James Bye feeling 'added pressure' on Strictly after last 3 EastEnders stars made final

James Bye is feeling 'added pressure' on Strictly credit:Bang Showbiz
James Bye is feeling 'added pressure' on Strictly credit:Bang Showbiz

James Bye says there is "added pressure" on his 'Strictly Come Dancing' stint because the last three of his 'EastEnders' co-stars competing on the show have made the final.

The 38-year-old star - who plays Martin Fowler on the BBC One soap - isn't aiming to win the upcoming 20th series just yet, but admitted he has big shoes to fill on the dance floor after Rose Ayling-Ellis (Frankie Lewis) won last year's 'Strictly', and Maisie Smith (Tiffany Butcher) and Emma Barton (Honey Mitchell) reached the final in the 18th and 17th series respectively.

Asked if he has his eye on winning the Glitterball trophy, he said: "At the moment, not really. I'm just in it to have as much fun as possible.

"I’d love to get to Blackpool, then you can say you really gave it a good go. There is also the added pressure that the last three people from EastEnders have been in the final!"

James admits he was "really proud" of his best pal and former 'EastEnders' star Davood Ghadami (Kush Kazemi) when he saw him competing on 'Strictly', and was so impressed watching Jake Wood (Max Branning) and Rose flourish on the programme.

He said: "My best friend, Davood Ghadami was on the show years ago, and I came to watch and he was great. I remember him doing the Paso Doble and that did look good. At the time I wound him up about it, but I was really proud of him.

"Also Jake Wood, when he did the snake hips to 'Mambo No. 5', that was a million miles from Max Branning.

"I’m aware I’ve kept this very EastEnders focused, but I can’t not mention our reigning champion Rose from last series, when the music dropped I think she brought the nation to tears. It was beautiful and she is such an incredible human being."

James has also been inundated with 'Strictly' advice from several of his 'EastEnders' co-stars, including Brian Conley (Tom "Rocky" Cotton), who told him to "just go with it" throughout the series.

He said: "When I was announced I had lots of people calling me, Brian Conley, Tameka Empson and obviously Davood.

"The advice to be honest, was pretty much the same and it was just enjoy yourself and embrace it.

"It's completely different to anything else. I think Brian’s words were, 'You're never going to have an experience like it, so just don't miss a beat, just go with it,' and I'm really going to hold on to that."