EASTENDERS icon Kara Tointon has vowed never to return to the show and voiced her fears that the nation’s beloved soaps could soon be a thing of the past.
The actress, 39, who played bubbly Dawn Swann from 2005 to 2009, is amazed by just how memorable her character remains over a decade after she left Walford.
Kara, who is currently filming new Carrie Grant biopic Archie for ITV, said: “Every year I get asked about it. It’s the thing I’m most known for, that I was most watched in, but I really enjoy doing lots of other things so I can’t see it, no.”
After Neighbours was axed earlier this year due to falling ratings, Kara fears more soaps might struggle to compete in the current TV market where viewers get hooked bingeing boxsets on streaming services.
And EastEnders is in dire trouble after viewers dipped as low as 1.4m in June this year. Research from Broadcast magazine showed that EastEnders' 16-34 age group viewership fell from 1.3 million people in 2017 to just 447,000 this year.
Kara worries that soaps churn out too many episodes for people to fit them into their busy lives and viewing schedules.
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She said: “You can’t catch up because things are moving so fast. It’s so lovely what they achieve, the serial dramas. To do the amount of work they do, in a short period of time and just keep going is quite a feat.
“It’s an amazing production line but I think they could take it back to two times a week and have more time to… You wonder how things are going and how long those serial dramas will sustain.”
With her two young sons Frey, 3 and Helly, 1, Kara admits that even she has turned off because she simply doesn’t have time to keep up with the fast-paced plots.
She said: “I’m in a time where I’m not watching as much as I would ordinarily because I’m in bed by 9 o’clock if I’m run off my feet so I watch entertainment when it suits me and when I can.”
Kara does still love watching Strictly Come Dancing though and reminiscing about her 2010 win with her then boyfriend Artem Chigvintsev.
But she can’t believe an incredible 12 years have passed since she was on the show and her winning dances are disappearing from the internet to be replaced by newer ones.
Kara laughed: “I feel like now I'm sort of retro Strictly. The Blackpool archive has been eliminated so I can't even look at the one dance I quite enjoyed.
“I love this time of year I think weirdly September and autumnal vibes would not be the same if Strictly wasn't there. I love watching it, especially the initial stages when you just don’t know where it’s going to go.
“That’s the beauty of the show, it’s not about the dancing, it’s about getting to know someone and their journey. This is the first year I don’t know anyone who is doing it.”
Kara, who last year split with her fiancé Marius Jensen, is currently making her big return to acting in ITV’s new drama Archie filming alongside Dame Harriet Walters.
Kara plays the younger version of Carry Grant’s mum Elsie Leach, while Dame Harriet will play the older version.
Kara’s thrilled to be back in a plum role, especially after the disappointment of her last big ITV show The Halcyon being cancelled after just one series in 2017. It had been originally optioned for five outings.
Kara confided: “That's quite a sore story. I felt so wounded because it was meant to cover five series for the length of the war. And just as we were about to start filming series two they cancelled it and I was so gutted because I thought it deserved to have a second series… you need a series to bed in and sort out the problems… But that is the way the cookie crumbles.”
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Acting isn’t Kara’s only passion – she’s also created a storytelling app called Tell which allows families to record their own audiobooks, tell their own stories and share memories with relatives.
The TELL Storytelling app is available to download from the App store and Google Play www.tellapp.com
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