EastEnders star lands role in huge Netflix show after shock soap exit | The Sun

EASTENDERS actor Ricky Champ has landed a role in upcoming Netflix show The Decameron.

The 42-year-old, who is best known for playing Stuart Highway in the BBC soap, has been filming in Italy alongside Derry Girls star Saoirse Jackson, Arrested Development’s Tony Hale and his former EastEnders co-star Jessica Plummer.

Ricky is taking on the role of The Mangy Bandit in the series, which is based on the book by Giovanni Boccaccio of the same name.

It's thought the series is Netflix's biggest international production in recent years.

An insider said: “Ricky is a brilliant actor and is going to get loads of brilliant roles.

“This is his second big thing since leaving EastEnders and no one is surprised.

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“It’s been tough for Ricky to be away from his wife and kids, but he knows it is worth it for his career."

The eight-episode drama is set in 1348, as the Black Death pandemic strikes hard in the city of Florence.

According to Variety the plot sees a "handful of nobles invited to retreat with their servants to a grand villa in the Italian countryside and wait out the pestilence with a lavish holiday. But as social rules wear thin, what starts as a wine-soaked sex romp in the hills of Tuscany descends into an all out scramble for survival".

Ricky exited the soap last year as his character's struggle with postnatal depression came to a head.

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Speaking about a potential return in the future, Ricky previously told MyLondon: "The door is open and that was a discussion that we had when we decided it was time for Stuart to leave, to be rested. He's not dead, so who knows what the future will bring but not for a while I don't think.

Ricky continued: "I don't miss playing him no, it was really hard towards the end, he was going through cancer, post-natal depression, babies, medication, and addiction. It just built up and up, and you have to take that home with you, you have to learn your lines, and what's coming tomorrow and the next day.

"And it's in your head until you do it and sometimes it's still in your head after, so actually when I left lovely old Walford there was a real sense of relief."

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