Eastenders star to return to Albert Square after a decade away from BBC soap

Sid Owen. Credit: PA
Sid Owen. Credit: PA

Eastenders' favourite Sid Owen is set to return to Albert Square after 10 years away.

The actor, 50, has said that he is “delighted” to be reprising his role as Walford’s mechanic Ricky Butcher.

Owen previously starred in the beloved BBC series from 1988 until 2000 and even made occasional appearances until 2012.

Who was Sid Owen on Eastenders?

Although Owen was caught up in several high-profile and jaw-dropping storylines over the years, he is perhaps most famous for his relationship with his on-screen spouse Bianca Jackson played by Patsy Palmer.

News Shopper: Patsy Palmer. Credit: PA
News Shopper: Patsy Palmer. Credit: PA

Patsy Palmer. Credit: PA

The soap couple's wedding drew a staggering audience of more than 22 million.

Speaking about his return to the soap, Owen said: “I’m delighted to be 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.”

Ricky's return to Albert Square won't be without his drama as he is set to reunite with his troublesome sister Janine Butcher, played by Charlie Brooks.

Brooks made a dramatic comeback to the soap last year after her character left the series in March 2014 to go to Paris to pick up her daughter Scarlett.

The drama does not stop there either as Ricky's return means he will have to face his ex-wife Sam Mitchell, played by Kim Medcalf.

First played by Danniella Westbrook, Sam is the daughter of Peggy and sister to Phil and Grant Mitchell who first arrived in Walford in 1990.

Chris Clenshaw, executive producer, 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.”

This is not the only new addition to the soap's cast with British actor Navin Chowdhry also set to make his EastEnders debut.

Chowdry will play the incarcerated patriarch Nish Panesar who has recently emerged from a two-decade sentence behind bars.

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Speaking about his new role, Chowdhry 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 which are set to air in Autumn.

Mr 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.”

The news comes after fan favourite and Strictly 2021 winner Rose Ayling-Ellis announced that she had filmed her final scenes and would be leaving the programme.