John Partridge wants more “hot new gays” in EastEnders to ensure the “pink flag” is flown.

The 41-year-old gay actor quit his role of Christian Clarke after almost five years last year, along with co-star Marc Elliott, who played his on-screen lover Syed Masood.

Partridge has called for the show’s bosses to fill the gap left by their departure with new gay characters.

Speaking to the Sun newspaper, Partridge said: “Bring in hot new gays, that’s what I say. Everyone needs to be represented – so somebody’s got to come flying that pink flag.”

Of his storyline and character, he added: “We only ever had a positive response from people.

“It became a love story and the fact that it was two men became immaterial.

“It really became something that was quite beautiful as opposed to sensational.”

In October, Marc Elliott spoke of his decision to quit Eastenders and said he was motivated through the fear of becoming typecast as “the gay Muslim”.

Although the BBC received praise for featuring a prominent same-sex relationship in the soap, it also received a small number of complaints for showing Syed and Christian in bed together and sharing a quick kiss before the 9pm watershed in 2011.