EastEnders star Nitin Ganatra has confirmed he is leaving the soap just over a year after he returned as Masood Ahmed, the role he first played back in 2007.
The popular character, introduced 11 years ago as the postman husband of Zainab and father to the Masood brood, was the last of the original family to leave in autumn 2016, but was brought back in late 2017 when he returned to the Square with elderly aunt and uncle Mariam (Indira Joshi) and Arshad Ahmed (Madhav Sharma).
Speaking about his decision to leave again, the actor said: “When I was asked to return to EastEnders it was always with the intention of helping set up new Asian characters that continue the Masood family adventures. With Arshad and Mariam at the helm and with the arrival of the feisty sister Iqra and Habiba I can now venture off to new horizons as an actor.
“I am still deeply attached to Masood and have invested much emotion into making this character memorable. I am in awe of how loved he is by audiences and fans of all ages, from all cultures and religions and walks with of life. Thank you. I am humbled by the love.”
Is Masood being killed off?
The door is being left open for Mas, and Ganatra hints this may not be the last we’ve seen of him: “Who knows, Masood may return, but for now farewell. Much love and respect to the whole epic team of EastEnders.” A spokesperson for the show said: “Nitin has been a wonderful addition to the cast and we wish him all the very best for the future.”
In his second stint in Walford, ladies’ man Masood was on the verge of romance with Kathy Beale, mother of his long-time business partner and ‘frenemy’ Ian, whose wife Jane he also had an affair with. But with Ganatra venturing off on his “new horizons” it looks like that particular romance will be cut short before it can truly begin. Until Mas comes back again perhaps…
As Ganatra makes reference to, his on-screen family will soon be welcoming two new additions in the form of Iqra (Priya Davdra) and Habiba (Rukku Nahar), Masood’s nieces and granddaughters of Mariam and Arshad, who are expected to make their first appearance next month.
Visit our dedicatedEastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.