Sid Owen is returning to Albert Square as EastEnders favourite Ricky Butcher after 10 years away from the soap.
The actor, 50, said he is “delighted” to be reprising his role as Walford’s hapless mechanic after previously starring in the BBC series from 1988 until 2000, returning sporadically until 2012.
Sid's character was involved in a number of high-profile storylines, perhaps most famously with his on-screen spouse Bianca Jackson played by Patsy Palmer. Their relationship was a hit with fans and their on-screen wedding drew an audience of more than 22 million.
Talking about his return to the show, Sid said: “I’m delighted to back at EastEnders. I can’t wait to see what Ricky Butcher has been up to these past few years and how he’s going to react to seeing some familiar faces including old flames. I’m excited to see the drama unfold."
Sid's character is set to reunite with his on-screen troublesome sister Janine Butcher, played by Charlie Brooks.
Brooks last appeared in the soap in March 2014, when her character left for Paris to pick up daughter Scarlett, but made a comeback last year as one of the long-running soap’s best-known villains.
Ricky will also come face-to-face with his ex-wife Sam Mitchell, who is the daughter of Peggy and sister to Phil and Grant Mitchell, played by Kim Medcalf. She first came to Albert Square in 1990 and was played by Danniella Westbrook.
Chris Clenshaw, executive producer for EastEnders, said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome Sid back to the role of Ricky Butcher.
“Sid helped to create such an iconic character in Ricky who became so synonymous with the show and we couldn’t be more excited to have him back for a while.
“Ricky has so much history in the Square to explore and while a lot of time has passed since we last saw him, it’s fair to say wherever Ricky goes, he always finds himself slap-bang in the middle of mayhem.”
Also joining the cast is British actor Navin Chowdhry, who is set to make his EastEnders debut as the incarcerated patriarch Nish Panesar, emerging from a two-decade stint behind bars.
Navin said: “It’s been great, everyone has been lovely. My role at the moment has been focused around the Panesar family, but everyone has been extremely welcoming.
“I’ve never worked on a show like EastEnders, so it’s been a new experience for me but I loved the storylines and I’ve got a keen interest in this family because there’s so much happening at all times.
“Nish is an interesting character, slightly unconventional and with that brings drama and mayhem.
“I think there’s a good man under there but turmoil follows these guys around so I’m excited to join in and set off a few more explosions and fireworks.”
The 51 year old actor is currently filming scenes set to air in autumn.
Chris Clenshaw added: “The spectre of Nish Panesar is finally here, and it’s been a pleasure welcoming Navin to the cast, and take to the role so effortlessly; he brings something to the character that none of us could’ve predicted.
“His dynamic on and off-screen, and we’re excited to see where his character develops as the story grows.”
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