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Richard Blackwood had crush on Gemma Atkinson

Richard Blackwood had crush on Gemma Atkinson

EastEnders' Richard Blackwood used to have a crush on 'Emmerdale's Gemma Atkinson.

The 43-year-old actor, who portrays Vincent Hubbard in the BBC One soap, feels "privileged" to be up against the blonde beauty - known for playing Carly Hope in the ITV show - for the Best Newcomer at next week's National Television Awards (NTAs) as he used to have a soft spot for her.

Asked if he's been keeping an eye on his competitors since the shortlist was announced, he said: "The irony for me is that I used to fancy Gemma! I feel privileged to be in the same category. I know they're all really good at what they do.

"I haven't just watched them because I now realise I'm in the same category as them, I've watched them prior to that. I admire their work. I believe I'm in a worthy category."

But the handsome star feels even more pressure to do well following the soap's success at last year's ceremony.

He told Yahoo! Celebrity: "'EastEnders' did so well at the last NTAs. That was when I actually joined, and I was sitting with the cast in the same row as Maddy Hill when she won Best Newcomer. I remember her face when she won and I was like, 'Wow, this is so real.' She was blown away by it.

"Then a year later, it's like, wow, now it's me. Just like that it happened as well. I'm nervous about that."