Who knew THIS current Walford villain had been in EastEnders before?

EastEnders sign - legend of show joining Holby City
(Image credit: PA Archive/PA Images)

Familiar faces pop up in EastEnders all the time, but it's a little-known fact that this current Walford actor was also in the soap NINE years ago...

EastEnders star Ricky Champ, who is better known to soap fans as evil Stuart Highway, hasn't always played a character with a nasty streak.

It might surprise even the most eagle-eyed fans to know that Ricky has been in EastEnders before in a blink-and-you'll-miss-him role back in 2009.

Eastenders - Stuart Highway played by Ricky Champ

Ricky Champ is best known to soap fans as Walford's Stuart Highway

The actor played a photographer from the local paper, bought into The Vic to take pictures of Sam Mitchell - played at the time by actress Danniella Westbrook - after she won the newspaper's Miss Queen Vic competition.

The fact that Ricky, who would go on to join the show as Stuart earlier this year, has filmed scenes in the landmark Walford pub before won't be lost on EastEnders fans.

Little did Ricky know that nine years later he would be back on the same set, filming his character getting shot in the very same place!


In the clip that's just over a minute long, actor Ricky can be seen snapping away with his camera while Sam Mitchell poses for the camera.

The scenes even includes Albert Square legend Barbara Windsor in her role as the amazing Peggy Mitchell - who of course was Sam's mum in the soap.

Sam is clearly enjoying her moment in the spotlight, loving the compliments she is getting from Ricky's character, until he puts his foot in it by suggesting she was brave too enter the beauty pageant considering her age.

EastEnders Stuart Linda Carter

These days Ricky plays a much more sinister character...

Sam doesn't take kindly to the fact the photographer has insulted her and soon turns on the Mitchell charm by suggesting her two older brothers would have come to teach him a lesson in manners if they'd been there.

By this point in the clip Ricky's character can't get out of the pub quick enough... if only the actor knew he would be returning nine years later!

EastEnders airs Monday and Friday at 8pm and Tuesday and Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.

Picture credits: PA Archive/PA Images and BBC / Kieron McCarron. Video credits: YouTube and BBC Worldwide

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.