Ricky Grover, who of course plays The Lovable Hulk Andrew Cotton in EastEnders, has told The Sun’s TV Biz that his long and varied career – which has seen him go from ladies’ hairdresser to boxer to actor – has been “Not too bad for the remedial kid from Canning Town.”
Ricky, who’s suffered with dyslexia since he was a child, said, “I had an interesting start in life. My mum worked in a salon and my step dad was an armed robber.
“So naturally I became a hairdresser and a boxer. Problem was that the former would put you off when you were trying to do the latter.
“So I’d be squaring up to you in the ring, supposed to be all serious, but thinking ‘that perm’s a bit iffy. Those highlights could do with a bit of work’.
“It was too off-putting. I had to become a comedian…”
Ricky spoke to the paper while at Jongleurs Picadilly venue in the heart of London, where he’s helping to promote the Comic Star competition.
The paper adds, “Open to all forms of comedy – not just straight stand-up – the contest hopes to unearth an innovative genius.”
It was during Ricky’s days as a stand-up comedian that he received a big compliment from old-hand comic Bob Monkhouse.
Of that, Ricky explained he’d developed a character called Bulla, who was an imprisoned “cultural commentator”, and it was that character that brought him to Bob’s attention.
He said, “I was gonna give up comedy a few years ago, until I got a call out of the blue from Bob Monkhouse.
“He asked if I’d come down to An Evening With Bob Monkhouse. I thought ‘I don’t know Bob Monkhouse, he don’t know me. He must have me mixed up with Ricky Gervais or something’, so I blanked the message a few times.
“Then my PA called and said ‘Bob’s been on the phone, he really wants you there’. So I went with my wife sat there with a load of comedy legends.
“All of a sudden Bob Monkhouse said, ‘One of my heroes is here tonight, Ricky Grover’. I was looking around thinking, ‘this is a wind-up’.
“He came up to me afterwards and said how much he loved Bulla. He told me I had to resurrect him.
“So I did, and it got turned into the film My Big Fat Gypsy Gangster, and I landed a role in EastEnders.
“Not too bad for the remedial kid from Canning Town.”
Indeed it isn’t. Find out more about the Jongleurs Comic Star search by clicking here.