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Marc Elliott (Syed Masood, 'EastEnders')

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Syed Masood in EastEnders

© BBC

It's been far from plain sailing for EastEnders' Syed Masood over the last few weeks - his gay love affair with best friend Christian was exposed, his wife fled with his unborn baby and he's been ostracised by his own family. Returning to Albert Square in a bid to make amends, Syed's determined to put things right with his mother, father and brother. Wanting to shut out his problems, a teetotal Syed buys a bottle of vodka and begins necking it in his flat. However, after an argument with Roxy - who suggests that he leave Walford for good as there's nothing left for him - Syed continues to drink, before spotting a bottle of pills on the table. It's only when Masood finds him unconscious on the floor of his flat that he realises his son's desperate state. Here, DS chats to Marc about the latest twist in Syed's story - and how Zainab tells Syed that she wishes he was dead...

What's Syed's state of mind at the beginning of next week?
"Syed's family have turned their back on him and he's been ostracised by the community, so he's all alone. He seeks solace in the one place he thinks he’ll be okay - his local mosque. They, in not so many words, tell him where to go, too. He's really in a dark place. He has no wife, no baby, no Christian, no family and the final straw is the reaction he receives at mosque. He's lost."

How does his suicide attempt come about?
"It's really interesting what the writers have done with it. It's not a cry for help and it's not a reckless decision, either. Although it is an attempt on his own life, it's not premeditated in any way. He buys a bottle of vodka to shut his head off from all the problems. He's never drunk alcohol before as it's not part of his culture, so downing a bottle of vodka isn't a good idea…"

Aren't there pills involved? Isn't that part premeditated?
"There are pills, but it's not premeditated in the sense that he goes to get the pills from a cabinet - the pills are just lying on the table while he's getting drunk. He's already off his head on the vodka and starts looking at the pills quite quizzically. You don't see him again until Masood finds him spark out on the floor. So he does take the pills but they're an afterthought on Syed's part, more than anything."

The end of the week's quite shocking...
"Basically, Zainab's talking to Syed while he's semi-conscious on his hospital bed and essentially tells him that she wishes that Masood hadn't found him and wishes that he'd died. It's a spur of the moment thing on her part. It's not vicious - it all comes from a place of love. In her heart of hearts, I don't think she means it. It's all in the heat of the moment. Nina absolutely hated doing it because it's so dark and harsh. We found it quite upsetting to film actually - we were both crying!"

Do you think you could ever see Syed's family accepting Christian as his partner?
"I think that'd be nice, but it's cloud cuckoo land to think that. I really don't think it'll happen. Because of the traditional nature of the family, I can't see them coming to terms with Syed and Christian as a couple. And actually, I don't even think Syed can come to terms with them as a couple. Time will tell, though. It's such a hard thing to reconcile faith with sexuality and make it work.

Do you think Syed and Christian could ever be together?
"Syed and Christian are very different people. Christian's very out and proud whereas Syed isn't that kind of gay man - he's very insecure and doesn't like shouting it from the rooftops. As a couple, if they did get together, that would come between them. Christian would want to be holding hands on the street but Syed wouldn't be comfortable with that. It's not just a religion thing for Syed, it's more about the kind of man he is.

"As for whether they could ever be together... I hope they can be. But if they did, it'd be a rocky road. It won't be all happiness. And if there is happiness, it'll definitely be temporary."

What did you think of the twist which saw Masood turn his back on Christian after the attack?
"It's quite shocking not to help someone in need, especially as the Masoods and Beales have such close ties. It's certainly unforgivable that Masood walked past and there was an element of Masood wanting to wash his hands of everything. It was a great twist, though. I don't think Syed finds out, either. Certainly not in the near future, anyway. Nitin's been excellent through this entire storyline."

What was your reaction when you discovered that Amira left with Syed's baby?
"It was such a shocker! They way they executed it with the whole Amira and Chelsea pregnancy confusion was excellent. And of course, it leaves the door wide open for Preeya if she were to return…"

Do you think Syed will find out that she's pregnant?
"I'd love Qadim to come back. At some point, Qadim will find out that Amira's having Syed's baby because she isn't going to be able to hide it for very long. I'm not sure how Qadim could come back, but it'd be a really interesting dynamic. Ramon [Tikaram] is so commanding in that role. Qadim didn't get Syed the first time, so maybe when he finds out, he could maybe kidnap Syed!"

Is there going to be any happiness for Syed?
"Fingers crossed. Once he's got through the suicide bid and the bit of turmoil in the aftermath, he picks himself back up again. He actually tries to seek help from an unlikely source... I do hope there's more happiness to come, though. Regardless of whether he ends up with Christian, he'll lose his family as the Masoods aren't going to stand by his sexuality."

Do you have the same obsession with checked shirts as Syed?
"Oh my God, I'm wearing one right now! But it's mine. The wardrobes are blurring, though. I'm not really into the wide assortment of coloured t-shirts that I get to wear. There's one that I always dread wearing when I see it on the rail in my dressing room - it's the salmon-pink one. We've have argued, though, over whether it's coral. Maybe we could have a viewer vote on it..."

> Click here to read our recent interview with Nina Wadia
> Click here to read our recent interview with Nitin Ganatra Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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