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EastEnders' Himesh: 'I'm a geek, like Tamwar!'

EastEnders' Himesh: 'I'm a geek, like Tamwar!'
EastEnders' Himesh: 'I'm a geek, like Tamwar!' (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders' Tamwar – actor Himesh Patel - tells TV Times magazine about his most challenging storyline to date... Your character, Tamwar, was caught up in the Christmas Day fire. Has he been left with scars? “Yes. He doesn’t want to show them to anyone and, when we do eventually see them, it won’t be a sight for sore eyes.” How does the fire affect his relationship with Afia? “Their relationship changes, and he becomes more of the Tamwar that we saw before they married – the one that hardly ever smiles. He shuts himself off from everyone.” You’ve transformed Tamwar from a relatively minor character into one of our favourites! Is it true that you almost didn’t audition for the part? “Yes! I had my final GCSE exam - science - in the morning. The audition was in the afternoon, and I thought 'I’m not going to make it in time'. Thankfully, they pushed it back a little and, as soon as I’d finished the exam, my dad drove me to the audition.” Do you remember feeling nervous about the audition? “It was quite nerve-wracking, but I relaxed when I read the character biog. The similarities between my own life and Tamwar’s were striking. It said he had an older sister, and I’ve got an older sister; his parents had a post office and, at the time, my parents had a post office. And he was a geek, and I am a geek. I say 'geek', but I’m not a big fan of the term - although as the national consensus goes, I probably am one. I love films and I love technology, and I used to wear big glasses. Now, I wear contact lenses... But you can’t take the geek out of the person!” Was it your plan to become an actor? “Not really. I did my A levels during the first two years of the show, and I had ideas of going to university; I was looking at English or creative writing courses. And then I thought, 'Well, I’ve got a decent job; lets just see where this takes me.'”

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.