Bobby Brazier says Strictly made him so famous he ‘wanted to get voted off’

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Bobby Brazier has said that the fame accompanying his Strictly Come Dancing stint made him secretly want to get voted off.

The 21-year-old actor and model, best known for playing Freddie Slater in EastEnders, was a finalist in the BBC dancing competition in 2023 alongside professional dancer Dianne Buswell.

While Brazier dazzled judges and viewers with his sharp dance moves, he has reflected on being in the spotlight each week and said he was secretly hoping to get voted off.

“I don’t want to be famous. Maybe I did when I was younger, but now I just want to act,” he told The Times in an interview alongside his father, Jeff Brazier.

“I went on Strictly because dancing makes me happy,” he continued.

“The more I learn about fame, the less I’m interested in it. There were a couple of weeks during Strictly when it got too much. I only felt peace when I came home to be with Freddie, Dad and Kate, my stepmum. I wanted to get voted off.”

Brazier and his partner Dianne Buswell on ‘Strictly’ (Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)
Brazier and his partner Dianne Buswell on ‘Strictly’ (Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)

Brazier added that he “loves his job” but predicts he will take a break from the entertainment industry in the future.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I love being on EastEnders and I love modelling. But I’ll probably take a break at some point. Just travel, get inspired, meet new people. Dad will understand. Who knows, he might come with me.”

Brazier and Buswell earnt praise for their American Smooth (BBC/Guy Levy)
Brazier and Buswell earnt praise for their American Smooth (BBC/Guy Levy)

During his time on Strictly, Brazier won over fans with his cheeky comments, unbreakable bond with Buswell, and slick dance moves. Judges – and viewers – were teary-eyed over his couple’s choice routine to the song “This Woman’s Work” by Maxwell, which was dedicated to Brazier’s late mother, the Big Brother star Jade Goody, who died in 2009 from cervical cancer.

His father Jeff had supported him throughout the process, and wrote on Instagram after the performance: “To share your grief even to just one person can be a daunting prospect but to express it so movingly in front of millions takes incredible courage, so thank you for your inspiration @bobbybrazier!”

Elsewhere in their joint interview, Brazier and his father reflected on the difficulties they faced as a family when Brazier began making trouble in secondary school as a teenager.

“Bobby was a joy up until 15 or 16, then he became a nightmare,” said Jeff. “A lot went on that I will never reveal – so many meetings at the school. The phone would ring and I’d think, ‘Oh, God, what’s he been up to now?’”

But Jeff said Brazier hit a turning point when he left school, which coincided with lockdown, and Brazier started practising meditation and grounding himself.

“I was able to watch him at close quarters. I was doing a lot of meditation and breathing work, reading a lot of books. And I could see Bobby pulling those same books off the shelf, asking all sorts of questions. He was going way beyond a basic interest in spirituality, he was searching for meaning.”

Brazier added that he looks back on that bad behaviour at school as a period of self-sabotage.

“There was a real low point towards the end of school. Dad was called into a meeting to talk about whether I’d be allowed to finish my GCSEs.”

“I’m not proud of that, but I think that desire for self-sabotage has always existed within me, like a smudge on my heart.”