EASTENDERS legend Sid Owen was due to make a shock return to Albert Square — until a row over cash derailed talks.
The actor, who has played popular Ricky Butcher on and off since 1988, is said to have demanded a hefty fee which was turned down.
Bosses had wanted him back after securing the return of his on-screen sister Janine, played by Charlie Brooks.
A source said: “Sid was in advanced talks to return to EastEnders earlier this year.
“Bosses thought it was an ideal time for him to go back to Walford as his on-screen sister Janine has been written back in.
“Obviously Sid jumped at the chance but when they started talking about cash things hit a rut. Sid’s expectations for pay were well out of sync with what the BBC were willing to give him.
“His character is an Albert Square stalwart and having Ricky back in Walford with Janine would be a dream come true for scriptwriters.
“But all talks of a comeback have been pulled and Sid is back to square one.”
Sid, 49, first appeared as schoolboy Ricky in 1988 and has had several stints since, with his turbulent relationship with Bianca Jackson a huge hit with viewers.
He was last seen in EastEnders in 2012 — when Ricky left Albert Square to open a restaurant in France.
As with all his exits over the years, bosses left the door open for his possible return.
Sid has made no secret of his desire to come back to Walford, saying in 2016 he would return given the chance and the right story.
The Sun revealed in April how Charlie, 39, was making her comeback as part of an explosive storyline.
However London-born Sid was seen smiling at the weekend, despite losing several teeth last year.
He showed off his new gnashers on a day out in Surrey with new girlfriend, Victoria Mills.
In February last year Sid told The Sun how a golf ball knocked six of his teeth out and shattered his jaw during a round in Bangkok.
He recalled: “One minute I’m playing a round and the next I’m in total agony and on my way to hospital.
“I’ve almost been lucky because they’ve told me if it hit me two inches higher up I’d probably be dead.”
He has appeared on reality shows — including Strictly and The Jump.
He also had a stab at pop, hitting No 14 in 2000 with Good Thing Going
Sid and the BBC were approached for comment.
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