We’re genuinely gutted about this – Nitin Ganatra, who plays EastEnders fan favourite Masood Ahmed, will be leaving the show this year after nearly ten years on the hit soap.
Speaking to the Radio Times, he said it was time to explore other projects, saying: “When I trained as an actor, I set out to play many different characters and never did I know that I would be so fortunate to have found a character that I have loved playing for nine years.
“However, after thinking long and hard, I have decided that it is time to get back out there and take on some other roles. I will, of course, miss everyone at EastEnders – I have had a brilliant time there, and who knows, one day Masood may be back.”
Well, at least he might come back, eh? Come on, nobody can keep away from The Square for that long!
An EastEnders spokesperson confirmed the news, saying: “We can confirm that Nitin will be leaving EastEnders. Nitin has been a wonderful addition to the cast for the past nine years and we wish him all the best for the future.”
Nitin joined the soap back in 2007 and has been in the centre of many explosive storylines – the most notable being his volatile relationship with his wife Zainab, as well as coming to terms with his son Syed’s sexuality.
Most recently, he supported his daughter Shabnam through the death of her unborn child, as well as having an on-off affair with Carmel Kazemi.
Nitin won the 2009 British Soap Award for Best On-Screen Partnership with co-star Nina Wadia.
Nitin thanked fans for their support on Twitter following the announcement of the news, writing: “Genuinely touched by the response to the news of my leaving #Eastenders. And thank you for the #masood love!”
No word yet on what his exit storyline will be – but if it’s not something scandalous we’re going to be VERY disappointed.