EastEnders star Ricky Norwood has revealed coming from a deprived area encouraged him to fight against society’s low expectation for him to become a successful actor.

The soap star – who plays Arthur ‘Fatboy’ Chubb and has written episodes of spin-off show E20 – took part in a Q&A session for young people at the BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra Hackney Academy, where he was asked if coming from a deprived area made it harder to become an actor.

Ricky said: “Not at all. I think it gives you more fight. I’m from Forest Gate, they expect me to be a shotter [drug dealer] and they expect me to have 12 babies at the age of 17. I love to prove people wrong.”

He continued: “So I would take that upon you, because you’re from this area, you know more than most, let me tell you. Your life experience is bigger and better than most of them. So don’t be a product of your society, ascend your society and show people that you can bring them in.

“That’s why I’m here. I’m showing you. I’m from round the corner. I didn’t go to drama school. I did after school club theatre, and then I went to college, and then I got out there and started writing for myself, and then I got an agent. It’s all about you, do it for you, and you can do it.”

Co-star Tameka Empson, who plays Kim Fox, told the audience nothing would be handed to them on a plate, but they could achieve anything if they worked hard.

She said: “For me there was really no limits, there was never a doubt for me. I think regardless of where you come from, you don’t have to be there. If it’s something that you want to do, you just have to get up and do it.”