Former EastEnders star Dean Gaffney will tonight show he is bouncing back after his horrific car smash a fortnight ago when he takes his place among the stars taking part in Let's Dance For Comic Relief.

The actor, left with a nasty gash to his forehead after the accident, will join other soap stars to perform You Can't Stop The Beat from hit musical Hairspray.

Other performers braving the first night of the annual celebrity dance contest include boxer Ricky Hatton performing to Robbie Williams's Let Me Entertain You, and Radio 6 Music presenter Shaun Keaveny, who forms part of a trio of funnymen portraying Destiny's Child.

Gaffney, known to viewers for many years as Walford's Robbie Fowler, told earlier this week how he was lucky to avoid brain damage in the crash. He will be joined by Natalie Cassidy, Ricky Groves and Claire Sweeney for tonight's performance, which is part of this year's fundraising efforts for Comic Relief.

Last year's Let's Dance saw comedian Rowland Rivron crowned king of the dancefloor for his routine to Fatboy Slim's Weapon of Choice, which topped viewers' votes.

Other famous faces showing off their boldest moves for a good cause on the BBC1 show tonight will be Tim Vine and Olivia Lee, with Keaveny joined on his rendition of Bootylicious by comics Hal Cruttenden and Mark Dolan.

In the coming weeks there will be performances by Vanessa Feltz - to Cher's If I Could Turn Back Time - and comedy actress Nina Conti will perform to I Like To Move It.

The show is hosted by Alex Jones and Steve Jones, with 15 acts taking part in heats over three consecutive Saturday nights.

Alex Jones said: "I'm ridiculously excited to be back on Let's Dance. We have some of our best comedians as panellists, and an unbelievable line-up of brave celebrities who are all prepared to don their dancing shoes to raise lots of money for this year's Red Nose Day."

Celebrities will be judged each week by a panel which will include Frank Skinner and Jo Brand.

The final takes place on March 9, ahead of Red Nose Day on March 15 and money raised will go towards projects in the UK and Africa.