During his four-year break from the soap, 35-year-old Sid has proved that not only can he survive in the jungle with a stint in I’m A Celebrity, but he’s even run a successful restaurant in France. Now caught up with Sid to find out about being reunited with Patsy and if he’s going to make an honest woman of his girlfriend any time soon…
What was your first day back at EastEnders like?
Sarah Greaves, Lancaster
It was really nice because I have so many friends here – people were genuinely pleased to see me. I settled back into it nicely and it’s a lot more organised than it used to be. I think you appreciate it more as you get older, too.
Did you take any souvenirs when you left the show for the first time in 2000?
John Findlay, Kent
I had one of the EastEnders signs signed by everyone at my first leaving do, but I got so pissed someone nicked it.
Did you stay in touch with any of the cast after you left?
Heather Johnson, Cardiff
I spoke to Patsy quite a bit – we both live down in Brighton. I still speak to Paul Nicholls and Nick Berry, too.
How many times a day do people shout ‘Rickaaaayyy!’ at you in the street?
Julie Renshaw, Donegal
Quite a few, but I don’t keep count any more. It’s just ridiculous and it does send you a bit mad, but at least I’ve got a house in France I can run away to when it gets too much.
Would you ever do another reality show?
Hilary Fenton, Leicester
If I was going to learn something and it was a challenge. I wouldn’t mind doing something like Strictly Come Dancing, but I’d be awful because I’ve got two left feet.
Would you ever run a restaurant again?
Bethany Harries, Farnborough
Never say never, but I wouldn’t rush into it. I did it for five years in France, but I was so busy back in England that when someone offered to buy it I couldn’t really say no.
What’s your signature dish?
Sophia James, Crawley
My fishcakes – I use tiger prawns and any white fish available. Add a bit of ginger,
lemon grass, turmeric, garlic, fish sauce and coriander then blitz it all together and lightly fry them. It’s taken me years to perfect.
What’s been your biggest kitchen disaster?
Jennifer Tilsley, Uttoxeter
I was covering for the chef and had put a bit of seared fish on to a baking tray and into the oven. When I went to get it out I forgot to wear an oven glove and picked it up with my bare hand. I was more annoyed about having to do it again than I was about taking my own skin off!
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Lyndsey Taylor, Paisley
Probably a bug – I didn’t eat any in the jungle, but I did eat something that looked like woodlice on the Paul O’Grady Show. It was horrible.
You were in The Bill – have you ever broken the law?
Olivia Holman, Dudley
Only in my car. I’ve got a few points on my licence, but I think everyone breaks the law in their car.
Could you beat Ben Fogle in the boxing ring if you had the chance again?
Lucy Sanders, Romford
I would never get into the ring ever again. Being beaten up isn’t fun. If I was as fit as him I could probably beat him, but I don’t think that’ll ever happen. I did it for Sport Relief, I had a good experience doing it and I raised a bit of money.
Would you ever release another record?
Julia Cosgrave, Limerick
No, it’s not for me now, but I did sing on Top Of The Pops, which was my all-time dream.
Are you seeing anyone at the moment?
Amanda Baxter, Dorchester
Yes, she’s called Polly and we’ve been together for a year and a half. She’s my dream woman.
Is it true that you have a photographic memory?
Rachel Bridger, Hartlepool
Yes – it’s great for learning scripts. Some things go in easier than others and I’ve got an amazing memory for numbers, too.
Who would be your dream dinner party guests?
Estelle Brown, East Kilbride
Stevie Wonder because he could sing all night, Elvis Presley because he’s a legend and Jessica Biel – although my girlfriend won’t like that too much!
Would you ever get married?
Olivia Phillips, Lynmouth
Maybe, but I’d hate to jump into anything and it not be right. I think as you get older more people around you are getting divorced because they didn’t get married for the right reasons. I’d rather be with someone for a few years until you know each other inside and out and you’re fully ready to commit.
Why did you change name? And why ‘Sid’?
Paula Yenton, Oldham
I didn’t change it, my family have always called me Sid. My name’s David on my birth certificate and on my passport, so I get called that when I’m in France. At least David’s a nice name. n
What’s it like working with Patsy Palmer again?
Joleen Hendry, Porthcawl
We’re just two naughty kids who giggle all the time. We love working together and we’ve got great chemistry, too. I only came back because Patsy wanted to – I thought it was a bit too soon because I’d only left a second time in 2004. I was concerned people would get bored with Ricky, but as it was a tribute to Mike [Reid, who played Frank Butcher] I couldn’t turn it down.
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By Karen Dunn