Cast Changes News

Rakhee Thakrar leaves EastEnders after two years

Shabnam Masood (Rakhee Thakrar)
© BBC / Nicky Johnston


EastEnders’ Rakhee Thakrar has left her role of Shabnam Kazemi after a dramatic two years in the Square.

Viewers were shocked tonight as they saw Shabnam leave the Square for good after deciding that she could not remain in Walford as Kush fought his inner demons as he saw Martin raise his new born son, Arthur.

Speaking about her soap exit, Thakrar said: “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, [and] 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 Dom [Treadwell-Collins] enough for trusting me with Shabnam and particularly her story.​”

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 26/01/2016 - Programme Name: Eastenders - TX: 04/02/2016 - Episode: 5223 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Shabnam is crushed when she upsets Jade.  Shabnam Masood (RAKHEE THAKRAR) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes
© BBC / Jack Barnes

“I’m so proud to have been part of that [storyline],” the actress added. “I’ve seen how much it’s meant to so many parents and families.

“Stillbirth needs to be talked about, and I hope our story in some way helps people to do that. It’s truly been one of the best experiences of my life.​”

Initially, many fans weren’t too keen on Rakhee, preferring Zahra Ahmadi who played the character from 2007 to 2008; but Rakhee won fans over with her portrayal of the stillbirth story line which touched the hearts of so many. Rakhee also became very active in the online appeal “Say Their Name” which brought relevance and awareness to those who had gone through the same tragic circumstances in real life.

The popular actress was nominated for the Best Serial Drama Performance at the National Television Awards following her heart-wrenching still birth storyline.

All of us at EastEnders Spy would like to wish Rakhee much success in her future endeavours. Albert Square won’t be the same without her.

About the author

Tommy Giffen

  • TN

    So gutted that Rakhee quit the role. Initially I didn’t warm to the recast Shabnam, as I preferred Zahra. But she won me over in the last year. I really wish she stuck around and decided to be a mum to Jade in Walford.

    I doubt we’ll ever see Shabnam share scenes with Zainab or Syed if they return.

    Speaking of which the Masoods REALLY need Zainab to come back. Mas and Tamwar seem empty without a strong female presence.