EastEnders actor tells of support for gay storyline

Jessica Geen September 7, 2009
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EastEnders actor Marc Elliot, who plays gay Muslim Syed, has said he has received nothing but positive feedback from fans about the storyline.

In an interview with Soaplife, he said: “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 (played by John Partridge) in June was watched by 7.9 million viewers, earning it a 38 per cent share of the total viewing public.

The storyline had attracted criticism, with Asghar Bokhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee arguing that EastEnders should have presented a “normal” Muslim character instead of a gay man.

However, Diederick Santer, the EastEnders executive producer, defended it by saying the soap should tell “stories relevant to our diverse audience”. He added that writers had worked with the British Council of Muslims while writing the storyline.

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