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Last Updated: Friday, 10 October, 2003, 07:28 GMT 08:28 UK
Ricky dropped by EastEnders again
Ricky Butcher, played by Sid Owen
Ricky Butcher left the show for the first time in 2000
EastEnders producers have dropped Ricky Butcher from the hit BBC One soap - just a year after he returned.

The character, played by Sid Owen, joined the show 15 years ago and left in 2000 but came back two years later.

Producers now say Butcher has limited possibilities - but he will not be killed off and the door will be left open for another return.

Executive producer Louise Berridge said Butcher had been "one of our most enduringly successful characters".

'Fine actor'

"We will be very sorry to say goodbye to Sid, who has been one of the most amiable and popular of our cast members since his return to the show," she said.

But Owen was "a fine actor in his own right" and deserved to be remembered for more than his Ricky persona, she said.

No details were available about how the character would leave, or when he would go.

Ricky is best-known for his marriage to the high-pitched Bianca, played by Patsy Palmer.

'Other projects'

Bianca's affair with Dan Sullivan led to the pair's move from Albert Square to Manchester in 2000.

Ricky and Bianca filmed a one-off special at the start of 2002 and Ricky moved back to the show later that year to look after his sister Janine.

Owen, 31, said: "I have enjoyed my time back on the show but now it is time to see a bit more of the world and spend time on my other projects."

The actor enjoyed a brief pop career after leaving the show the first time, scoring a top 20 hit with Good Thing Going in July 2000.

Ricky and Bianca film soap return
29 Jan 02  |  Entertainment
What Ricky done next
23 Jun 00  |  Entertainment
Ricky waves goodbye to Walford
20 Apr 00  |  Entertainment



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