EastEnders legend Sid Owen was reportedly in line to make a comeback to the soap this year until talks fizzled out over money.
The 49-year-old played the lovable Ricky Butcher on and off between 1988 and 2012, forming a memorable on-screen partnership with Patsy Palmer's Bianca Jackson.
"Sid was in advanced talks to return to EastEnders earlier this year," a source told the newspaper.
"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."
Ricky was last heard of in 2015, when the character was said to be living in Germany.