Actor's Smooth move into Strictly
Mark Benton is ditching the comedy routines to go for a change of pace with a serious American Smooth on this week's Strictly Come Dancing.
The Waterloo Road actor, 47, is donning a tuxedo for his ballroom number with professional partner Iveta Lukosiute in week three of the competition after his comic turn with an Austin Powers-themed salsa last week.
He said: "I'm going quite posh this week, I've got a tuxedo. We've done a bit of comedy so I just wanted to change it up a bit and we're doing the American Smooth so it's more serious than we've done before. It doesn't lend itself to my sort of bizarre humour.
"I've found it quite hard actually because I look at other people and think that looks quite easy, but like with all the dances suddenly you realise how difficult they are.
"To make it look easy it's a lot of hard work. It's quite slow and you have to hold moves and glide out of them. You've got to watch the lines and footwork."
It's Love Week on Strictly with a romantic theme to the dances, but Mark joked about Iveta: "We've been arguing more."
He continued: "She really tailors the dances for my ability. I like to think we're a real team."
Mark, who has just finished a stage run in musical Hairspray, said he found it easier to learn dances where he was in character because of his acting background.
He said: "I'm never going to be the best dancer in the competition but I've got to use what I can do. You've got to act anyway when you're dancing so I like to use it. I've found when I get a little story and then I can get a character, it all helps with the dance.
"What I've found hard in Strictly is being myself, to be honest. When I'm acting I'm always somebody else but on Strictly this is me. I like to hide behind the character."
He admitted it was tough to say goodbye to Tony Jacklin, who was the first contestant to leave this year's competition: "The elimination show in 24 years of acting is the most stressed I've ever been. What people maybe don't realise is how sad it is. It's such an intense experience that you get really close really quickly."
Sir Bruce Forsyth is expected to return to the show this week after missing last Saturday's programme as a result of a bout of flu.