Just a day after the return of his onscreen love was confirmed, the BBC has announced actor Sid Owen is to return to Eastenders as Ricky Butcher.

The network confirmed the return of Patsy Palmer as Bianca Jackson yesterday, with the pair's stormy relationship - typified by Bianca's repetitive screams of "Ricky!" - set to be reignited in early 2008.

While Ricky is returning to Albert Square with his new fiancee, Bianca will arrive in Walford as a struggling single mother with a "gaggle of kids by different men" in tow.

"It will be interesting to see what has been happening to Ricky and Bianca over the last few years," Owen said.

"Although, I must admit I'm not looking forward to her nagging me by shouting his name," he added.

Palmer said yesterday that she is "really excited about rejoining the cast and working with old friends again".

She has not been seen in the soap since 2002, while Owen followed a ten-year stint on the show with brief appearances in 2002 and 2004.

Executive producer Diederick Santer added: "Ricky and Bianca were a hugely popular and well-loved partnership on the show.

"They are both now living their own lives, and there's been a good deal of water under the bridge. But could the old spark reignite?"

30/10/2007 12:05:43