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Kara Louise Tointon (born 5 August 1983) is an English actress, best known for playing Dawn Swann in BBC soap opera East Enders, as the 2010 winner of BBC television series Strictly Come Dancing and as Maria in the ITV live production of The Sound of Music Live in December 2015 alongside Julian Ovenden as Captain von Trapp. For about one year when she was a teenager, she dated James Bourne of the bands Busted, Son of Dork, and Mc Busted.
Tointon's first professional acting experience came when she played the part of Brigitta in The Sound of Music at the Cliffs Pavilion.
The programme examined the impact dyslexia can have on people's lives and the difference different learning styles can have on people with dyslexia.
Tointon revealed that she suffers from dyslexia, and has a reading age of 12.
She then played Giny in Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking, a four handed comedy set in 1965 with Felicity Kendal, Jonathan Coy, and Max Bennett at the Wyndham's Theatre in the summer of 2013.
Tim Walker for his review in The Telegraph said, "Tointon, for her part, gives an intelligently nuanced performance as the beautiful, but profoundly flawed Ginny...
In 2012 Kara was cast as Evelyn in Alan Ayckbourn's West End revival of Absent Friends, a play he wrote and set in 1974.
She also had good scores for the next five weeks of 36, 38, 35, 34 and 38.She also starred in BBC's Curriculum Bites as a presenter in 2002.In June 2005 it was revealed to the press that she would be joining the BBC soap East Enders as a new character, Dawn Swann.Kara played what The Guardian’s Michael Billington called "a luminous and refreshing" Eliza to Rupert Everett's Professor Higgins "capturing perfectly the arc of [her] development".
Whatsonstage similarly picked up on the spirited chemistry the leads seem to share; "[Kara's] remarkably assured on the stage, blessed with malleable good looks and tremendous lung power, and she makes Eliza a truly feisty opponent to Everett’s self-obsessed, grandiloquent Higgins." In The Telegraph, Charles Spencer celebrated Kara's "warmth and vulnerability" marking her out as "an actress of truly great potential" while the Daily Express's Paul Callan said "the role of Eliza is a challenge for any actress and Miss Tointon faced it with skill and charm".She then went on to appear in New Tricks, and had an uncredited part in the film Just My Luck as a concert goer, along with sister Kara.