Actor Nitin Ganatra quit the soap in 2016 after nine years in Walford
EastEnders star Nitin Ganatra has said he is "over-bloody-whelmed" after fans welcomed news of his return as postman Masood to Albert Square.
Nitin, 50, quit EastEnders in November 2016 after nine years in Walford, saying he wanted to explore other roles.
Viewers saw his character leave with his son Kamil, to begin a new life in Pakistan and reunite with ex-wife Zainab.
But he will return later this year, with new cast members playing his extended family as Masood "tries his best to settle (them) into Albert Square".
Nitin confirmed he would reprise the role, writing on Twitter: "I am somewhat over-bloody-whelmed for the love being shown for Masood for his return (not onscreen for a while yet) Thank U. Love u."
He said in a statement: "It was a lovely surprise to be asked back to EastEnders so soon after I left. In fact I was bowled over.
"When I was told Masood has still much to give to the show and is missed by the audience, it was hard to refuse.
"It is with great pride that I will grow my Masood goaty once again to help create and base an extended family around him. Exciting days to come Walford with Masood back on the Square."
When he quit last year, Nitin did not rule out returning to the BBC1 show and said producers promised him the door would stay open.
"I want to do some more characters and do some more films. Coming up on 10 years is a full stop," he said at the time.
"I was doing films and comedies before so this was a good time to go."
Fans have welcomed his return.
@MatthewRBroad wrote: "We're living in a world where the best news of the day has to be Nitin Ganatra coming back to EastEnders."
Casting is currently under way for Masood's extended family.
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