emma barton

Emma Barton's career transformation: From EastEnders to Strictly Come Dancing

The actress is a pantomime queen!

Aisha Nozari

EastEnders actress Emma Barton has wowed the judges week after week with a little help from her partner, Anton du Beke. Seeing as she's such a natural on the dancefloor, it may not surprise you to hear that the 42-year-old has had plenty of stage experience in the past. But panto and EastEnders aside, what did Emma's journey from drama school graduate to Strictly star look like? We investigate…

Emma Barton graduated from Guildford School of Acting in 1998

Emma graduated from the Guildford School of Acting in 1998. Other notable graduates include Bill Nighy, Joanna Sawyer and Hollyoaks Jake Hendriks.

guildford school of acting

Emma Barton landed a role in Spooks, 2003

That's right, before she landed her infamous EastEnders role, Emma played the part of an MI5 officer in cult BBC crime show, Spooks. The show aired between 2002 and 2011, and ran for an impressive ten seasons. Spooks followed a group of MI5 officers who were based at London's Thames House headquarters.

emma barton posing for camera

Emma Barton was cast as Honey Mitchell in EastEnders, 2005

To this day, the actress is best known for her incredible portrayal of Honey in the BBC soap. From her marriage to Billy Mitchell to being knocked down by a car just before giving birth, Emma's character has certainly kept us on our toes, and Walford just wouldn't be the same without her.

honey mitchell on square

Emma Barton left EastEnders, 2008

In April 2008, it was reported that Emma's character had been axed from EastEnders. In September that same year, Honey ended her marriage to Billy and moved away with her children to live with her father Jack. Two years later, in 2010, it was revealed that Honey and her father Jack had been in a car crash, and although her father died, Honey survived, hinting that a return to Albert Square might be on the cards.

honey and billy mitchell

Emma Barton starred as Snow White in Marlow Theatre Canterbury's pantomime production, 2008

And what a fine Snow White she made! During this time, the actress met presenter Stephen Mulherne, who was also in the festive production. The two started dating and were together until 2011.

marlowe theatre

Emma opened two BreastHealth clinics in Birmingham, 2008

At the time, Emma had recently lost a friend to the disease, and knew the importance of regular check-ups. The actress explained: "I recently lost a friend who had suffered twice with breast cancer. When you lose someone like that, it really makes you aware of the importance of looking after yourself and being alert to any changes in your body. I also lost a college friend a few years ago, who was only 27 years old."

The facilities meant that more women across the Midlands had access to state-of-the-art breast care.

Emma Barton temporarily returned to EastEnders, 2014

Emma returned to the square for a short while during 2014, however, was unable to commit to a permanent return as she was playing Dolly in the National Theatre's production of One Man, Two Guvnors.

honey mitchell holding flowers

Emma Barton became an ambassador for Locks Heath Pumas Rugby Club in Fareham, 2014

In a move that hoped to promote the profile of the club, the actress took on ambassadorial roles for the rugby club - after all, she was born in neighbouring Portsmouth!

locks heath pumas rugby

Emma Barton appears on Celebrity MasterChef, 2014

2014 was a busy year for Emma, who also appeared on the celebrity edition of the popular cooking show. Speaking about her in the famous kitchen, Emma told TV Times: "Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared in my whole life walking into the MasterChef kitchen. At least on EastEnders you’re given a script. With this, I’m in costume – my chef’s whites – but don’t have any lines to say! I’m totally out of my comfort zone"

master chef logo

Emma Barton returned to EastEnders full time, 2015

Honey walked back onto the Square for good!

Emma Barton announced she will be running the London Marathon, 2019

To kick off the new year, Emma revealed that she would be running the London Marathon alongside other EastEnders co-stars for a dementia charity in honour of Barbara Windsor.

emma barton runs marathon

Emma Barton joins Strictly, 2019

In July, Strictly Come Dancing revealed the first three celebrities to take part in the 2019 show, and Emma was one of them! 

At the time, Emma gushed: "As possibly one of the biggest Strictly fans on the planet, I still can’t believe this is happening. I’m very much a dance around your handbag kinda girl, but now I've been given this wonderful opportunity to learn all the different styles of dancing from the very best in the business. So, I’m whipping off Honey's “Minute Mart” tabard & diving right in to all the glitter & sparkle. From Albert Square to the Strictly dance floor - I just can’t wait!"

emma barton strictly

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