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Richard Blackwood to join cast of EastEnders next month

EASTENDERS VILLAIN: UK comedian and actor Richard Blackwood will join the cast EastEnders next month

COMEDIAN AND actor Richard Blackwood will join the cast of EastEnders next month, it has been revealed.

The 42-year-old will play a new villain on the long-running soap and will make his debut in a live scene during the BBC1 soap's 30th anniversary week in February.

"EastEnders is a show I've grown up watching so to film on Albert Square is something I'll never get used to," Blackwood said. "To know my first ever scene will be a live one hopefully means the team believe in me and I won't let them down!”

Blackwood rose to prominence presenting dating show, Singled Out, and chart show, Select - alongside fellow presenter June Sarpong - on popular music channel, MTV.

His single Mama Who Da Man? shot to the top of the charts in 2000 and his follow-up hit, Get With The Wicked, enjoyed the same success.

Though he took a brief hiatus from national television, he remained heavily involved in the comedy circuit and on stage.

In 2010, he played Brightie in the Tennessee Williams play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, alongside Adrian Lester and James Earl Jones at the Novello Theatre in London, both actors were said to be honored to share the stage with Blackwood.

The following year, he played the role of Donkey in the West End production of Shrek the Musical alongside Amanda Holden, Nigel Lindsay and Nigel Harman. The production opened at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Eastenders' executive producer, Dominic Treadwell-Collins said of the show's new signing: "Richard Blackwood has always been on our EastEnders wishlist – and now the perfect part has come along. Richard’s an authentic Londoner and a terrific actor, bringing with him warmth, humour and energy which will add so many layers to this 21st century EastEnders villain.

"The status quo in the Square is about to be well and truly shaken…”

EastEnders's 30th birthday is to be marked with a week of episodes that will all feature live elements, with the anniversary date itself - 19 February - boasting a full 30-minute live episode. Past stars Barbara Windsor and Jo Joyner are also set to feature during the week.

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