Ex-EastEnders star Samantha Womack has revealed how much she is enjoying singing and dancing in the musical South Pacific.

The 38-year-old actress – whose soap character Ronnie Branning has just left Albert Square, where Sam has admitted she was exhausted by the emotional storylines – is in rehearsals to star in the show opening at the Barbican in London on August 15.

Samantha told The Daily Mail: “For the first time, I’m doing something for me.

“I can’t do this in half measures. I can’t be in rehearsals all day and then charge up the motorway home and then back down again. So I’m staying in London during the week and going home at weekends.”

The mother-of-two admitted she was missing her family, but is relishing the chance to get into character as WWII nurse Nellie, whose songs in the show include the famous I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair.

She said: “I was home last weekend and I thought: ‘I bet the kids have missed me!’ and they were fine. I missed them like crazy, but at least I’ve been able to get Nellie into my head.”