’re a legend.'”

*Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC1 on Saturday, October 8

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