'It was all too much, too soon': EastEnders newcomer Richard Blackwood admits £75k spending sprees left him homeless and friendless

He's back on our screens as Albert Square's latest villain Vincent Hubbard.

And comedian Richard Blackwood says the role has been a real lifeline for him after years spent trying to rebuild his career and credibility following the foolish excess of his youth.

The 42-year-old star achieved fame and fortune in his early 20s, but soon found himself at rock bottom when his excessive spending sprees and flash behaviour robbed him of his home, his career and his friends.

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New beginnings: Richard Blackwood is grateful for his new role in EastEnders after blowing his shot at fame and fortune the first time around 

New beginnings: Richard Blackwood is grateful for his new role in EastEnders after blowing his shot at fame and fortune the first time around 

Richard admits he got caught up in the showbiz lifestyle and used money as a way to prove his worth to his peers, once buying a £75,000 Jaguar 'just because I could', despite already owning a Mercedes.

The South London actor's out of control spending resulted in him being evicted from his home in 2002 aged just 30, and his so-called friends turning their back on him, something he wasn't prepared for.

He told the Sunday People: 'When people go bankrupt today it's not deemed as anything bad but when I went bankrupt in 2002, it was more like you were blacklisted.

Out of control: The 42-year-old comedian says excessive spending was his biggest 'vice' in his 20s and cost him everything he had 

Out of control: The 42-year-old comedian says excessive spending was his biggest 'vice' in his 20s and cost him everything he had 

'The phone stopped ringing, work dried up, showbiz friends avoided me.... Perhaps they felt I needed putting back in my place.'

Now opportunity has come knocking again with a role on prime time BBC One soap EastEnders, Richard is determined not to blow his second chance.

He revealed he is incredibly grateful to show executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins, who took a chance by offering him a long-term contract, which is virtually unheard of for a soap newcomer.

Richard, who has a 14-year-old son called Keaun, has been welcomed with open arms by his new co-stars, especially soap stalwart Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell).

He also got in touch with ex-EastEnders star John Altman, who played Nasty Nick Cotton, for advice about dealing with abuse from viewers in the street aimed at his villainous alter-ego.

MailOnline has contacted a spokesperson for Richard Blackwood for comment.  

Grateful: Richard is thankful to soap executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins for casting him as villain Vincent Hubbard

Grateful: Richard is thankful to soap executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins for casting him as villain Vincent Hubbard

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