Himesh Patel, who of course plays EastEnders character, geeky Tamwar Masood, has been talking to TV Times about his current storylines, and how he landed the role of the studious teen.
As fans will know, poor Tamwar is presently still in hospital, recovering from the terrible burns he suffered after racing into the heart of the B&B fire at Christmas, mistakenly believing his wife Afia (Meryl Fernandes) was trapped inside.
But despite the fact that Tam would have died to save Afia, he can’t forgive her for not telling him the truth about her father, Yusef Khan (Ace Bhatti) who tried to murder Tam’s mum, Zainab (Nina Wadia).
On the subject of how Tam’s coping with the scars left by the burns, Himesh said, “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.”
And when asked how Tamwar and Afia’s relationship is affected by the whole tragedy, Himesh said, “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.”
Next, Himesh was asked if it was true that he very nearly missed his audition for the part of Tamwar, to which he replied, “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.
“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!”
Himesh went on to reveal that he hadn’t actually set out to be an actor at all!
He said, “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.’”
I’m very glad he did hang on in there with acting. I love the character of Tamwar, and the show wouldn’t be the same without him!