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AUSTENLAND

RICKY WHITTLE ("Captain George East") was born in Oldham near Manchester in the North of England. A keen sportsman, Ricky excelled in various sports representing his country at youth level in football, rugby, American football and athletics.

After being scouted by both Arsenal and Celtic football clubs, a series of injuries forced Ricky to pursue a Law degree with Criminology at Southampton University for 4 years. Here he began modeling, becoming the face of a Reebok campaign in 2000.

A successful audition and recall for the lead character in Sky One's Dream Team lead to Ricky leaving university to pursue an acting career. He stayed on for two action-packed seasons as Dream Team's "bad boy" Ryan Naysmith. Ricky also appeared as a guest character on BBC One's Holby City, where he played his first gay character, David Richards. Ricky next starred on Channel 4's Hollyoaks as rookie cop Calvin Valentine.

Ricky also appeared in 2009's Strictly Come Dancing shattering numerous records for the most tens ever in the competition and the highest marks ever for his quickstep, argentine tango, cha cha and rock n roll.

Ricky left Hollyoaks in June 2010 and walked straight into BBC1 comedy Candy Cabs playing footballer and husband-to-be Eddie Shannon.

In November 2010, Ricky made the decision to relocate to California and chase his dream of American film and television. Within months of settling in, Ricky shot his first short Losing Sam in New York before clinching his first feature film lead as Captain George East in Austenland.

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