‘I used to be 16 stone’: Keanu Taylor actor Danny Walters reveals how fitness changed his life

Danny Walters EastEnders Keanu Taylor
(Image credit: BBC / Kerion McCarron)

EastEnders star Danny Walters has revealed that getting himself physically fit has had a huge impact on his health and wellbeing.

It’s not easy trying to tie Danny Walters down for a chat. Right now, the gorgeous hunk, who plays Keanu Taylor in EastEnders, is preparing for the truly arduous Rat Race: Dirty Weekend, which takes place in the grounds of Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire, over the weekend of 11-13 May. Consequently, he’s out training at every possible opportunity.

“It’s a very tough,” he told Soaplife. “It’s not my first event of this kind. I’m not a novice. Previously I’ve conquered Adidas Thunder Run 24, Tough Mudder and Rough Runner. However, Rat Race will definitely be the hardest one I’ve signed up for. It is a 20-mile run, interspersed with 200 obstacles! Say no more!”

But we want to hear lots more, Danny!

EastEnders star Danny Walters, who plays Keanu Taylor, talks to Soaplife

Soaplife: Never mind the run, what kind of obstacles are we talking here?

Danny Walter: “Monkey bars, wading through mud, swimming across a lake, zip wires, crawling under netting, clambering over haystacks, balancing logs on your shoulder. There’s a real variety. It could be anything – from easy to really hard. The organisers like to mix it up. I like the prospect of that, too. It’s exciting not knowing quite what to expect and what we’re going to get.”

Danny Walters

S: Are you taking part on behalf of a charity?

DW: “Yes – Children with Cancer. I came across the organisation when I was looking at the Rat Race website because Children with Cancer UK is affiliated with the event. I read about some of the kids suffering from and living with this terrible disease, and I was really upset by it. I wanted to do something to help raise awareness of the charity and the fantastic work they do, and to raise some funds, too.”

S: Apart from helping to raise awareness of - and funds for - such a good cause, why do you like taking part in events like this?

DW: “I like to challenge myself, and to push myself more and more each time I do something. I’m a very physical, active kind of guy. Doing it for Children’s Cancer UK gives it an added dimension, though. It gives me real motivation and purpose.”

S: So, what’s your training schedule like?

DW: “It’s tough. I’ve been training for a long time and almost every day, sometimes twice a day. I do body building, cross sticks and I go on long runs. Training isn’t that specific because we don’t exactly know which obstacles will be there. I also make sure I eat the right nutrients to support what I’m doing. My personal trainer, Harry Smith, has helped me out loads with my training and nutrition.”

S: What kind of food do you eat when you’re in training mode?

DW: “I eat a macronutrient diet, which mean I count the amount of carbs, fats and proteins I eat and adjust my calorie intake accordingly. It’s about maintaining my weight and I eat a lot to achieve that – energy bars, protein bars, chicken and rice, and lots of ice-cream!”

S: You must be very fit!

DW: “I am now. I certainly wasn’t when I was about 15 or 16. In fact, I weighed 16 stone! I knew I had to change something about myself and I discovered fitness. It changed my life – and not just physically. Being fit gives me a real sense of well-being and it makes me feel mentally strong.”

S: What kind of time are you aiming for in the Rat Race?

DW: “That’s a tricky one. I don’t know what to expect with regards to the obstacles. I’m running with five other guys, including Harry, and, having discussed it, we reckon it should take around six hours. Running a straight 20 miles wouldn’t take as long, but it wouldn’t be nearly so much fun. I’m really looking forward to getting to Stamford. There’ll be a great buzz and vibe, and we’ll all be motivating each other. Nothing’s going to stop me or get in my way. I’m going to smash the course and do it in the best time I can – for the fantastic cause I’m doing it for.”

S: You’ve had just the best year in EastEnders, haven’t you?

DW: “I couldn’t have hoped for better and winning Best Newcomer at the National Television Awards in January was just incredible. I feel so fortunate, so honoured and I’ll never ever take it for granted. I didn’t become an actor for the fame, the glamour or to get an award, though. It’s all about the acting for me. That’s all I care about.”

S: So, you’re still enjoying playing Keanu Taylor?

DW: “I’m loving it. He’s a really fun character with lots of dimensions to him and there’s still a lot to discover about him.”

S: Are you anything like him?

DW: “I think there are elements of yourself in any character you play. His dodgy dress sense definitely isn’t me, though! When I’m not in my gym or running gear, I like to wear suits.”

For more details on the race and supporting the charity, please visit: www.childrenwithcancer.org.uk/get-involved/events/dirty-weekend


Rachel Lucas
Forward Planning Deputy Manager

Rachel is a soaps and TV writer for WhatToWatch.com, soaps podcaster and resident soap expert for UK TV listings magazines What's On TV and TV Times. After graduating with an art and design degree from Birmingham City University, she found her true calling in all things soap and has been writing about them for magazines and websites for over 20 years. A self-confessed soap addict, she's always had a great love of all the UK and Aussie soaps and owns everything from a Neighbours 1990 Annual to a DVD box set of classic Corrie episodes to prove it.