Strictly’s Karim Zeroual recalls his EastEnders part – 'I was the old Ben Mitchell’s best friend!'

Strictly star Karim Zeroual, who was in EastEnders
(Image credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

'The Queen Vic was wicked'

CBBC star Karim Zeroual is currently waltzing away on Strictly Come Dancing, but a very long time ago he had a role in EastEnders.

Yep, way before landing his CBBC gig, Karim had a small part on EastEnders in 2006 and he tells us he remembers the experience fondly.

“It’s not a massive credit! I grew up watching EastEnders and I still find it really weird working with Emma Barton on Strictly because I used to watch her on the show.

“I did one episode when I was young – it was a speaking part and I was the old Ben Mitchell’s best friend, Ali.”

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And Karim remembers that one of his favourite memories of his brief stint on EastEnders was getting to work alongside Walford legend Barbara Windsor.

“I got to work with Barbara, so it was incredible, and seeing The Queen Vic was wicked for me.”

Strictly Come Dancing Karim with partner Amy

Karim dancing a salsa with his Strictly partner Amy: 'I absolutely loved doing the salsa with all the booty shaking [in week five to Who Let the Dogs Out] - that was the first week I was less nervous because it was a party dance'. (Image credit: BBC)

Meanwhile, Karim is getting stopped by younger and older fans now he’s on Strictly.

“Before, my viewers were mainly children, but now being on Strictly a lot of people are supporting me, which is great. They talk to me when I’m doing my daily shop. I still go shopping in Aldi – keeping it real.”

Karim is a youthful 25, but some people seem to think he’s even younger. “Yes, I’m 25 but lots of articles say I’m 19 for some reason. People do think I’m younger because I’m a kids’ presenter and I look about 10 years old – I guess it’s good for longevity.”

Watch Karim on Strictly Come Dancing this weekend on BBC1.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!