Strictly finalist Emma Barton says she’ll feel like a pop star when she performs in Scotland’s biggest arenas – but it’s the EastEnders star’s parents who are celebrities when she’s at home.
Emma, who plays Honey Mitchell in the soap, reached last month’s final of the BBC ratings winner and is part of the Strictly Live tour coming to Aberdeen this week.
“I’ve never performed in an arena before, so I’m going to feel like Madonna or the Spice Girls when I hear the noise the audience makes,” Emma smiled.
“My lovely parents were so proud and they became celebrities themselves because they came along to every show in the series and were on screen each weekend.
“They go to their local supermarket now and it takes them twice as long to do the weekly shop as it did before Strictly, because people recognise them and want to talk.”
The 42-year-old actor says her Strictly experience has given her a new confidence for dancing – have previously left theatre behind because she didn’t think she was a good enough dancer.
“There was a part of me that never really enjoyed dancing before,” she admitted. “I didn’t think I was good enough at it and that’s why I came out of theatre and into TV about 15 years ago.
“I thought, enough’s enough, I’m not good enough. But since doing the show, to learn all those skills and to go out there in front of a live audience, the judges and millions of viewers, if I can do that I can do anything, and it made me fall in love with dancing again.”
Emma doesn’t know yet if she will follow past Strictly winners like Joe McFadden and Joanne Clifton back into musical theatre.
“I trained in theatre and love performing live, but I also love my job at EastEnders and can’t wait to go back.”
Having been partnered with Anton du Beke in the series, Emma is now dancing with Graziano di Prima, because Anton is preparing for his own tour.
“I feel a blooming lucky girl, having had the King of Ballroom and now this fantastically talented Italian who is a lot younger than me – although I nearly cried when I found out I was 18 in the year he was born!”
As well as Aberdeen this week, Strictly Live will come to Glasgow’s SSE Hydro in February and Emma, having been to Scotland on theatre tours several times over the years, is looking forward to returning north.
“In the past, I’ve had battered haggis and battered Mars Bar, but I won’t be eating those this time, surrounded by all of these beautiful dancing girls,” she added.
Strictly Come Dancing Live, P&J Live Arena, Aberdeen, Tues-Wed, SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Feb 1-2