EastEnders favourite to star in HUGE new Netflix period drama

The Albert Square sign on the set of EastEnders
A former EastEnders actor has landed a role in a big Netflix series. (Image credit: BBC)

Former EastEnders star Ricky Champ, who played Stuart Highway in the soap, has landed a role in a new upcoming Netflix period drama called The Decameron.

The Decameron, which is based on the book of the same name by Giovanni Boccaccio, is an eight-part series set in 1348 as the Black Death pandemic ran rampant across Florence, Italy.

Ricky, who left EastEnders last year, will be playing The Mangy Bandit and it's thought The Decameron is Netflix's biggest international production in recent years.

An insider reportedly told The Sun: “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.

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

Ricky Champ as Stuart Highway

Ricky Champ played Stuart Highway in EastEnders. (Image credit: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

The actor has been filming in Italy alongside his former EastEnders co-star Jessica Plummer, who played fan-favourite Chantelle Atkins.

The Decameron follows a number of nobles as they escape to an Italian countryside retreat with their servants amid the Black Death pandemic. But as they wait out the plague with a lavish holiday in a grand villa, social rules begin to deteriorate and what begins as "a wine-soaked romp in the hills of Tuscany descends into an all-out scramble for survival" according to Variety.

This is Ricky's second role outside of EastEnders recently, as he also appeared in an episode of the hit medical drama, This is Going to Hurt.

Ricky departed Walford last year shortly after his character Stuart had a breakdown at the doctor's surgery as he struggled with postnatal depression while battling breast cancer.

After his turbulent time in the Square, Stuart decided to start a new life away from Walford with his wife Rainie (Tanya Franks) and their baby Roland.

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7.30 pm on BBC One — see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on episodes on BBC iPlayer now.

Grace Morris
Staff Writer

Grace is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides, recaps and features for must-watch shows and delivers all the latest soap news and reactions. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film and TV grow stronger.

You'll usually find her watching the drama unfold in the latest reality series or much-loved UK soaps (usually with chocolate by her side!). She's an expert in EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and everything reality-related from Selling Sunset and Married At First Sight UK to 90 Day Fiancé UK. Plus Netflix megahit Virgin River!

Grace also likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series.