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Shocked Kate just couldn t keep away
Shocked Kate just couldn't keep away

K *ate Ritchie * admits that returning to Seven's long-running soap Home and Away was never on the cards when she left the shores of Summer Bay five years ago.

But after some careful consideration, the 34-year-old, above, finally accepted an "out-of-the-blue" offer from producers to reappear in the sunny coastal community as the much-loved Sally Fletcher.

"I just received a phone call, that's kind of as simple as it was," she told _AAA _ yesterday.

"The call was completely out of the blue, I think it's come off the back of Home and Away turning 25 this year, which is a wonderful achievement in itself. I think part of those celebrations is having Sally Fletcher come back to the Bay for a while.

"It was kind of strange to start with because, to be honest, I had never entertained the idea of returning, whether it was for good or for a guest role.

"I must admit, for a while I thought 'Should I be going back because it took me such a long time to leave?' I'd quite liked the things I'd done since I'd left, so why would I go back? Then I thought 'Why not?'

"I certainly didn't leave because I wasn't enjoying it any more. I think it's the best job in the country, because you're working on something that is hugely successful and it's just lovely to be working as well."

The Logie-winning actress will begin filming on set next week, with the first of her episodes due to air later this year.

And though her return as Fletcher - who left Summer Bay five years ago to live in Thailand - is only a guest stint for Ritchie, she is looking forward to reminiscing with old cast mates *Ray Meagher *, *Emily Symons *and *Lynne McGranger *.

"I'll get to see some familiar faces and catch up with some old friends and meet all of the new people as well," she said.

VANESSA WILLIAMS