Kara Tointon on how she'll take on Maria in The Sound of Music Live

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She's set to play one of the biggest characters in the musical world – Maria from The Sound of Music – and she'll be doing it live. But Kara Tointon knows of one way she'll cope with the pressure.

"I think I'll just go into a trance," said Kara. "I always end up giggling for an hour before I go on. Then I think once I'm on there, I'll just enjoy it because there's no point in not enjoying it. You'll always regret it if you don't.

"We have such beautiful sets, I think it'll be easy to immerse myself in the performance. I'll simply become Maria for a couple of hours."

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Kara Tointon plays Maria in the live broadcast version of The Sound of Music

Kara will play the much-loved nun in the new musical drama adaptation The Sound of Music Live!, which will be broadcast on ITV on Sunday 20 December. Asked about the prospect of the live element, the EastEnders star admitted it was "obviously the scariest part".

"But equally that's what will make it fresh and like a theatre piece," said Kara. "You take the audience right from the beginning through to the end without having to stop and start. That's what makes it exciting. It'll be like going to a night at the theatre, but from your home."

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Starring opposite is Julian Ovenden, who plays Captain Georg von Trapp

Naturally, the musical will open with The Sound of Music, the song Kara has found the most challenging.

"It's not actually a hard song, but because it's simple you feel quite exposed," she explained. "With the others they just sort of lilt along, and you can go with them with the movement, but that one feels very exposed. It's the scariest one."

Joining her on set is Julian Ovenden, who plays Captain Georg von Trapp, and Katherine Kelly, who plays Baroness Elsa Schraeder. Like Kara, Katherine is finding the live element a challenge.

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"On the night, the adrenaline will be surging through us," said Katherine Kelly

"I did the 50th anniversary episode of Coronation Street live, but that was very different," said Katherine. "I'd been there for four years, and I knew the sets and the crew so well. I didn't feel the same pressure.

"Let's just say that in this production there's so much which can go wrong that's beyond your control. If you drop a line in the theatre, you can usually find a way round it.

But you can't do that as easily on television – you're in the hands of too many people. So you just have to suck it up and hope for the best. But on the night, the adrenaline will be surging through us, and I'm sure it'll be amazing!"

The Sound of Music Live airs Sunday 20 December from 7.30pm, live on ITV.

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