Actor, rapper and stand-up star Richard Blackwood will make his EastEnders debut during the show’s 30th birthday celebrations next month.

The iconic soap will screen a 30-minute live episode in its anniversary week - and all episodes in the same week will include live elements.

‘EastEnders is a show I’ve grown up watching so to film on Albert Square is something I’ll never get used to,’ said Blackwood, whose past roles include a turn in Shrek The Musical.

‘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!’

EastEnders bosses have been tight-lipped about Blackwood’s role, confirming only that he will play a villain in what is tipped to be an ‘explosive’ storyline.

‘Richard Blackwood has always been on our EastEnders wish list - and now the perfect part has come along,’ executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins said.

‘[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,’ he added.

Richard will replace ‘Nasty’ Nick Cotton as the show’s bad boy, in the week the iconic character is set to be killed off.