Jake, you’re famous for playing love rat Max Branning in EastEnders – do you hope that by doing Strictly, fans will see you’re a nice guy really?
“Absolutely! This show takes you out of your comfort zone and gets you doing something different, so the audience will see I’m nothing like Max. Plus, it’s a welcome distraction to be doing something cheerful – Max can be pretty miserable.”
Has your former EastEnders’ co-star Scott Maslen – who came fourth in Strictly in 2010 – been giving you any advice?
“Scott was so positive about his Strictly experience and encouraged me to do it, so he helped me make my decision in many ways.”
We saw you in the group dance on the Strictly launch show a few weeks ago, but you’ll be doing your first proper dance with your pro-partner Janette Manrara. Has Scott been helping you with your training?
“Yeah. We’ve been doing the waltz around his kitchen – he’s a very good mover.”
We have to ask… are you looking forward to wearing all the tight costumes and sequins?
“Now I’ve signed up for Strictly, I know that it’s part and parcel of the show. I’m up for it all… I say bring it on!”
How do you think you’ll be able to juggle Strictly with your work on EastEnders?
“We’ll be filming the many endings to the Lucy Beale murder investigation in the run-up to Christmas and I think Max is quite involved throughout that period. Then we’re building up to EastEnders’ 30th anniversary, so it will be a busy time. Luckily, the Strictly studios are close to where EastEnders is filmed in Elstree, so I’ll only have to walk down the road!”
Strictly Come Dancing returns on Friday September 26 and Saturday September 27 on BBC1.