EastEnders’s Rakhee Thakrar – aka Shabnam Masood – reveals why she REALLY quit the soap

Will Shabnam Masood ever return to EastEnders? Here’s what Rakhee Thakrar had to say about her character's emotional exit…

shabnam masood eastenders final scenes

by Kayleigh Dray |
Published on

It’s official; Shabnam Masood, in one of EastEnders’s most emotional storylines to date, has left Albert Square.

The troubled beauty arrived in Walford two years ago and, since then, has become a firm favourite with fans of the BBC One soap.

We watched as her character slowly thawed out as she found love with Kush Kazemi (Davood Ghadami) - and later reunited with Jade, the baby daughter she had felt forced to abandon as a teenager.

But it was her stillbirth storyline which really touched the hearts of the nation.

Struggling to deal with the death of her baby boy Zaair, viewers watched as Rakhee struggled to cope - and actress Rakhee Thakrar was praised for her award-worthy performance.

So it was unsurprising that Shabnam, upon learning that Kush had secretly fathered a baby with her best friend, Stacey Branning (Lacey Turner), couldn’t find a way to keep her marriage together.

Despite Kush’s pleas, we watched as she, along with Jade, left Albert Square - and her husband - forever.

The emotional scenes touched the hearts of the nation, although many found it hard to believe that Shabnam was truly gone.

Speaking to Digital Spy, Rakhee said that it felt like the right time for both her and her character to leave the show:

“It feels like the right time for both myself and Shabnam. My experience on this show has been really special, and I’m so grateful for having the chance to have played Shabs, she’s a real gift. A complicated character, who I’ve loved getting to know.

"Now, I feel like it’s the time to try different projects and new people to play. It was a hard decision as I really love this character and this show.

“I can’t thank [the producers] enough for trusting me with Shabnam and particularly her story.”

But does this mean that Shabnam is gone forever?

Well, not necessarily…

The actress joked: "We'll she's only in Ealing, so you never know!"

The 31-year-old has also shared a heartfelt handwritten message with her fans, asking them to reach out to loved ones who had gone through a stillbirth or miscarriage.

She wrote: “As I leave the show, may I ask one thing? If you know anyone that’s been affected by our story; that may be an aunt, uncle, grandparent, sibling, friend or parent who has had a baby that’s died… break the silence.

“Send them a little text to say you’re thinking of them, pop round with cake and talk, get involved in their fundraising, or simply light a candle for their baby and remember them.”

EastEnders returns to BBC One tonight (Monday) at 8pm.

Will you miss Shabnam Massood?

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