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EastEnders Tamwar's transformation from soap nerd to Hollywood star

Irish Mirror logo Irish Mirror 12/03/2023 Katherine Heslop

For EasEnders fans, actor Himesh Patel is remembered as the nerdy Tamwar Masood, but Himesh has gone onto carve out a successful career in Hollywood.

Viewers watched as Tamwar helped his family with their business, let go of his Oxbridge dreams and then depart Walford to travel the world with Nancy Carter, whom he later married and, subsequently, divorced.

First setting foot in Albert Square in 2007, the Masoods, were introduced by then executive producer Diederick Santer to 'diversify' the soap and make it 'feel more 21st century'.

The Masoods were the first Muslim family to live in Albert Square since the Karims in the late 80s and the first Asian family since the unpopular Ferreiras in 2003, who were axed after two years for being "unrealistic".

Himesh played Tamwar Masood for nearly ten years © BBC/Jack Barnes Himesh played Tamwar Masood for nearly ten years Himesh Patel © SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Himesh Patel

After nearly ten years, Himesh left EastEnders in 2016, and spoke of exploring new opportunities in his career, which he certainly has, going onto to star opposite Lilly James, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert Pattinson.

Himesh starred as the lead in Danny Boyle's Beatles-inspired movie Yesterday, which came out in 2019, and Christopher Nolan's time-bending flick Tenet.

He played Jennifer Lawrence's journalist boyfriend in Netflix disaster movie Don't Look Up.

Himesh had a cameo role as Dr John Watson in Enola Holmes, with his character meeting Henry Cavill's Sherlock Holmes in an end credit scene, teasing his participating in future Enola Holmes movies.

Himesh opposite Robert Pattinson and John David Washington in Tenet © Warner Bros./Kobal/REX/Shutterstock Himesh opposite Robert Pattinson and John David Washington in Tenet

In a sign that he has truly made it, the actor played himself in Amazon Prime series Ten Percent, based on the French hit Call My Agent, which chronicles the misadventures at a talent agency.

Announcing his departure from EastEnders in 2016, Himesh said: "Whatever awaits me, I'll miss my family at EastEnders immensely - they've watched me grow from boy to man and supported me every step of the way. It's been a true privilege to work alongside them."

Nina Wadia and Nitin Ganatra played Himesh's onscreen parents, Zainab Masood and Masood Ahmed.

Himesh Patel © Publicity Picture Himesh Patel

The matriarch of the Masood family, Zainab was a fierce battle-axe who managed to rub everyone up the wrong way.

Actress Nina Wadia was already well-known for starring in BBC sketch show Goodness Gracious Me and appearing as a Loose Women panellist.

As well as appearing in Doctors, The Vicar of Dibley and Skins, Nina had already had a minor role in EastEnders in 1994 as a nurse.

EastEnders © BBC EastEnders

Revealing even she was not a fan of Zainab, Nina said: "I constantly say on set, 'I annoy myself' when I play Zainab. She's really irritating — the kind of woman that I'd never want to meet."

First seen running the post office in 2007, Zainab was described as 'Walford's answer to Lord Sugar' and endured a lot over her five-and-a-half years on the Square.

She gave birth to a baby in her mid-40s, divorced Masood and remarried her abusive first husband Yusef.

Zainab got back with Masood, then flew off to live in Pakistan.

Nina left the soap in 2013, while Nitin departed in 2019.


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