2010 started off with a bang as New Year’s Day saw EastEnders go all out for a wedding between Syed Masood (Marc Elliott) and Amira Shah (Preeya Kalidas) that was not only full of spectacle but had the small issue of the groom having an affair with a man behind his wife-to-be’s back.
With the episode airing today (July 7th) as part of the line-up of classic EastEnders episodes shown each week, we take a look back at what was happening on Albert Square in the run-up to the wedding and talk you through the major events that happened after as Syed moved onto a relationship that proved memorable for viewers.
Having fallen on hard times that led to him being evicted for not paying the rent, and following some dodgy behaviour, Syed arrived on the Square and moved in with parents Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra) and Zainab Masood (Nina Wadia). Viewers were later introduced to his girlfriend, Amira, when she relocated to be closer to him. Taking a job at the catering company run by his parents, Syed met Christian Clarke (John Partridge) and there was a clear attraction between them both.
The simmering tension between Syed and Christian reached boiling point and the two eventually slept together, with Syed later admitting that he has had one night stands with men before. In the months that followed, Syed and Christian continued their affair, all the while Syed was planning a wedding with Amira. As he continued to live a double life, a car crash involving Masood caused him to think he was being punished – a thought process that made him turn his back on Christian.
When Christian got a new boyfriend, Syed was hit with the realisation that he does have genuine feelings for him that go beyond sexual attraction – despite Christian’s relationship not lasting that long. His sexless relationship with Alya is said to be because of his religion, but it is hinted at that he is just using that as an excuse. Regardless of all this, wedding plans continued to move forward with New Year’s Day set as the big day.
There was drama on the day of the wedding (tonight’s classic repeat) as Zainab is told by a frustrated Christian of Syed’s infidelity with him. She wasted no time in confronting her son – who did indeed admit to her he was gay. As viewers will see on tonight’s classic episode, Zainab did not respond well and all but forced her son to commit to a marriage that he did not want to be a part of.
Syed did his best to focus on his life with Amira in the aftermath of the wedding and the two did eventually consummate the marriage, resulting in a pregnancy. Only before Syed found out that he was going to be a dad, he told Amira about his homosexuality. A devastated Amira reacted as you would expect and did not hang about in Walford for long before leaving – taking the secret of her pregnancy with her.
Syed and Christian soon moved in together which caused a rift with his family who were not accepting of his new direction in life. The couple got serious quickly and even looked into having children of their own – with Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons) a one-time candidate to be a surrogate for them. While Syed did eventually make amends with his parents, old tensions soon resurfaced when 2010 ended with he and Christian getting engaged.
With a wedding to plan, Syed knew that the first thing he needed to do was get in touch with Amira to get divorce proceedings underway. He was shocked to learn that she was living is a terrible situation with her father and to learn that he now has a daughter – Yasmin. Amira returned to Walford and did allow Syed to get to know Yasmin, but Christian was not allowed to be a part of that bonding. This prompted the couple to go to the court but their relationship suffered a hit when Syed continued to see his ex-wife and child without Christian knowing; although they were able to get past it.
Their relationship was strained once again though when Christian was accused of inappropriately touching a young Ben Mitchell (then played by Joshua Pascoe) and it drove a wedge between the couple that led to them temporarily separating.
More trouble was on the way for the pair in their final year on the show as Syed’s questionable past with finances reared its ugly head again and he not only found himself in debt but left the restaurant in financial ruin too. Investing money and borrowing from Danny Pennant (Gary Lucy), the two were attracted to each other and it was not long before they shared a kiss. While Syed confessed the kiss and went on to marry Christian, their problems were not yet behind them.
More issues with Danny came to the forefront that nearly resulted in Christian going to jail for assault and Syed later was unable to promise him that he would always be dedicated to their marriage. With that, Christian planned to move to America but with some help from Zainab, he and Syed reconciled and ended up leaving for the States together- coincidentally close to where Amira and Yasmin had relocated to.
Next week will see EastEnders look at its more recent past as the 2019 episode featuring Walford’s first Gay pride gets a repeat, an episode that put the spotlight on Callum Highway’s (Tony Clay) growing feelings for Ben Mitchell (now played by Max Bowden).