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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 June, 2005, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
BBC denies 1.5m deal for Richie
Shane Richie as Alfie Moon
Shane Richie has been a huge hit with EastEnders fans
The BBC has denied a newspaper report that Shane Richie has been offered a 1.5m deal to stay in EastEnders.

Richie, who plays Alfie Moon in the long-running BBC One soap, is preparing to take a break from the soap from January 2006.

The People newspaper said Richie had been offered the three-year golden handcuffs deal.

But a spokeswoman for the BBC said: "Shane will be going at the end of the year to pursue other projects."

"We will be leaving the door open for him to return."

Poor reviews

She added that they did not discuss the wages of individual actors.

Richie announced in January this year that he planned to leave his role as the ex-Queen Vic landlord.

He said he wanted to explore opportunities in Hollywood and had meetings with US studio Dreamworks.

Richie's debut film Shoreditch - which he partly financed - was released in January 2005 to poor reviews.

Shoreditch saw Richie starring as a 1930s club owner who falls for a jazz singer played by Joely Richardson.

Richie remortgaged his house and ploughed 500,000 into the project which flopped with ticket sales of just 2,272.

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