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I AM NNONUTTER; The latest Scot on The Square promises he's not EastEnders' new Trevor.

Byline: Rick Fulton, Showbiz Editor

EASTENDERS new Scot Robert Cavanah promises he'll be more of a housewives' favourite than a nutter. Albert Square's last Scot wasTrevor Morgan, played by Alex Ferns, who terrorised his wife Little Mo.

But Edinburgh-born Robert says his new characterTommyGrant is more of a ladies' man, although he doesn't want to be a sex symbol.

However, after starring inWuthering Heights in 1998 and more recent stints in shows like Rose andMaloney, SilentWitness andMurder In Mind, he's already getting fan mail.

Robert, 37, said: 'Nigel Harman bares the brunt of the sex symbol responsibility and I'm sure it mustbe tough.

'I'm not looking to take over the sex symbol tag because Nigel is younger than meand fills that role.

'Maybe I'm being naive but, as I'm in my late thirties, I think I'll appeal to a different audience.

'AlthoughTommy comes into the soap dating a much younger girl, they aren't going for the obvious letch.

'If anything,Tommy will endup as a housewives' favourite.

'Although I was only on screen for the first time this week, I've already had some fan mail.'

Robert has been filming for more than two monthsandknowsmore about the plot than he'll let on.

But judging by his first scenes which were aired this week, his character looks more like one ofWalford's randy Romeos.

LecturerTommy turned up at Andyand Sam's wedding this week asVicki's boyfriend. But at 38, he's 20 years older than Den Watts' daughter, played by Scarlett Johnson, and the relationship splits the family.

Vicki's brother Dennis, played by Nigel, and sister Sharon, played by Letitia Dean, are disgusted at the age gap.

They think Robert's old enough to be Vicki's dad, but they mustbeblind.

HunkyRobert doesn't look anything like the wrinkly, baggy-faced Den, who is less than pleased whenhe finds out about Tommyand his daughter.

Robert said: 'I worked with Leslie Grantham for the first time this week. 'I really enjoyed it.

'I've read all the stories about himand you don't know what to expect. But he's great.'

And contrary to reports, Robert claimed the cast aren't cold shouldering Leslie for the internet porn scandal or his name-calling of cast members.

'They aren't giving him a hard time,' he said. 'By the time these things come out, they've assimilated the newsandmoved on. 'Leslie is so much part of it. You couldn't have EastEnders without him.'

Robert, who is also well-known for his Glenmorangie Glen ofTranquillity adverts, reckonedTommy is a different kind of character from the usual Square residents. He joins a long line of strong Scots characters in EastEnders.They include Ross Davidson (Andy O'Brien), Forbes Masson (Rodney Morris), Alex Ferns (Trevor Morgan), Gerard Kelly (Jimmy), Claire Grogan (Ros Blackwell) andCaroline Paterson (Ruth Fowler).

Robert said: 'My character isn't obviously Albert Square material.

'He's a part-time lecturer in fashion and is quite stylishly dressed - like Bryan Ferry, jazzy and elegant.

'I think they initially wrote the character to be in his late forties or fifties to make it shocking. But when I cameon board, they've gonedown a different route.' Robert admitted that he never saw himself acting in a soap.

Although he's only in it for 16 episodes and has twoand a half weeks of filming to go, he would love to do it for longer. Insiders at EastEnders seem to bemore than happy with himandhe's endeared himself to the cast and crew as affable and a good companymember.

'I could never imagine myself as a regular on EastEnders,' he said. 'But now I'm here, I can't see why I couldn't be.

'I wouldn't sign my life away and definitely want to do the Robert Burns film next April with Gerard Butler.

'But I'd definitely sign up for a year if it was offered.

'Just imagine - before you know it I'll have kissed half ofWalford, including Den behind the QueenVic.'

But at the momentTommy's datingVicki. Robert admits Scarlett is lovely, but only 19 and he's never been interested in dating anyone quite as young.

He admitted: 'My benchmark is that if they are below 30 I get nervous because I'm worried they haven't got anything to talk to me about.

'The kissing and cuddling is fine, but then you'll go 'Remember that amazing track by SpandauBallet' and they'll go 'Who?' 'ROBERT is single at the moment and going through a painful divorce, so EastEnders has come at a good time in his career.

He has made steady progress with memorable parts in Cracker,Wuthering Heights as Heathcliff, Charles II, Silent Witness, Rose andMaloneyand as anMI6 agent inTombRaider: Cradle Of Life.

He's also directed episodes of Brookside and his own short films, including Soldier's Leap.

The producer ofWuthering Heights is now producing EastEnders and invited himon the soap.

He admitted hehadn't seen much of EastEnders over the years because he's always on the go.

But his mumCarol,who lives outside Dunbar, East Lothian, is a huge fan.

He said: 'The sad thing is that this is possibly the thing that's got her most excited in anything I've done.

'But I've seen bits of it from the verybeginning as mymum is a huge fan. It was surreal meeting the actors who have been there from the start.

'But an even bigger moment was walking on the Square.

'It's a legend in itself and you remember so many people passing through it.'

The regulars have already warned him about the attention he'll receive.

'It is terrifying but they seem to rally around,' he said. 'My first scene was with Letitia Deanand she was so hilarious and full of energy.

'Everyone has mademe feel so welcome. Being at the weddingwas a real baptism of fire. I just put myheaddown, kept mymouth shut and got on with it.'

But he laughed at suggestions EastEnders was struggling.

'I directed some of Brookside a couple of years ago at a time when it was really struggling under the weight of being a bag of s***.

'Whereas with EastEnders, if you believe what is written about it going through a tough patch, I always get the impression it'll bounce back.'

Robert, with his easy-going charm, could be just what the soap needs to get a bit of pizzazz back into the Square.

The actor is a bit of beefcake, but at school was called 'the cripple kid' because his right leg was badly injured when he was run down crossing the road to meet his father. At first, doctors thought he'd be in a wheelchair for life, then callipers.

But Robert has defied the odds and, although he can't run very well, makes up for it with a buffed-up top half.

Robert is one of life's MrPositives, but he's had a lot of heartache too.

He has two children to different women but has split with both of them.

'For 11 months, I've been going through a separation with my wife Kathryn which will very soon end in divorce,' he said.

'It's not been a joy and I didn't want it. 'But as long as wedo the right thing by our son, it'll be alright.'


PEW VIEW: Vicki and Tommy at the EastEnders wedding
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 18, 2004
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