Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Who did Nina Wadia play in EastEnders and why did she leave?

18 September 2021, 15:30

Nina Wadia played Zainab Masood in EastEnders
Nina Wadia played Zainab Masood in EastEnders. Picture: Alamy/BBC

What happened to Zainab Masood in EastEnders? Here's what we know about Nina Wadia's character...

Strictly Come Dancing is finally back on our screens, with a whole new bunch of hopefuls competing for that Glitterball trophy.

And EastEnders star Nina Wadia is one of the celebs taking part in the BBC series.

“I've always danced like nobody's watching, so if we blindfold the judges I could actually win Strictly 2021,” she said.

But who did Nina Wadia play in EastEnders and what happened to Zainab Masood? Here’s what you need to know…

Nina Wadia and Nitin Ganatra starred in EastEnders
Nina Wadia and Nitin Ganatra starred in EastEnders. Picture: Alamy

Who did Nina Wadia play in EastEnders?

Nina starred as Zainab Masood in EastEnders for seven years.

She made her debut in 2007 when she joined as the owner of Walford’s Post Office.

Zainab was part of some big storylines, including struggling to accept her son Syed’s (Marc Elliott) sexuality and his relationship with Christian (John Partridge).

She was last seen when her marriage to her husband Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra) broke down.

She moved to Pakistan and got married to another man, but the pair later divorced and Zainab has not been back in Walford for eight years.

Why did Nina Wadia leave EastEnders?

Nina said she left the role of Zainab to allow her to play new characters.

She previously told “It was a huge decision [to leave EastEnders] because it’s not like I was unhappy there, I had a great time doing that show and it’s an iconic show to be a part of.

“They didn’t want me to leave, they loved the character and everything was going well, I had just got to a point as an actor where I’m just not one of those actors.

“I’m an actor who needs to be challenged and pushed a bit more, I missed the creativity of coming up with a new character, so it was a tough decision.”

Asked if she would consider coming back to the soap after eight years, Nina revealed in July that she would be keen to return at some point.

"I know I'll step back into the Square in the future," she told Inside Soap.

"I've been asked back a couple of times but the timing wasn't right. It has to be a joint decision between EastEnders and me."