Kara Louise Tointon (born 5 August 1983) is an English actress, best known for playing Dawn Swann in BBC soap opera EastEnders. Tointon was the 2010 winner of BBC television series Strictly Come Dancing.
Early life[edit source | edit]Edit
Tointon was born to Ken and Carol in Basildon, Essex. 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. Tointon was diagnosed with dyslexia at age seven. She had speech and drama lessons at school.
Career[edit source | edit]Edit
Early work[edit source | edit]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.
EastEnders[edit source | edit]Edit
Almost a month after her last Dream Team episode aired, 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.
Don't Call Me Stupid[edit source | edit]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. 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. Tointon was taught various line learning and organisational techniques by Dyslexia Tutor Claire Salter.
Strictly Come Dancing[edit source | edit]Edit
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. 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.
Performances[edit source | edit]Edit
|Week #||Dance/song||Judges' score||Result|
|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 source | edit]Edit
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 May 2011, Tointon played Eliza Doolittle in the West End production of Pygmalion at the Garrick Theatre. She received fantastic reviews 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.
In the Telegraph, 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”.
Other work[edit source | edit]Edit
Personal life[edit source | edit]Edit
Tointon ranked #66 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women poll in 2010.
Filmography[edit source | edit]Edit
- The Sweeney (2012) - Megan
- Last Passenger (2012) - Sarah Barwell
- Ideal (2011) - Herself (Episode 1, Series 7)
- Bedlam (2011) - Leah - Episode '2'
- Kara Tointon: Don't Call Me Stupid (2010) - Herself
- Strictly Come Dancing (2010) - Herself (Winner)
- The Bill (2010)
- EastEnders (2005–2009) - Dawn Swann
- Strictly Come Dancing (Sport Relief) (2008) - Herself (Winner)
- Just My Luck (2006) Uncredited, along with sister Hannah, most likely to be herself
- America Or Busted (2004) - Herself
- The Fete (2004) - Lizzie
- The Football Factory (2004) - Shie/Tameka
- Mile High (2004) - Geneveve
- Keen Eddie (2004) - Fred Friedman
- Boudica (2003) - Poppaea
- Dinotopia (2002) - 18 year old Le Sage
- Harry and Cosh (2002) - Gabby
- Never Play with the Dead (2001) - Victoria
- Teachers (2001) - Pauline Young
- Dream Team (1999, 2004–2005) - Gina Moliano