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Eastenders star feared being typecast as ‘the gay Muslim’

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  1. In real life the actor is neither gay nor muslim.

    I did find this sentence amusing:

    “I didn’t want to be remembered as that lad from EastEnders, the gay Muslim. That’s why you get into the business, to find new characters”

    I wonder if we will ever hear from this actor again – not counting Strictly Come Dancing or Celebrity Big Brother?

    1. So very few soap actors seem to have a successful career outside the soap they came from.

      For every Kylie Minogue there are 50 Stefan Dennises

    2. It’s a poisoned chalice, getting a role as a major soap character: on one hand you have a recognisable role and a steady income; on the other, you risk being typecast to the degree that no-one can ever see you as anything else.

      I’ve always been curious why the role of Syed went to a mixed-race actor with an English name (unlike the actors playing other members of his screen family), whether he was genuinely the best candidate for the job or whether no identifiably British Asian actor dared take the role.

    3. There’s always dictionary corner on Countdown.

    4. Letitia Dean who plays Sharon is the perfect example of this…She’s been in and out of Eastenders more time than I care to remember. And it’s a shame because I’ve seen her in stuff and she can act! Poison Chalice is about right!

      DO a year and then leave!! OR even better go after 6 months then you have a chance.

      I wish him luck and hope he get’s more work. John has no problem finding work because he’s also a theater actor, so he has more oportunities.

  2. But … we already know that Syed will be unfaithful to Christian.

    1. PS … if you didn’t know better, you might think the writers were sympathetic with Lord Carey and the rest of the anti-marriage-equality lobby

    2. Do we? And in what way would that be different from pretty much every other (non-gay) couple in EastEnders then?

      1. When Christian first appeared on Eastenders, he was with a boyfriend and just about to tie the knot in a partnership ceremony. Do you remember how long that relationship lasted?

        1. No. How does that compare with other (non-gay) EastEnders relationships?

          1. Well his relationship finished before the end of that episode. You do the math

          2. So? Is it or is it not in line with pretty much every other EastEnders relationship then? Or are you suggesting that gay relationships be shown to be atypical for that (hardly realistic) soap?

  3. Samuel 16 Oct 2012, 2:36pm

    Quite right too.

    Why should any actor risk sacrificing their career on the BBC’s altar of political correctness just so that the corporation can tick a few more boxes on its diversity targets checklist?

    I wish him luck in establishing a – ahem – more diverse repertoire of acting roles.

    1. Spanner1960 16 Oct 2012, 4:09pm

      It is true. The BBC has to squeeze in it’s token ethnics in there somewhere, whatever the cost just to appease the lefties.

      The one that really bugs me is “Merlin”, with a mixed race Guinevere, and a distinctly un-12c character. Maybe when they heard of the Black Knight, they just assumed he was from the Caribbean…

      1. ‘Ethnics’ is a meaningless word in this context, as we all belong to some ethnic group. If you mean non-white, just say so (though you might prefer ‘darkies’).

        And do you really think having an Asian family in a London-based soap tokenistic? Aren’t you one of those who’s complained elsewhere of ‘foreigners’ taking over whole districts?

        1. Typical leftie rhetoric as we have come to expect.

          Why can’t ethnic actors be cast for the quality of their acting:- I would have no problem with that.

          But when they are cast to fulfil equality and diversity quotas then that is an insult to the actor and the intelligence of the viewing audience.

          1. Typical leftie rhetoric

            What is?

            And please note (once again): all actors are ‘ethnic’. If you mean ‘darkie’ or otherwise non-Anglo-Saxon (that includes Jews, you know), please at least have the honesty to say so.

          2. Pssst! Samuel B. Merlin is not REAL!

          3. Psssst! Mike.

            Don’t you mean Spanner?

            Keep up at the back!

          4. And there were black people in this country at that time. Not many, but there were some…The moors for example were here during the medieval period!


        2. Spanner1960 16 Oct 2012, 10:36pm

          This is true.
          If Eastenders was true to life there would be no indigenous white Brits in it at all.

          1. So why do you refer to “token ethnics” then?

            (Obviously you weren’t referring to Anglo-Saxon ethnics.)

          2. Here we go again, hijacking a decent thread with this ‘i’m sick of foreigners/gay migrants bring back old England’ spiel’


            You’ve obviously forgotten your roots, Spanner. I live in east London, and trust me, there are large parts that are still largely white working class.

      2. the landscape in south west of england where spanner is currently residing must be so white that i imagine it is oh so easy for him to forget that the rest of country is populated by different ethnic communities

        1. And no doubt the thought of such a horribly all-white part of England offends your sensibilities somewhat chronically, Kane.


          1. drawing conclusions is clearly not your strongest forte

        2. Spanner1960 16 Oct 2012, 10:38pm

          It is remarkably.
          And until recently having spent nearly ten years in the East End of London, I also know the other side of the coin, so I can assure you, I haven’t forgotten it in the slightest.

          1. And don’t those “ethnic” EastEnders love us gays so.

            No wonder you migrated out of London, Spanner!

          2. But I daresay all the EastEnders who support the EDL, being non-“ethnic”, would really be reassuring, wouldn’t they?

            Though wait a minute – don’t they consider Jews “ethnics” (and therefore foreign) too, Samuel B.? Or am I confusing the bigotries?

      3. Pssst! Spanner1960, Merlin is not REAL!

        1. Spanner1960 17 Oct 2012, 9:51am

          Yes, but it is based on well-known legend, which is based again on some real-life people. Even fantasies have to be grounded in some fact, otherwise the whole thing becomes unbelievable.

          A classic example was a while back somebody was in the stocks and pelted with rotten tomatoes. Unfortunately, Merlin is set about the 5th-6th century, and tomatoes weren’t discovered an brought back to Europe until at least the 15th.

          1. Heh – that’d join the distinguished list that includes the radiator and asphalted roads in The Tudors, and orange juice at breakfast and and champagne flutes in Downton Abbey.

          2. A legend that was pagan and screwed up by the Victorians!!!

    2. somehow i dont think he was forced to play gay role, but than again its typical of right wing nutters to be paranoid about pc

  4. Dan Filson 16 Oct 2012, 3:06pm

    More likely to be typecast as “the wooden actor playing a gay Muslim”. Quitting the soap won’t alter that.

  5. He never had any storylines that weren’t relevant to being gay and/or muslim, so I don’t find this particularly surprising. His only role in the soap was essentially to be gay, and his personality or any drama revolved purely around that.

    1. Really? I thought there was a good deal about his financial unreliability and recklessness and the various ways it impacted on his family?

      1. Maybe. That’s probably the only exception, though. And he’s always been rather sidelined as a character.

        1. Do you seriously believe he’s any more two-dimensional a character than any other EastEnders character?

          1. I suppose not, but it’s unfortunate all the same. It would be nice to have someone who just happened to be gay, rather than a gay, who also just happened to be a person. Other soaps tend to do this well, particularly Emmerdale, although I don’t watch them anymore, so it seems like Eastenders really lags behind.

          2. Yes, that’s true, though to bring in a gay Muslim character was in many ways a rather brave thing to do. From what I recall though, EastEnders doesn’t really do ‘ordinary’ characters, regardless of sexuality – I mean, most of the others are hardly advertisements for well-balanced heterosexuality!

  6. That There Other David 16 Oct 2012, 4:50pm

    You shouldn’t worry Marc, everyone stopped watching EastEnders a decade or so ago ;-)

    1. Eastenders (and Coronation Street) are still the most watched TV programmes on British telly.

      1. All that proves that there are a huge number of uneducated slobs in this country…

      2. That There Other David 16 Oct 2012, 11:55pm

        OK, I’ll amend that to …

        “You shouldn’t worry Marc, everyone who’s ever likely to watch anything other than a soap or maybe even visit a theatre during their lifetime stopped watching EastEnders a decade or so ago ;-)”


    2. I stopped watching after Dirty Den! lol

  7. I’m surprised the radical Islamic crazies haven’t put out a fatwa on him.

    1. they would have if it wasnt for the fact that he is rather a boring actor

      1. I’d shag him!

        1. Me too Tony!

          1. Me too :-) maybe they are not as fanatical as people think?

    2. burningworm 1 Nov 2012, 5:15pm

      Maybe cause the fatwa is an invention of the media. That most things happen without a camera and if it isn’t televised, broadcast, tweeted, book’d, spaced and spurred intot the mass consciousness it doesn’t exist.

      When a fatwa is issued and no one is listening, does anyone do anything about it.

      Its an invention – (of course there have been fatwas but the point is that it is an overestimated phenom)

  8. burningworm 1 Nov 2012, 5:10pm

    If this is a genuine comment in regards to being typecast i think he should let it go and should have kept it to himself.

    Based on the typecase as ‘the gay muslim’, he should jump at the chance to rehash that character in as many ways as possible. The mass majority of actors play the role with a different name. He by playing a gay muslim brings his acting abilities to a wider audience and makes his role incredibly political.

    What do i know, i last watched eastenders when a brick was thrown through the kapoors window (i don’t remember those actors suggesting that they didn’t want to be typecast-maybe they understood that that particular scenario was affecting communities up and down this country)

    1. burningworm 1 Nov 2012, 5:12pm

      The mass majority of actors play the role with a different name.

      *The mass majoritiy of actors play the same roles, very few are capable of being more than one thing.

  9. I was pleased when Sayed rode our decorated white Horse to his Wedding on Eastenders. Looked like he had been riding Horses all his life.
    Shame they couldn’t work our Pink Wedding Carriage into the script somehow.

  10. “That’s what I am proud of most, portraying a normal, loving gay relationship.”

    Really?? This was one of the most dysfunctional relationships I ever witnessed!

    I loved Christian, but found Syed a moaning, whinging wet character…

    Nothing to do with Marc Elliot’s portrayal, more Eastender’s writing… But I do hope that Christian and Syed’s relationship isn’t seen as particularly normal… or indeed loving!

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