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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 January, 2005, 12:49 GMT
EastEnders break for actor Richie
Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace
Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace were an on-screen hit
EastEnders star Shane Richie is planning to take time off from the BBC1 soap next year in order to pursue other acting work.

Richie, who plays ex-Queen Vic landlord Alfie Moon, is preparing to take a break from the soap from January 2006.

He said it is because he has had discussions 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.

Former co-star Jessie Wallace, who played Richie's EastEnders wife Kat Slater, took a break from the soap to give birth to her baby daughter in November.

Their on-screen success saw them win most popular actress and actor awards at the National Television Awards in 2003.

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