EastEnders: First look at Masood Ahmed's new family

Uncle Arshad and Auntie Mariam will arrive in 2018

Gemma Strong

EastEnders favourite Masood Ahmed is set to return to Albert Square – and he’s not alone! Actor Nitin Ganatra is making his comeback on the BBC soap one year after his character left for Pakistan. And while he won't be joined by his ex-wife Zainab or his children, some new family members will be arriving in Walford. Auntie Mariam and Uncle Arshad will turn up in the new year when they decide to rent out Masood's house at Number 41 Albert Square to continue their fostering. Indira Joshi – best known for playing Madhuri in The Kumars at No 42 – is set to play no-nonsense Mariam, while Madhav Sharma, who previously appeared in East is East, will portray the jovial and mischievous Arshad.

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EastEnders' Masood Ahmed is set to be joined by his Auntie Mariam and Uncle Arshad

Speaking about the new cast members, John Yorke, EastEnders' executive consultant, said: "We've always known that Masood came from a big family, and the time has now come to reveal a few more of them, of which Mariam and Arshad are just the first. Nitin has been invaluable to the show since he and the Masoods first rolled up in Albert Square. We're really excited to bring in the next generation of the family, for some incredibly challenging, fun and exciting stories ahead."

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Marian and Arshad, who have lived in London most of their lives, will expect a hassle-free move to Walford, only to get immediately caught up in other people's dramas. On her new role, Indira said: "I'm over the moon to be joining EastEnders and to be part of the Ahmed family. I'm really looking forward to working with Madhav and Nitin as well as the rest of the cast."

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Madhav added: "It's really great to be joining EastEnders and I'm excited to be part of the Ahmed family. The first continuing drama I starred in was on the BBC [in The Newcomers], so this is like coming home for me. I'm really looking forward to playing Arshad."

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