Familiar faces pop up in EastEnders all the time, but it's a little-known fact that this current Walford actor was also in the soap NINE years ago...

EastEnders star Ricky Champ, who is better known to soap fans as evil Stuart Highway, hasn’t always played a character with a nasty streak.

It might surprise even the most eagle-eyed fans to know that Ricky has been in EastEnders before in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him role back in 2009.

Eastenders - Stuart Highway played by Ricky Champ

Ricky Champ is best known to soap fans as Walford’s Stuart Highway

The actor played a photographer from the local paper, bought into The Vic to take pictures of Sam Mitchell – played at the time by actress Danniella Westbrook – after she won the newspaper’s Miss Queen Vic competition.

The fact that Ricky, who would go on to join the show as Stuart earlier this year, has filmed scenes in the landmark Walford pub before won’t be lost on EastEnders fans.

Little did Ricky know that nine years later he would be back on the same set, filming his character getting shot in the very same place!

In the clip that’s just over a minute long, actor Ricky can be seen snapping away with his camera while Sam Mitchell poses for the camera.

The scenes even includes Albert Square legend Barbara Windsor in her role as the amazing Peggy Mitchell – who of course was Sam’s mum in the soap.

Sam is clearly enjoying her moment in the spotlight, loving the compliments she is getting from Ricky’s character, until he puts his foot in it by suggesting she was brave too enter the beauty pageant considering her age.

EastEnders Stuart Linda Carter

These days Ricky plays a much more sinister character…

Sam doesn’t take kindly to the fact the photographer has insulted her and soon turns on the Mitchell charm by suggesting her two older brothers would have come to teach him a lesson in manners if they’d been there.

By this point in the clip Ricky’s character can’t get out of the pub quick enough… if only the actor knew he would be returning nine years later!

EastEnders airs Monday and Friday at 8pm and Tuesday and Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.

Picture credits: PA Archive/PA Images and BBC / Kieron McCarron. Video credits: YouTube and BBC Worldwide