Cutie Pie

He's got twinkling blue eyes, a smile to melt yer heart and he does what his mum says. But is Ritchie really sweet as he looks?

You're known as the cute one in the band - is that the real you?
Not really - I can be a bit naughty, especially, you know, if I'm with a girl... Actually what I find works is if you do the cute thing with a naughty side, too. It's about striking the right balance. I don't want to be known as the cute, boring one, that's for sure!

So do you use those dazzling baby blue eyes to pull the girls, then?
Well, when I was little people always said, 'Hasn't he got lovely eyes?' and I hated it. But now I like it - it's a nice compliment - especially from girls...

What about that big old smile, then...
No, I'd never look into their eyes and give them a big smile or whatever. That's far too cheesy for me!

So do you put your nice, smiley image on just for the camera?
No - that's pretty much how I am most of the time. Everybody gets down sometimes, but I'd say I was generally a happy, smiley sort of person!

Are you the chilled one in the group?
Yeah, definitely. I'm always like, 'Come on, let's not argue, let's talk about it...' but we only really argue when we're tired. It's best to stop it before it starts 'cos it's usually not a real problem at all.

Let's face it, you don't look as hard as the others - do you ever feel the odd one out?
Not at all! It's just I've never followed trends just to stay in with the crowd - I've always liked to be different. There was one time when I was 12 and I had these red jeans and I thought I was really cool 'cos no one else had any, but they weren't cool at all - they were hideous!

So are you a mummy's boy, then?
No! But as I get older I do tend to agree with what my mum says a lot more! She tells me stuff and I'm like, 'You're right!'

Are you the nicest pop star after Howie D?
He's the sweetest, is he? I guess I am quite nice, but I'm just me, you know? I'm happy with me... well sometimes I'm not, but more so now I'm kind of finding myself. Do you think I should challenge him for that title?

Do the others ever take the mickey out of you for being so nice?
Sometimes they say I'm cheesy - it's mean, isn't it? I'm not being cheesy, I'm just being me!

You always look so smart! Do you ever go out of the house looking a mess?
Yeah! The other day I had a day off, and I wanted to go to the high street to get some food. But it's quite a walk so I chucked my cap on, a pair of shoes and my trackie bottoms, and skateboarded down there on this skateboard I was given when we went over to Belgium. I thought it'd be quicker but it took me ages 'cos I was useless - and I was so mortified in case someone saw me! I looked like a right prat!

How long does it take you to get ready to go out?
Hmmm, with all the messing about in between - you know, like me and Scott having a little boogie and that - it takes about an hour. I have a shower, do my hair, then get dressed.

Do you only fancy nice girls like Baby Spice?
I guess I like naughty but nice girls! I don't like girls that are too sweet and innocent, I like them to have a bit more, you know, oomph! They can seem sweet, but if there's naughtiness in them too, that's great! You see, I'm sweet but I'm naughty as well! (if you say so!) I like girls with a bit of the devil in them!

What really annoys you when you're going out with someone?
It's not the big things. It's the little things that show how much she cares - or doesn't. One time when I was going out with this girl at school, she wanted to go to lunch with her friends rather than me. I mean, I don't expect a girl to spend all her time with me, but I've got to know it's there and if I don't feel she's really into me I just get really annoyed.

Were you in the boy scouts?
Yeah, I was good at tying knots! Then I left because it was a bit uncool, and joined the cadets at school - you used to have to go on all night camps where you had to sleep on plastic, and if it rained all you had was your poncho to pull over you! It was cool because girls were in it as well and you could just snuggle up to anyone when it was cold! I was also a patrol leader and I used to be really hard - make people do push-ups and that!

If someone shouted abuse at you, what would you do?
I'd take no notice. It has happened and it doesn't bother me - you're gonna get that if you're in a band. I'm sure if I was with my mates and a pop band walked past we'd give 'em abuse, too!

Do you ever get cross with the fans?
Only if we're really tired and they do something they shouldn't. Like, the other day, this one came up and asked for a photo, so I put my arm around her and she put her hand right on my bum! It wasn't just a little pinch, she grabbed a right big handful!

What's the nicest thing anyone can say about you?
Something about my personality. If somebody says, 'You're a top guy," that's nice if they really mean it. But because of the band, you don't know if it's genuine or not. It's really important to me that people like me just for being me...