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Ex EastEnders star Nina Wadia rules out return as Zainab Masood

Former EastEnders star Nina Wadia
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nina will be seen in the new series of Death in Paradise

Former EastEnders star Nina Wadia has effectively ruled out a return to Albert Square as Zainab Masood.

The 51-year-old actress, who’s about to appear in Death in Paradise, made her first appearance as Zainab in 2007, eventually leaving the show nearly six years later in 2013.

However, Nina reveals she's unlikely to be back anytime soon as she enjoys getting her teeth stuck into new characters, rather than going back to old roles.

“They left the door open for me, which is so respectful and I do appreciate it, but I am someone who likes to create new characters, otherwise I get bored. You have to be brave to come out of soap because you don’t know what’s out there," she explains.

“You’ve been cocooned in this lovely world, then you get to start your career again.”

Nina Wadia as Anna with Ardal O'Hanlon as Jack in Death in Paradise

Nina stars as tourist Anna, who quickly strikes a bond with Jack in the new series of Death in Paradise (Image credit: BBC/Red Planet/Denis Guyenon)

Nina is playing the love interest of DI Jack Mooney (Ardal O’Hanlon) in the new series of Death in Paradise, which returns on Thursday.

Nina’s character, tourist Anna, takes a shine to Jack, and could it be that Anna is the one who tempts Jack away from Saint Marie? After all, we know Ardal is leaving.

Nina loved working on Death in Paradise, but couldn’t take Ardal seriously. “I know Ardal more as Father Dougal from [C4 sitcom] Father Ted, one of my favourite-ever shows, so I couldn’t take him seriously as a love interest, if I’m honest!

"He’s got such a cheeky face, I just kept seeing Dougal. Ardal and I met up the day after we landed to get to know each other, because our first day of filming was a romantic scene and I didn’t know the man! It was completely different from working with Nitin Ganatra as Masood on EastEnders – I’d known him for years by then, so I feel like I’m actually married to him!"

Main picture: Getty Images

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.


Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 


David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.


Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!