Inside EastEnders Ricky Champs life – lookalike daughter and co-star bond

EastEnders' Stuart Highway is left devastated this week after being diagnosed with male breast cancer in the BBC soap.

After visiting the doctor about a rash on his chest, the funeral parlour worker receives the devastating diagnosis.

Opening about the hard-hitting storyline earlier this week, Stuart actor Ricky Champ said: "I feel honoured to be trusted with such an important storyline.

"We will see Stuart really struggle with the fact he has cancer, and to learn that it’s breast cancer is really difficult for him to understand.

"I hope by shedding a light on male breast cancer, more men will be aware of it and seek out a doctor if they notice anything wrong."

Since stepping onto the square, Stuart has become a fan favourite character, with actor Ricky Champ nominated for the National Television Award for Most Popular Newcomer in 2019.

It was a busy year for Ricky, with further nominations at The British Soap Awards, which included Best Newcomer and Villain of the Year.

Despite being nominated for Villain of the Year, Ricky has a close bond with one of his EastEnders' co-stars, had a secret role in the soap over 10 years ago and regularly shares sweet snaps of his family life with his lookalike daughter.

Secret soap role

Long before he was tough guy Stuart Highway, Ricky had another secret soap role in EastEnders that viewers might remember.

Back in 2009, he first stepped onto Albert Square as a paparazzi photographer, trying to take some snaps of Sam Mitchell (Daniella Westbrook).

However, when Sam Mitchell became mad at him, he fled from the Queen Vic never to be seen again.

Life before Stuart

Ricky has had a long career on both stage and screen, starring in productions such as A Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet.

He also starred in major Hollywood films including Paddington 2 and The Worlds End, along with roles in programmes including Doc Martin, Casualty and Plebs.

Ricky also played Gathins in Game of Thrones, but is most fondly remembered for his role as Paul Parker in the BBC Three sitcom Him & Her.

Talking about working with stars including Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani on Him and Her, Ricky told the BBC: "While we do have fun and a joke, everyone works hard.

"It's quite an intimate set, it's quite an intense working environment, and everyone has a wonderful sense of humour!

Co-star bond

Despite trying to destroy the Carter Clan following his arrival on Albert Square in 2019, Ricky has a close off-screen bond with Mick Carter actor Danny Dyer.

Danny Dyer even arranged a surprise for Ricky and his dad recently, after seeing Ricky's many tweets about his favourite football club.

Ricky is a huge Man United fan and in September, Danny surprised him by taking Ricky and his dad to the Man United match against West Ham in London.

He posted a photo of the three of them on social media, saying in the caption: "Massive thank you to the big man himself @officialdannydyer for sorting out this amazing day for me and my dad. Great game, great atmosphere."

Lookalike daughter

Outside of Albert Square, Ricky often shares sweet snaps of his family life with wife Samantha, daughter Beatrice and their adorable sausage dog.

Ricky married Samantha Gilbert on August 12 2016, and daughter Beatrice was born the following year.

Four year old Beatrice is a lookalike of dad Ricky in family photos taken on a day out on the farm in Essex, with the cute photos showing father and daughter holding animals including rabbits.

Fans noticed the resemblance in the photos, with one saying: "Lovely photo, your little girl looks like you. She's such a cutie".

Another fan said: "Such a beautiful family, Ricky!"

Stunning home

Ricky also shares photos of his stunning home on social media, which has recently been renovated and features a beautiful kitchen, complete with wooden country farm style cupboards and lots of space for the family.

The gorgeous bathroom also features a cream, free standing bath tub besides white tiles, adding an extra touch of grandeur to the already stunning home.

Daughter Beatrix also has a cute, animal themed room, complete with toy tigers, orange walls and a tea set on a child's wooden table.

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday on BBC One

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