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Matt di Angelo

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Matt di Angelo
He's been with EastEnders for just over a year and has just been nominated for sexiest male for a second year in a row at the British Soap Awards.

Walford's 19-year-old heart-throb Matt di Angelo sat down with a cup of tea to talk to about his nomination, his un-aired kiss with Chelsea - played by Tiana Benjamin - and what Deano will be getting up to in the coming months.

What does it feel like to be nominated for a sexiest male award for a second year running?
"It’s very flattering, of course, because someone thinks that I’m sexy. It’s just strange, it’s not anything too big really. You don’t feel anything huge."

You just missed out to Richard Fleeshman last year, didn't you?
"I don’t really know if I did just miss out, because they narrowed it down to eight of us. I wasn’t surprised not to win last year, really. Richard’s got a very big profile and he’s very well known."

What would it mean to you if you won?
"It’s not really something I look at as something I should be aiming for. I’m more of an actor. I’d like to be appreciated for that. It’s very flattering to be nominated for sexiest male, but it’s not the be all and the end all."

What's your mum said about it?
"I think she knows. I told her the other day and she was like ‘oh, okay’."

Do you try stay down to earth?
"Yeah, definitely. I think a lot to do with being in a soap or a drama is taking the rough with the smooth. Sometimes you get to go to a film premiere with some actors that you admire, and other times you get hassled trying to get a newspaper from a shop. You’ve got to take everything as it comes, it’s just part of the job."

You’ve been in the show for just over a year now, haven’t you?
"A year, three months, twelve days and forty-eight hours…"

Has it sunk in yet?
"I think there was a slight element of that when I first started, but you get used to it very easily. I had about seven pages of dialogue to remember, so [settling in] was one of the last things on my mind. I was more interested in learning my words. But I was working with some people I’d seen on screen since I was a kid and I was a bit confused. I was like ‘I know you, but I don’t.’ You fit in very quickly, and everyone gets on so well. It’s really enjoyable."

I believe you and Chris Fountain are best buds?
"Literally, we bumped into each other at an awards ceremony and that’s it. Someone asked me a really stupid question like ‘are you nervous about your competition [for sexiest male]’ - like a jockey in the Grand National - and I said ‘what do you mean?’ They replied ‘well, there are people like Chris Fountain up against you’. And I said ’if Chris wins, I’m going to borrow the award, and if I win I’ll let him borrow it'. It was a little joke, and people have been saying ‘Chris and Matt, best friends, they're going to move in together and share the award’."

So you’re not going to share the award then?
"If I win it, it will be staying with me. I’ll have full custody of it. It’s going to be on my mantelpiece next to my GCSE certificate - only joking."

How do you feel about being up against Charlie Clements and Rob Kazinsky? Have you spoken about it?
"It’s just been very normal. I’m not sure, really. [We haven’t spoken] a single word [about it]. I did say to Charlie ‘well done for being nominated for best actor’, because that’s a much more worthy thing to be nominated for. He said ‘cheers’. And I said ‘do you want a cup of tea?’ That’s literally all we talked about concerning the awards."

All the hype in the media, I’m surprised the cast don’t talk about it more?
"That’s the thing about the media though, isn’t it? They make everything seem much more exciting, dangerous or worse than it actually ever is. It makes everything more exciting for them."

I suppose you sometimes find things out after they’ve been in the media!
"Yeah, you’ll go out for a drink and it’ll turn into a ‘drunken night’. Everyone in the world goes out for a pint with their mates, but if we do it we’re going on a drunken booze-fuelled mad one. You think, how does that work out?"

Why does EastEnders deserve to win best soap?
"It’s a good show, I enjoy working there, I’ve had some interesting storylines and it’s still trying to tackle difficult subjects and get messages across. I don’t watch the others too much, but I do watch Hollyoaks when I can catch it on a Sunday."

Deano went off the rails a short while ago when he found out that Kevin wasn't his father – has he accepted it now?
"I don’t know. It’s difficult, because you just do what you’re told to do, even if you don’t agree with the way things would happen or anything like that. I’ve got other things I’m doing with the character… he’s got other things on his mind right now, but I don’t think you can ever forget about things like that.

"But at the same time, Kevin’s looked after him since he was a baby so why does that make him not his dad, just because he’s not his biological father? In my view, your father is [the person] who looked after you since you were born."

Do you think Deano will explore his real family tree or look for his real father?
"If they want to kill me off, probably! If I’m going to find my real dad, they’ve left it open for me to run away! There’s nothing planned, but I don’t think they will. It’s quite a good question, though. There is an element of curiosity but it's not his main priority. Shirley doesn't even know who his father is."

What's Deano's take on this mother?
"I think he’s very fond of his mum, he’s a bit of a big kid. He’s not the big tough guy, he’s not aggressive and he’s quite a placid guy. That’s because he does have this longing for a mum that he never had. Now she’s back, he’d like to get to know her."

Are there more secrets to come out?
"I don’t think so, no. I think they’ve got everything out in the open now. There isn’t really anything else you can do."

Deano's been in Walford now for just over a year. He's not had much luck with the ladies has he?
"He hasn’t, he’s a bit of a loser when it comes to the girls. We joke about this on set."

Who would you like to see him get involved with?
"I think it would be funny, because he’s quite quiet, if he went out with someone that was mouthy and loud. One of those ‘she wears the trousers’ kind of situations. Someone like Chelsea or Stacey. Someone quite lairy would be good for him."

You’ve not had a screen kiss, have you?
"I think I’ve had five slaps round the face, two car crashes, an attempted suicide, one kiss that was filmed but never aired, and one cab journey where I got out of a cab and I had to pretend that I’d just spent the night with someone. That’s about as far as it goes."

Who was the kiss with?
"It was with Chelsea."

So they went the other way with that storyline?
"Well, we filmed the kiss and a long scene where Deano successfully moved in for the kill, but for editing reasons they didn’t pick it up. You always catch a little glance from Deano to Chelsea because he does think she’s fit. Who knows if anything will happen there."

There were rumours doing the rounds that there was going to be a storyline in which Deano questioned his sexuality. How would you feel about such a storyline?
"[Laughs] Were there really rumours? Put it this way, I'd heard nothing about that. I think it'd just be a normal storyline to be honest. If it was needed and written properly then yeh, I'd probably do it. At the end of the day, that's what I get paid to do as an actor; be put in different positions and situations that are different from my real life.

"I take my hat off to those who have done that kind of storyline because I'm sure it takes a lot to do those kinds of scenes, especially if you're a straight guy yourself."

Do you have a girlfriend in real life?
"I don't. I'm a bit of a loser like Deano. It's very difficult for all of us younger members of cast - in EastEnders, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks etc - it's difficult to meet someone new. It's difficult to trust people. You don't even know who you're speaking to when you're having a drink, let alone starting a relationship with someone."

Do you get recognised in the street a lot?
"I wear my hair down in my face when I'm not at work and it makes a huge amount of difference, so I do a little."

What's to come for Deano?
"Well, there's the will-they-won't-they wedding coming up between Kevin and Denise, but he doesn't really have a key role in that. He plays an undermined part and he does kick off a little bit. As far as future stuff goes, I just got a script through this morning, opened it and had a read - it's very interesting. Definitely an interesting storyline..."

Thanks for chatting with us, Matt!

Vote for Matt as sexiest male at this year's awards. Visit the official website britishsoapawards.tv to vote! Voting closes on April 13. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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