EastEnders favourite turned down lucrative record deal with Simon Cowell

The move from soap to pop is a popular one

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Former EastEnders star Shane Richie has told how he turned down a record deal from Simon Cowell after revealing his musical talents to the nation.

The actor, who famously played Alfie Moon in the BBC One soap until last year, has been focussing on his passion for country singing in recent months and this summer announced both his signing with East West Records and plans for an Americana album.

But the 53-year-old suggested his musical career could have kicked off more than a decade ago following the success of his Children In Need single I’m Your Man in 2003, which reached number two in the official UK charts.

He told the Sun newspaper: “Off the strength of the single, I was offered a deal by Simon, but my contract was with EastEnders, and I was happy to carry on playing Alfie.

“Before EastEnders I’d been made bankrupt because of a movie I had invested in, I owed three quarters of a million.

“The last thing I wanted to do was turn my back, as much as I would loved (sic) to have done an album, but my allegiance was to EastEnders.”

Richie recently returned to screens, reprising his role as Alfie in EastEnders spin-off show Kat And Alfie: Redwater, alongside former co-star Jessie Wallace.

His new collection will hit shelves in November and includes a collaboration with his son Jake Roche.