As Strictly Come Dancing's Class of 2017 takes to the floor for the first time this Saturday, it seems former Holby City actress Chizzy Akudolu is already eyeing up a bigger prize than the coveted glitterball trophy...

How ex-Holby star Chizzy Akudolu hopes to get her own pulse racing on BBC1 hit Strictly Come Dancing this Saturday…

How are you feeling about doing Strictly Come Dancing?

“The whole thing is completely bonkers! The glam squad have already set to work on us and the production team on this show are wonderful. It’s a really weird experience – I still don’t think it’s quite sunk in that I’m actually doing it.”

Chizzy Akudolu plays Mo Effanga in Holby City

Chizzy is best known for playing Holby City surgeon Mo Effanga

Why did you want to take part in Strictly this year?
“I’d love to lose weight and get fit. I used to do karate but when I joined Holby five years ago I got lazy. I’d get home really late, get up really early, not go to the gym, eat the wrong foods and I just started getting bigger. Now it’s time to reverse it!”

On Saturday night, all 15 celebrities are going to take to the floor for the very first time to perform either a ballroom or Latin routine. So, can you dance?
“I’ve got rhythm and I think I can take choreography quite well. I can’t wait to do either the Argentine Tango or a Paso Doble – they’re both dramatic, powerful, passionate dances, where you can really throw yourself into character.”

chizzy pasha launch show

Chizzy was paired with Pasha Kovalev on the launch show. Will they be a perfect match?

You’re partnered with Strictly favourite Pasha Kovalev. What does he need to do to be the perfect partner for you?
“I’m quite heavy at the moment, so he needs to be very strong because I want to be lifted up! I don’t wanna be one of those that just dances around, I want to be lifted properly. So he’ll need to be strong… oh, and have lots of good banter!”

Holby fans are in for a treat, as Joe McFadden – who plays registrar Raf di Lucca – is also taking part in Strictly this year. What’s it like having him involved as well?
“It’s really nice having Joe on board too! Everyone here is lovely but I thought that if anyone was horrible, at least I’d have one friendly face. I must admit at first I was like: ‘Oh, there’s TWO Holby people doing Strictly, has that been done before?’ But, hey, as long as I’m the other one, I don’t mind.”

Do you see Joe as your main dancing rival?
“Oh, it’s all friendly competition between myself and Joe… at the moment!”

strictly joe mcfadden

Chizzy’s pleased that Holby star Joe McFadden is doing Strictly… at the moment!

Will any of your former co-stars on Holby be coming down to support you?
“Well, the minute I told Ben Hull, who played Mo’s love interest Mr T, he was begging me, saying: ‘Can I come? Can I come?’ And also Rosie Marcel [Holby’s Jac Naylor] wants to come with Bob Barrett [Holby’s Sacha Levy]. I’ve got lots of family but no boyfriend, which is something I’d quite like.”

Who did you vote for in last year’s Strictly?
“Tameka Empson. I know Tameka really well. She was eliminated so early in the competition and is still gutted about it. She said to me: ‘Chizzy, just enjoy it’. I think she’s gonna live vicariously through me!”

Fortunately, there are no eliminations on Saturday night, as the public doesn’t start voting until next week. How far do you hope to go in the competition?
“I’d love to make it to the final. If I could stay until the end and lose four stone I’d be elated. That would be my win.”

Watch this year’s 15 celebrities take to the floor for the first time as Strictly Come Dancing goes LIVE on Saturday September 23 at 6.25pm on BBC1