Reports have emerged that the new set for EastEnders may include a mosque as part of an attempt to offer an accurate representation of east London life.
Today’s Sun says that a new £15m exterior set will feature a place of worship for Muslims. However the BBC1 soap would not confirm that a mosque would be part of the revamped Albert Square.
“The new locations for the exterior set build are still to be decided,” said a spokesperson today. “However, as announced previously, the new set will better reflect the East End of London on screen as well as increase the potential for storylines.”
The show also denied that a lead character would be radicalised by “Muslim fanatics” in an upcoming storyline. “There are no current plans for a radicalisation storyline,” the spokesperson added.
EastEnders earned both critical and popular plaudits for a November 2015 scene in which Tamwar Masood (Himesh Patel) read from the Quran and spoke about his interpretation of Islam to then-girlfriend Nancy Carter (Maddy Hill).
“Do good to relatives, orphans, the needy, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who’s a stranger, to the companion at your side, and to the traveller,” said Tamwar, before adding, “That to me, is what Islam is about. Be kind to people, family and strangers alike, and love them.”
This is not the first time that the possibility of a ‘radicalisation’ storyline has been raised in connection with a UK soap opera. Last year, Coronation Street strenuously denied that it was planning to have a character radicalised into an Islamic extremist.
You can watch the Tamwar and Nancy scene below. And beneath that, there’s a 60-second rundown of all the drama on next week’s episodes of EastEnders.
Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.