Sid Owen to take a break from role as Ricky Butcher in Eastenders

Sid Owen has confirmed that he will be taking a brief break from his role as Ricky Butcher in BBC soap Eastenders. The actor who plays the role of the big-hearted mechanic handed in his notice to bosses at the soap last week  and is set to leave sceens in the summer.

Sid's announcement comes in the wake of screen wife Patsy Palmer (Bianca Butcher) who is currently on a break from the soap as she takes maternity leave following the birth of her baby son Bertie in December. Similarly Samantha Womack (Ronnie Branning) also recently announced that her departure would be a break following the controversial baby swap.

A spokesperson for BBC said: ''Sid will be taking a short break from filming but we fully expect to see Ricky and Bianca return to Albert Square in 2012, when Patsy also returns.'' Sid is currently at the thick of the action as Ricky faces looking after his kids without Bianca who was sent to prison for attacking bad boy Connor Stanley in January.

In a statement following the news, Sid announced that he plans to focus on charity work mainly a charity that he works closely with called Drop 4 Drop. He commented:''I will be taking a break from Eastenders so that I can dedicate more time to Drop 4 Drop, a charity to help alleviate the global water crisis in the developing world. Ricky will definitely be returning to Walford at some point next year.''

Owen first appeared on BBC screens in 1988, he has played Ricky on and off with his latest stint beginning in 2008 when Ricky came back for the funeral of his deceased father Frank following the tragic death of actor Mike Reid. Although it is not yet known how Ricky will depart screens, both he and Bianca are set to return in early 2012 to look after their rowdy brood.

Will you be sad to see Ricky depart temporarily? Do you think this latest ''break'' is a cover-up for a soap in crisis or do you think that Sid is deserving of a short break?

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