Kara Tointon

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Kara Tointon
Kara Louise Tointon

(1983-08-05) 5 August 1983 (age 36)
Basildon, Essex, England
Years active1994–present
TelevisionEastEnders (2005–2009)
Strictly Come Dancing (2010)
Mr Selfridge (2015–2016)
The Sound of Music Live (2015)
The Halcyon (2017)
Partner(s)Marius Jensen (engaged)
RelativesHannah Tointon (sister)

Kara Louise Tointon (born 5 August 1983) is an English actress, best known for playing Dawn Swann in BBC soap opera EastEnders, as the 2010 winner of BBC television series Strictly Come Dancing and as Maria in the ITV live production of The Sound of Music Live in December 2015 alongside Julian Ovenden as Captain von Trapp.

Early life[edit]

Tointon was born to parents Ken (b. 1948) and Carol Tointon (1957-2019).[2] Together with her actress sister, Hannah (born 1987), Tointon was brought up in Leigh-on-Sea. Both sisters attended St Michael's School, Leigh, and St Hilda's School, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex.[2] Tointon was diagnosed with dyslexia at age seven.[2] She had speech and drama lessons at school. For about one year when she was a teenager, she dated James Bourne of the bands Busted, Son of Dork, and McBusted.


Early work[edit]

Tointon's first professional acting experience came when she played the part of Brigitta in The Sound of Music at the Cliffs Pavilion. Her first appearance on television was as an extra in EastEnders in 1994, when she played a school friend of Sonia Fowler. She played the part of student Pauline Young in 2001's first series of Teachers on Channel 4. She also starred in BBC's Curriculum Bites as a presenter in 2002.[3]


In June 2005 it was revealed to the press that she would be joining the BBC soap EastEnders as a new character, Dawn Swann. Tointon auditioned for EastEnders at the same time as Tiana Benjamin, Matt Di Angelo, Kellie Shirley and Charlie Clements all auditioned for their respective roles. Tointon left EastEnders, along with co-star Ricky Groves, on 27 August 2009.[4]

She co-starred with then partner Joe Swash in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Bristol in the 2009/2010 pantomime season.

Don't Call Me Stupid[edit]

In July 2010, she recorded a documentary for BBC Three called Kara Tointon: Don't Call Me Stupid. The programme examined the impact dyslexia can have on people's lives and the difference different learning styles can have on people with dyslexia. Tointon revealed that she suffers from dyslexia, and has a reading age of 12.[5] During the programme, Tointon visited Shapwick School in Somerset, which specialises in the education of pupils with dyslexia, and talked with the pupils about their experiences.[6]

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

Sport Relief Edition[edit]

In 2008, Tointon won the Sport Relief special edition of Strictly Come Dancing with Mark Ramprakash. Her samba was enough to get her the Glitterball Trophy.

Series 8[edit]

Peppermint-coloured ballroom dress worn by Tointon in the 2010 series of Strictly Come Dancing, which she won. Displayed at BBC Birmingham, it features "net underskirts, heavily stoned bodice and ribbon detailing".

In September 2010, it was announced that Tointon would be appearing as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing Series 8, this time partnered with Artem Chigvintsev.[7] The pair achieved good scores in the first five weeks of 30, 32, 31, 32 and 37. In week 5, Tointon was awarded the first 10 of the series by Alesha Dixon for her Pasodoble. In week 6 she was top of the leaderboard with her Salsa. She also had good scores for the next five weeks of 36, 38, 35, 34 and 38. In week 11, she got her highest score of 39 for the Viennese Waltz and Rumba and got the maximum 5/5 for the swing-a-thon. Tointon made it to the final along with Matt Baker and Pamela Stephenson, where she made it to the final two, then went on to win and be crowned champion beating Matt Baker and his partner Aliona Vilani.[citation needed]

Week # Dance/song Judges' score Result
Horwood Goodman Dixon Tonioli Total
1 Cha-Cha-Cha / "I Like It" 7 8 8 7 30 N/A
2 Foxtrot / "From Russia With Love" 7 8 9 8 32 Safe
3 Quickstep / "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" 8 8 8 7 31 Safe
4 Charleston / "Put A Lid On it" 8 8 8 8 32 Safe
5 Paso Doble / "Phantom Of The Opera" 9 9 10 9 37 Safe
6 Salsa / "Conga" 9 9 9 9 36 Safe
7 Argentine Tango / "Los Vino" 9 9 10 10 38 Safe
8 American Smooth / "Cry Me a River" 9 6 10 10 35 Safe
9 Jive / "Runaround Sue" 7 9 9 9 34 Safe
10 Tango / "El Tango De Roxanne" 9 9 10 10 38 Safe
11 Viennese Waltz / "Stop!" 9 10 10 10 39 Safe
Swing / "In the Mood" N/A N/A N/A N/A 1st/5 Points
Rumba / "Samba Pa Ti" 9 10 10 10 39
12 Rumba / "Samba Pa Ti" 9 10 10 10 39 Winners
Showdance / "Don't Stop Me Now" 9 9 9 9 36
Waltz / "If You Don't Know Me By Now" 9 9 10 10 38
American Smooth / "Cry Me a River" 10 7 10 10 37

West End theatre[edit]

In May 2011, Tointon played Eliza Doolittle in the West End production of Pygmalion at the Garrick Theatre. She received fantastic reviews[citation needed] for the Philip Prowse production of the well known play which opened on 25 May and ran until 3 September. Her co-stars were Rupert Everett and Dame Diana Rigg.

Kara played what The Guardian’s Michael Billington called "a luminous and refreshing" Eliza to Rupert Everett's Professor Higgins "capturing perfectly the arc of [her] development". Whatsonstage similarly picked up on the spirited chemistry the leads seem to share; "[Kara's] remarkably assured on the stage, blessed with malleable good looks and tremendous lung power, and she makes Eliza a truly feisty opponent to Everett’s self-obsessed, grandiloquent Higgins."

In The Telegraph,[8] Charles Spencer celebrated Kara's "warmth and vulnerability" marking her out as "an actress of truly great potential" while the Daily Express's Paul Callan said "the role of Eliza is a challenge for any actress and Miss Tointon faced it with skill and charm".

In 2012 Kara was cast as Evelyn in Alan Ayckbourn's West End revival of Absent Friends, a play he wrote and set in 1974. She appeared along with Reece Shearsmith, Katherine Parkinson, Steffan Rhodri, Elizabeth Berrington, and David Armand at the Harold Pinter Theatre, a Sonia Friedman production directed by Jeremy Herrin. Michael Billington of The Guardian wrote, "All the performances in this production are finely judged. Kara Tointon has just the right broodiness as the edgy Evelyn, who is like a comic version of the young mother in Edward Bond's Saved".

She then played Giny in Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking, a four handed comedy set in 1965 with Felicity Kendal, Jonathan Coy, and Max Bennett at the Wyndham's Theatre in the summer of 2013. Tim Walker for his review in The Telegraph said, "Tointon, for her part, gives an intelligently nuanced performance as the beautiful, but profoundly flawed Ginny... There are few more exciting actresses now working on the West End stage".

Selected stage credits[edit]

  • Pygmalion, Garrick Theatre, London, 2011
  • Absent Friends, Harold Pinter Theatre, London, 2012
  • Relatively Speaking, Wyndhams Theatre, London, 2013
  • Gaslight, Touring Production - various cities in England, 2017
  • Twelfth Night, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, 2017–18
  • The Man in the White Suit, Theatre Royal Bath and Wyndham's Theatre, London, 2019

Other work[edit]

In August 2009, she was unveiled as the new face of Michelle for George underwear at Asda.[9]

In February 2011, Tointon took part in the BT Red Nose Desert Trek for Comic Relief 2011.[10]

In September 2011, it was announced that Kara would play a lead role in the new film Last Passenger acting opposite Dougray Scott and directed by Omid Nooshin.[11]

Tointon played the part of Maria in The Sound of Music Live in the UK, broadcast on 20 December 2015.[12]

From November 2017, Tointon has been playing the role of Olivia in The Royal Shakespeare Company production of Twelfth Night.[13]

Personal life[edit]

In September 2014, Tointon took part in the Great North Run to raise money for Share A Star, a charity set up to help severely unwell children and teenagers.[14]

In November 2018, Tointon gave birth to her first child, Fray, a boy, with her fiancée, Marius Jensen.[15]


Year Title Role Notes
1999, 2004–2005 Dream Team Gina Moliano
2001 Teachers Pauline Young 8 episodes
2001 Never Play with the Dead Victoria
2002 Harry and Cosh Gabby 14 episodes
2002 Dinotopia 18-year-old Le Sage
2003 Boudica Poppaea
2004 Keen Eddie Sarah Friedman
2004 Mile High Geneveve
2004 The Football Factory Tameka
2004 The Fete Lizzie
2004 America Or Busted Herself
2005–2009 EastEnders Dawn Swann Series regular; 337 Episodes
2010 The Bill Ami Ryan 1 episode, "Duty Calls"
2010 Strictly Come Dancing Herself Winner
2010 Kara Tointon: Don't Call Me Stupid Herself Main role; reality series
2011 Bedlam Leah Cole 1 episode, "Driven"
2011 Ideal Herself 1 episode
2012 The Sweeney Megan Barret Main role
2013 Last Passenger Sarah Barwell Main role
2014 Lewis Erica Stoke 2 episodes
2015–2016 Mr Selfridge Rosalie Series 3 & 4
2015 The Sound of Music Live Maria UK version of The Sound of Music Live! broadcast 20 December 2015
2016 Let's Be Evil Tiggs Main role
2017 The Halcyon Betsey Day
2017 Henry IX Serena
2018 RSC Live: Twelfth Night Olivia Special
2018 Great Performances Maria 1 episode
2018 The Keith & Paddy Picture Show Kate Beringer 1 episode
2019 The Crystal Maze Herself 1 episode


  1. ^ "Kara Tointon moves back in with her parents". The Daily Telegraph. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Dad's pride in his two TV star daughters". Echo-news.co.uk. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  3. ^ BBC. "Strictly Come Dancing 2010 - Celebrities - Kara Tointon". Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  4. ^ ""Tointon, Groves to be written out of 'Enders", March 26, 2009, Kris Green, Soaps Editor, Digital Spy". Digitalspy.co.uk. 26 March 2009. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
  5. ^ https://metro.co.uk/2010/07/28/eastenders-kara-tointon-reveals-dyslexia-battle-in-bbc3-documentary-461368/
  6. ^ "TV star Kara Tointon films documentary at Shapwick School". Bridgwater Mercury. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  7. ^ "Kara Tointon to star in Strictly Come Dancing". Tv.sky.com. 20 December 2010. Archived from the original on 12 September 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Pygmalion, Garrick Theatre, review". The Daily Telegraph. 2 May 2011.
  9. ^ https://www.famemagazine.co.uk/kara-tointons-strictly-lingerie/
  10. ^ "Kara Tointon - Red Nose Day 2011". Comic Relief. Archived from the original on 27 February 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  11. ^ "Everett sings Tointon's praises"
  12. ^ Allfree, Claire (21 December 2015). "The Sound of Music Live, review: 'much to enjoy'". Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ "Kara Tointon for Share A Star at the Great North Run". Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  15. ^ https://www.entertainmentdaily.co.uk/news/kara-tointon-exhausted-as-she-shares-breastfeeding-pic-with-newborn-son/

External links[edit]