Fans of EastEnders will no doubt recall that in 2008, Shabnam Masood left the Square to go to Pakistan, where she was keen to become reacquainted with her extended family as well as to explore her roots…
However, as we’ll see in the episode that airs on Monday 13th January, she’s back!
She returns with her father Masood (Nitin Ganatra) after his trip to Pakistan, and in order to keep his sister’s return a surprise, Mas doesn’t tell Tamwar (Himesh Patel) so of course, he’s overjoyed to see his sibling again.
Shabnam is to be played by Bollywood star Rakhee Thakrar, who’s best known for her roles in Bollywood Carmen Live, Cloud 9, Holby City and Page Eight.
Of Shabnam, the BBC states, “Opinionated and bolshie on the surface, Shabnam is actually a shy and insecure girl, constantly worrying about whether people like her.
“Family-oriented, she wants to find the perfect man and have the perfect children. Big-hearted Shabnam is a loyal friend but likes to gossip and can’t keep a secret, which often gets her in trouble.
“Now the Daddy’s girl is returning to the family fold, but how will sassy Shabnam’s strong views go down with the residents of Albert Square?”
And of her new role, Rakhee said, “Having grown up watching EastEnders with my family, I’m really excited to now be joining the show.
“I can’t wait to become part of the Masood family and start working with Nitin and Himesh, as well as the rest of the amazing EastEnders cast and crew.”
EastEnders Executive Producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins, added, “Masood and Tamwar have been missing a female presence in their lives and Shabnam’s return to Albert Square in January is well overdue – and, by that time, vital…
“We’ve been exhaustive in our recasting of Shabnam and when Rakhee walked in the room, everyone – including Nitin – knew that she was perfect.
“The Shabnam who returns home is older, wiser and a chip off her mother’s block.
“And – of course – carrying a terrible secret from her time away from Walford…”
We’ll have to wait to find out what that secret is, but for now, here’s a look at Monday’s episode…