Unforgotten: Nicola Walker's close friendship with Sanjeev Bhaskar revealed

The pair has often spoken about their friendship

They're known as the hard-working pair of detectives DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunny Khan in ITV's Unforgotten, who have built up a strong bond and camaraderie over the years – and it seems that in real life it's not much different for the stars of the show, Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar.

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The actors, who appeared in the crime drama since it began in 2015 before Nicola's exit following season four, have built up a close friendship over the years, something that Nicola revealed was instant from their first day working together for the BAFTA-winning series.

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WATCH: Are you caught up with Unforgotten

Previously appearing on This Morning, Nicola, who's also known for her work in Spooks and The Split, told presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield: "It's one of the unexpected gifts of work that you can find great friendship in the workplace and it happened almost immediately with me and Sanj."

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She added: "It was like a chemical reaction straight away, we looked each other at the first read through and we noticed we both had the same look in our eye, which was terror, because it's your first big day of meeting everybody, cautious excitement and terror, and it was exactly the same look. And we both knew from there that we'd be okay."

Unforgotten recently returned for a new series

The actress also pointed out that their on-screen and off-screen rapport was something they felt lucky to have. "I think it's really unusual, there aren't any other shows I can think of, well I can't think of any other shows where a man and a woman have this amazing friendship, not drama shows anyway, where you would do anything for each other and it means I've gained a great friendship with Sanj and his family in real life so I'm really grateful to the show."

The two actors have built up a strong friendship over the years

It seems that Nicola and Sanjeev's close bond has a positive impact on the show, according to creator Chris Lang. "They're incredibly fond of each other – they don't have huge amounts of conflicts, which almost all drama is based on conflict," he told Digital Spy. "They get what they need through being respectful of other people."

Sanjeev and Nicola have appeared in the show since 2015

Meanwhile, Sanjeev has also opened up about the joys of the show, one of them being working alongside Nicola and other impressive names from the world of TV and film. He told the Glasgow Times: "It's been one of the joys of each of these series that you have these incredible people who come in – particularly in the interview scenes, where Nicola and I are just a few feet away from somebody giving a remarkable performance. It's such a privilege." 

Since Nicola left the show in season four, Sanjeev will now be joined by Sinéad Keenan, who will be playing Sunny's new detective partner, D.C.I Jessica 'Jessie' James. 

Fans were overjoyed by the news and took to the comments to express their delight. One person wrote: "Oh wow great choice. Congratulations Sinead. Good luck with filming Chris," while another added: "Woohoo! So looking forward to the next series! Hurry up with that filming and editing and all."

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