An EastEnders icon has teased a return to the show after 10 years off air, much to the excitement of the BBC soap’s loyal fanbase.
Nina Wadia, best known for playing Albert Square’s Zainab Masood, has confirmed she will resume her beloved character at some point in the future. The 54-year-old left the show in 2013, after post office owner Zainab left Walford with her son Kamil to pursue a new life.
She has since admitted that although she enjoyed her time on EastEnders, she wanted to go back to comedy and “have a bit of a change” after working on the same show for nearly six years – carving herself as somewhat of an icon on Albert Square. She also said playing Zainab made it difficult for her to land other roles, telling ITV Loose Women’s hosts in June that “no casting director touch me” because of her association with the soap world.
However, Nina has now hinted that a return to Walford could be on the horizon. Speaking about the experience in a recent interview with OK! magazine, the Citizen Khan star admitted she was “devastated” to quit the show but that “part of me needed to leave.”
The actress, 54, revealed: “I didn’t suit being in the same character for that long and I was finding myself climbing the walls with just playing Zainab. They were kind to me on the show in that they didn’t kill her off and I’m sure at one point I will return.”
Since leaving EastEnders, Nina has continued to enjoy a prosperous career in showbiz. The mother-of-two has had roles in films such as Finding Fatimah and A Street Cat Named Bob, along with appearances on hit TV programs including Doctor Who and Holby City. She was also a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2021, on which she was unfortunately eliminated first with partner Neil Jones.
Speaking about her exit from EastEnders in 2013, Nina revealed that she had actually asked the soap writers to kill Zainab off.
“I miss EastEnders a lot, but after doing it for five and a half years it was time for me to go back to comedy and have a bit of a change,” she told the Daily Star at the time. “But if they asked me I would love to go back. I asked to be killed off, because I wanted a big story end.
“But they didn’t want to kill the character, which was much loved by the audience. They didn’t want me to go. I love that show and it did a lot to my career. I will always be thankful to EastEnders and if they asked me to, I would absolutely go back for a bit.”