Jimi Mistry explains to TV Times why, after landing a part in Coronation Street – and the heart of his Strictly partner, Flavia Cacace – he’s grown up, and couldn’t be happier…
So, it is it true you headed to the gym when you learnt you’d landed the part of Gary Windass’s mate Kal, who’s an ex-squaddie turned personal trainer?
“I’ve always liked keeping fit, but knowing I was coming into this, I put myself through my paces and have lost a good 7-8kg. I wanted to be the best I could be. I’ve done a lot of high intensity circuit training which is amazing to get rid of those extra pounds.
“I’ve also been really good with my diet; watching what I eat and cutting out the more enjoyable things – although on Sundays, I have a cheat day and raid the fridge…”
Can you believe how long ago it was you played Dr Fonseca in EastEnders?
“It feels like ages ago – I’m a man now, but I was a boy then.”
You’ve worked all around the world – is it nice to be on home soil again?
“A lot of my work has been filmed abroad – South Africa, America, Canada, Morocco. So many places. But I’m planning on getting married again soon, and I want to settle down and stay in the UK. As an actor, I also want to act every day.”
Can you tell us about meeting your wife-to-be, former Strictly favourite Flavia?
“On Strictly, I think there are romances and then there are romances. For me and Flavia, it was about meeting the right person. It’s an intense time and your relationship develops, but it was afterwards when we got together, so it was different.
“Since day one, we’ve made sure we’ve maintained the relationship, even though we’ve always been busy. You have to keep feeding fuel to the fire. I proposed last New Year’s Eve – it seems a bit cliche, but it just happened that way.”
Are you enjoying reach the big 4-0?
“I feel great about it. I think life does begin at 40. I feel fitter and happier than I’ve done for years.”
So, will there be a 2014 wedding?
“I don’t know when we’ll get married, but let’s say the near future. If I had it my way, the wedding would be in Vegas. I think it will be quite a private affair. Just don’t ask me about the first dance – that’s gonna be something special!”