EastEnders actor John Partridge has said that his character’s Christian’s relationship with Syed is more than just a “gay Muslim” storyline.

Speaking to Digital Spy at the Inside Soap Awards ceremony, he said he had received a number of “heartbreaking” letters from fans whose own love lives have mirrored the soap’s storyline.

He said: “The letters that I’ve received, some of them have been heartbreaking and touching and it seems like this is a story that’s waited a long time to be told. Maybe it has been told before, but you know with something like EastEnders, it’s so pushed forward.”

He added: “It’s so easy to focus on this ‘gay Muslim’ storyline, but that’s not what it is. It’s a love story about two people who fall in love in impossible circumstances… now that the story’s playing out, people are realising that there’s a lot more to it… and it’s actually quite sensitive and beautiful in a way.”

Earlier this month, Marc Elliot, who plays Syed, has said he has received nothing but positive feedback from fans about the storyline.

In an interview with Soaplife, he said he had received “lots of lovely letters” about his portrayal of the character, who is currently battling between his romantic feelings for another man and his religion.

Elliot added: “I actually got a letter from a gay Muslim who was in the same situation as Syed ten years ago. He told his family and now they have accepted him and his partner. I have lots of lovely letters and, surprisingly, no bad feedback at all.”

A kiss between Syed and Christian in June was watched by 7.9 million viewers, earning it a 38 per cent share of the total viewing public.