Marc Elliot, the actor who plays gay Muslim Syed in EastEnders, has revealed he gets regular abuse in the street for playing a gay character.

Syed began an affair with Christian (John Partridge) last year. When his mother found out in December, he was forced into marrying a woman.

Elliot said: “Since playing Syed I have really got it in the neck when I’m out. A lot of people are supportive but there is still a huge amount of negativity.”

“I haven’t been threatened but there’s a lot of cat-calling in the street. Any insult, I’ve had it thrown at me.”

But he added that he valued the opportunity to play the character.

“It’s an incredibly important part. In so many cultures being gay is still something swept under the carpet,” he said.

The actor won the best newcomer prize at the British Soap Awards earlier this month. The ceremony will be broadcast tonight at 7.30pm on ITV1.