Former Coronation Street actress Tina O’Brien reveals how she’s fulfilling a lifelong dance dream by appearing on Strictly Come Dancing

What made you sign up for Strictly?
“I’ve always wanted to dance, but I’ve never really had the opportunity. At a young age, I had to choose to study either drama, dance or gymnastics. I chose drama, but I always thought it would be great if I could do dancing.”

Soap stars tend to do well on Strictly – how do you think you’ll measure up?<.>
“Oh, the pressure’s really on, then! I’m a total beginner, but I’m hoping that Jared [Murillo, one of Strictly’s new pros] and I will be fantastic together, so we’ll see. I don’t want to be out in the first week, though.”

How will you combine the dancing with your acting work?
“Well, I’ve finished Waterloo Road and all my TV work until the end of year, so I can concentrate on this, which is perfect.”

How have you been getting in shape for the competition?
“I’ve done nothing! I keep overeating and then saying: ‘Oh, it’s all right, I’m doing Strictly.’ The female pro-dancers have got fantastic figures and you think: ‘Wow, if that’s what dancing does, sign me up for four hours training!'”

What has training been like so far?
“It’s been so much fun. Before we were partnered off we’d only been doing group rehearsals – now they’re going to throw us to the lions!”

Will you be taking your daughter to watch you in rehearsals?
“Perhaps not the early rehearsals, but if mummy makes it far enough, then maybe. I’m really lucky that I’ve got a great family, so she’ll be well looked after while I’m dancing.”

Do you like wearing the fancy costumes on Strictly?
“I love the outfits! The seven-year-old in me is in heaven right now. The dresses always look so magical on TV, so I’m really enjoying wearing them. I hope I can sneak one home!”

*Strictly Come Dancing screens on Saturdays and Sundays on BBC1