Hollyoaks actor Richard Blackwood has revealed he was once mugged at knifepoint and, on a separate occasion, threatened with a gun.
The 50-year-old star told the Mirror he hopes that the soap will be able to do justice to the issue of knife crime in a forthcoming storyline.
He said that the Hollyoaks writers and producers have worked with charities and organisations in order to allow them to approach the story in "a serious manner" and explore it responsibly.
"A lot of these young kids are going through it right now, so we want to let them know we hear them and know what they are going through," said Blackwood.
He added: "When I was 17, I got mugged at knifepoint. Unfortunately, knife crime has been going on for years. When the knife got pulled on me it was like a sword."
Blackwood said his son was also targeted by a knife-wielding mugger when he was 11 years old — he is now 21 — and commented that he would get a cheaper phone than the iPhone he had at a time.
The actor added: "He had to adapt to what was going on in the street and go 'I’m going to make myself less of a target'. My son came through it though and I’m very proud of him."
Decades after he was mugged with a knife, Blackwood was threatened with a gun outside a West End club and had to return to the venue a week later to do a DJ set.
He said that he understands why many young people refuse to call the police after experiencing violence involving knives.
The former EastEnders actor said: "You just want to be as far away from the situation as possible.
"The right thing to do is call the police, but there is so much adrenaline and you just want to be as far away from that spot as possible."
Blackwood rose to fame in the late 1990s as a stand-up comedian, fronting The Richard Blackwood Show between 1999 and 2001.
His career struggled after the cancellation of the show and Blackwood has spoken about how he tried to take his own life after filing for bankruptcy in 2003.
In 2015, he joined the cast of EastEnders as Vincent Hubbard and was killed off a few years later.
Blackwood subsequently competed on Dancing On Ice and then joined the cast of Hollyoaks in 2020 as bad boy Felix Westwood.
Teasing the character on Good Morning Britain, he said: "You'll find through the story there's things that have happened that conditioned him to be the way that he is.
"He's a bit desensitised from emotion in that sense. When he interacts with people, you can see that. You've got to play the truth of why they became that way."
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