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Strictly star Emma Barton is taking a break from EastEnders

The actress has made it to the semi-finals of Strictly with partner Anton du Beke

Gemma Strong

Emma Barton has danced her way into the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final, all the while still rehearsing and filming for her day job on EastEnders. But the star is soon set to take a break from the BBC soap, having confirmed her place on the Strictly Come Dancing live tour. Emma is set to travel across the country for around five weeks as she performs to live audiences with her fellow celebs. The 42-year-old has been partnered with Graziano Di Prima, rather than her current Strictly partner Anton du Beke, and will join the likes of Catherine Tyldesley, Alex Scott, Kelvin Fletcher and Saffron Barker on the road. Her commitments to the tour will mean she has to take some time out from EastEnders – but she's not the first to do so. Emma will be following in the footsteps of both Jake Wood and Davood Ghadmi, who both took a break from Albert Square to perform with the Strictly stars.

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Emma Barton and Anton du Beke have wowed on Strictly Come Dancing

Emma has previously spoken about how she juggles her Strictly rehearsals with filming for EastEnders, telling the Sun: "I guess there have been weeks at the beginning of the competition where we have had more time. You still want that extra day. You still want those few extra hours. You just have to work with what you are given," she said. "I work really hard. Anton works really hard. I have said this before, I am on two of the biggest TV shows on the BBC. I'm a very lucky girl."

MORE: Strictly Come Dancing's Emma Barton shares a look inside her beautiful home

Her hard work has certainly paid off. Emma and Anton have wowed viewers and the judging panel with their spectacular dance routines – and have even been tipped for victory by Shirley Ballas. Appearing on Sunday Brunch at the weekend, Shirley conceded that Anton hasn't fared well in past series of Strictly, but said she feels this year he has a partner capable of claiming the Glitterball trophy. "He's creative and he goes out there and gives his best, and I think he's shone with this young lady, Emma," she said. "What I feel he's done this time is take it really seriously and he's shown the audience exactly what he can do… I wouldn't be surprised if he's in the final and maybe, possibly could win. We will have to see!"

MORE: Strictly star Anton du Beke shares sweetest video of his twins dancing!

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