Next week’s episodes of EastEnders will see a heartbroken Shabnam decide that her marriage to Kush is over before making plans to move to Pakistan.
“This is a classic Shabnam reflex. She’s been pushed to the edge and she can only jump or run. And she wants to get as far away from this mess as she can,” says actress Rakhee Thakrar. “However, who knows if she’ll give in to this impulse? She’s grown a lot in the past year and I’d like to think she has a bit more fight left in her.”
Viewers will see Shabs opting to leave Kush after the pressure of keeping the secret about him being the father of Stacey’s baby becomes too much to bear.
Scenes to be broadcast on Monday 1 February find Shabnam telling Kush to be honest and be a part of his son’s life, but that she cannot be with him while he builds that relationship.
“She knows too well that you can only avoid your child’s existence for so long. She loves Kush and when you truly love someone, you do what’s right for them, even if they don’t know it at the time,” continues the actress. “Shabnam needs to make something right in her life.”
But an added complication comes in the form of Shabnam’s daughter Jade, who reacts badly when she’s told that her mum is going away. In the end, it’s left to Masood to tell Shabs that she’ll regret it should she leave Jade again. So how does Shabnam feel about the little girl’s future?
“She aches for Jade, but it’s complicated. She’s happy if Jade’s happy and, from what she can see, Jade is being looked after. But she’s oncerned about what’s best for Jade – it’s like a quiet constant voice in the background of her daily routine.
“When Zaair died, she was faced with a harsh reality that we tend to avoid a lot of the time: things can go wrong at any moment. So her main priority is always to ask what Jade needs. She loves seeing her around, even if it’s from afar.”
And does Thakrar hope that Shabs sticks around despite the challenges appearing to be insurmountable? “I really want her to have an endless supply of strength and perseverance to stay in Walford and work it out with Kush.
“If she does, then she’s smart enough to know that this would only be the beginning of a very difficult road. She’s very loyal and committed, so she knows if she agrees to stay, that’s it – it’s forever.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.
And visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.