'EastEnders' star Kacey Ainsworth: 'Strictly can wreck an actor's career'

Kacey Ainsworth (Credit: Hello)
Kacey Ainsworth (Credit: Hello)

EastEnders actress Kacey Ainsworth has said that, rather than enhancing an actor’s profile, Strictly Come Dancing can wreck a perfectly good career.

Ainsworth starred as Maureen ‘Little Mo’ Mitchell in the show from 2000 to 2006, and now stars in ITV period detective drama Grantchester.

“It’s a great programme but it does shut more doors than it opens and it’s crazy, because you wouldn’t think that, but it does,” she told the TV podcast Series Linked.

“You wouldn’t get any roles. You’d end up doing My Celebrity Dog’s Wotsits Are Bigger Than Your Celebrity Dog’s Wotsits.

“I’ve had lots of friends who’ve said doing reality really flatlined their careers.”

She added that it could help if stars wish to make the move towards the West End, but in general, reality shows come with a curse.

“Unless you want to do musicals and stuff and no one’s ever seen you do anything like that before and you can sing, then that’s great,” she went on.

“I only say that because I’ve had lots of friends who’ve been on it and they’ve all said to me that doing reality shows, not necessarily just Strictly, but doing reality shows has really flatlined their careers.”

(Credit: BBC)
(Credit: BBC)

She won plaudits for her role as Little Mo in EastEnders, who suffered abuse at the hands of husband Trevor (played by Alex Ferns) winning a British Soap Award in 2002, and a National Television Award.

But though Ainsworth left the show in 2006, she says that she’s found it difficult to shake off its legacy.

“It’s a funny thing about EastEnders, they don’t want you to leave there. You can get away with it if you come from Corrie,” she said.

“So Sarah Lancashire, Suranne Jones, they never put ex-Corrie. But people like myself and Tracy-Ann Oberman who’ve left EastEnders and created extensive careers outside, we’re always with that moniker.

“But it doesn’t bother me that much. I don’t know whether there’s a snobbery. You always get the feeling that there’s a bit, I remember one BBC executive saying to me, ‘You’ve got ideas above your station’. I remember thinking to myself, ‘What station is that? What do you mean’.”

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