Former EastEnders star Kara Tointon on playing an 18th century actor ahead of her time in Urban Myths on Sky Arts
Ex EastEnders star Kara Tointon reckons motherhood is her favourite role yet – but that doesn’t stop her picking plum roles that come her way, such as guest starring in tonight’s episode of Sky Arts quirky comedy series, Urban Myths: Handel and Hendrix.
“I’m in that whole world of juggling and have such fun being a mum,” says Kara, 37, whose son, Frey is about to celebrate his second birthday next month. “But it’s lovely dipping my toe back into work with light-hearted, fantastic jobs like Urban Myths…”
Tell us about your urban myth, Handel and Hendrix…
Kara Tointon: “My episode’s about musical geniuses Jimi Hendrix [played by Zach Wyatt] and George Frideric Handel [David Haig], with the truth in the myth being that they both lived in the same building in London’s Brook Street, albeit 200-odd years apart! The writers have been so clever with flashbacks showing how they both faced similar stresses in the music industry – it’s brilliant.”
Who do you play?
KT: “Kitty Clive, who was a larger-than-life actress and singer in the 1700s. Back then, the line between acting and prostitution was blurry, but she paved the way for actresses to be taken seriously and paid properly. She was definitely ahead of her time.”
You’ve played 1900s society wife, Rosalie, in Miss Selfridge, second world war jazz singer, Betsey, in The Halcyon and now Kitty – you must love period dramas!
KT: “I do – they’re definitely my thing! That’s why I became an actor – to dress up and become another person and explore different parts of history. I didn’t recognise myself after they’d finished making me into Kitty. I’ve always wanted to whack on a silver-white wig that’s 5ft high – now I’ve ticked off another era on my list!”
Does motherhood affect the roles you agree to?
KT: “I was in a play with Stephen Mangan last year and realised that eight shows a week and sleep deprivation is quite interesting when you’re a mum! So a long tour is out for me until Frey’s older but I’m lucky in that great cameo roles like this one pop up and allow me to work in-between being a mum.”
Is it true you’ve set up a baby business with your fiancé, chiropractor Marius Jensen?
KT: “Yes, we’ve launched a storytelling App, called Tell App, that lets far-away family members record bedtime stories for little ones. We had the idea when Frey was born. Marius is from Norway so all his family are overseas and this allows grandparents to still be involved in bedtime. I love the idea of stories keeping families together.”
Strictly Come Dancing is back. Is it really a decade since you won the glitterball trophy with partner Artem Chigvintsev?
KT: “It feels like only yesterday in a way but so much has happened in the last ten years. It’s one of those experiences you never forget because you’ll never do anything like it again.”
Urban Myths continues on Sky Arts, featuring ex EastEnders star Kara Tointon, at 10pm on Wednesday 21st October (see our TV Guide for more shows to enjoy).
Written by Rebecca Fletcher.