EastEnders Syed in gay Muslim plot
Newcomer Syed Masood is to have a relationship with Christian Clarke
EastEnders is to introduce a controversial storyline in which Muslim character Syed Masood kisses another man. Syed, played by Marc Elliot, will kiss openly homosexual character Christian Clarke (John Partridge) in the plot which will develop next month.
Marc told the BBC Asian Network: "I think EastEnders would be doing the programme a disservice if they didn’t give a voice to various communities."
He added: "I think that’s really important because I think London is a very ethnically diverse multicultural place, and EastEnders has a job to reflect that in the storylines it gives people and the characters they have on board."
However, the plotline has already attracted criticism from Asghar Bokhari from the Muslim Public Affairs Committee. He said: "The Muslim community deserves a character that represents them to the wider public because Islamophobia is so great right now.
"There’s a lack of understanding of Muslims already and I think EastEnders really lost an opportunity to present a normal friendly Muslim character to the British public."
But Diedrick Santer, the executive producer for EastEnders, believes the soap should tackle controversial storylines head-on. He said: "Sometimes there’s a danger of being too careful with black or Asian characters that we might go into territories that might offend.
"But it seems to me if we steer away from any controversy, they don’t stand a chance of being a great EastEnders family - they’ll just be in their kitchen unit making curries for years and years and that’s not going to be very interesting."