No Mistry as Crouch End star Strictly hopes to waltz to victory

“Team Flavistry” ready to shimmy onto our screens with local supporters behind them

MEETING giggling Strictly Come Dancing pair Jimi Mistry and Flavia Cacace on a break from training at a Crouch End gym, one thing’s for sure – they’re ready to rock… and cha-cha-cha and foxtrot and pretty much take on any task this competition will throw at them.

While training is enjoyable, says the star of film and TV, it’s also proving tough and the support he is getting from his fellow Crouch Enders and fans all around the world via social networking site Twitter is helping the couple gain confidence.

“It’s a whole different thing this social networking – we’ve got a Twitter group started up called Team Flavistry, we really like that,” says Jimi.

“It’s amazing people are doing all these things – it’s good for confidence and knowing there are people out there backing you.”

Jimi moved to the area a decade ago and says he hopes north London will be backing him.

“We want people to get behind us – we’re training here and obviously I live here,” he says. “I’ve lived here a good 10 years so I definitely feel it’s home. My daughter goes to school up the road, I go to pubs here, I use the area.

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“I know things change in areas, money comes in and house prices go up but we’ve managed to keep this real kind of kooky community at the centre of it and Crouch End’s always been like that and I hope it will continue.”

Jimi first hit screens in EastEnders in 1998 and ever since has been a steady presence on worldwide cinema screens, first starring in Brit-flick East is East and Hollywood films such as The Guru, 2012 and Blood Diamond.

Now he says he is hoping to apply the techniques he uses on film sets to the live primetime shows.

“The two things are similar in the way I would always work really hard before I would start something, getting into character and accents and all that, but when you get on set the key is just being able to relax and letting it all come.

“So hopefully it’s the same technique translating that to this, although the work itself, in a short space of time, is quite crazy stuff.

“You would like to think you get there on a Saturday, you can use the same technique, relax, just let it all do the talking, smile and do your thing, but because the intensity of the work is very out of my usual thing, it’s all about nerves. It’s live too, so there’s no retakes.”

Flavia agreed adding: “It’s really early days, we’ve made a good start on the cha-cha-cha and next up we’ve got foxtrot.

“But it’s difficult because in the past it’s gone really well at the beginning and the closer you get to the live show it deteriorates so there’s always a chance things can start off really well, but then doesn’t happen on a Saturday.

“The important thing is it would be great to find somebody who actually genuinely enjoys that Saturday night experience, so hopefully it can be an enjoyable night.”

At the time of interviewing “Team Flavistry” were the bookies’ third favourites – perhaps down to Jimi having prior form, dancing in several of his movies?

He shrugs. “I’ve always danced – I’ll be the first one on the dance floor anywhere, but that’s not in front of a live studio audience on a national TV show.”

Hot on his tail is EastEnder Scott Maslen. “They’re training Kentish Town, Highgate way, so there is a little north London rivalry going on,” says Mistry when pushed.

“I don’t know who’ll do best – I think it just depends who can hold their nerve.”

Jimi says he’s received support from several north London fellow celebs, such as West End star Tamsin Outhwaite and former Oasis band members.

But he also hopes his neighbours in Crouch End get behind him – for several reasons.

“I’m going to bring a lot of hard work, a lot of smiles and lot of personality. “And I’m going to make her look good,” he laughs.