EastEnder: Richard Blackwood is Albert Square's new villain just as Nick Cotton departs
EastEnders is to get an explosive new villain in the same week that Nasty Nick Cotton is finally killed off.
Comedian, singer, DJ and former MTV host Richard Blackwood, 42, starts filming in Albert Square for live episodes to mark the BBC soap's 30th anniversary next month.
His exact role is secret but insiders told the Sunday People it is "explosive" and he's poised to become a larger-than-life new villain.
Funnyman Richard, step-brother of supermodel Naomi Campbell, made his name hosting MTV's music show Select in the 90s.
He had a No 3 single in 2003 with his song Mama Who Da Man.
Richard made a brief appearance in TV hospital drama Holby City and recently played Donkey in a West End production of Shrek.
Calling the role an "amazing opportunity" he said: "EastEnders is a show I've grown up watching so to film on Albert Square is something I'll never get used to.
"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."
Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins said: "Richard has always been on our EastEnders wish list - and now the perfect part has come along.
"He'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.
The show, first broadcast on February 19, 1985, is celebrating its big anniversary with one fully live 30-minute episode and other live segments throughout the week.
The killer of Lucy Beale will finally be unmasked and long-term bad-boy Nasty Nick Cotton (John Altman) will be murdered. His long-suffering mum Dot Branning (June Brown) will shock everyone when she confesses to the killing.
Sources say one episode will be a flashback to Good Friday last year when viewers will see exactly how and why Lucy died. In the same week her father Ian Beale will remarry ex-wife Jane.
Show favourite Barbara Windsor will also be back as Peggy Mitchell and Jo Joyner as Tanya Cross as part of the celebrations.