A FORMER EastEnders star looked worlds away from her character in Albert Square as she appeared in last night’s series premiere of The Bay.
Zahra Ahmadi, who was the first actress to play Shabnam Masood back in 2007, returned to screens in ITV’s grisly drama as Shazia Riaz.
The 40-year-old has built up a fine CV of acting credits since leaving the Square including roles in Doctor Who, Black Mirror and Marcella.
In EastEnders Zahra was daughter of Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra) and Zainab Masood (Nina Wadia).
Her year on the show was dominated by a major identity crisis as she struggled to find a balance between her family’s traditional Muslim heritage and British culture.
She eventually left for Pakistan in order to find herself. When the character returned in 2014 she was played by Rakhee Thakrar.
Meanwhile in The Bay, DS Jenn Townsend was immediately thrown into the deep end after relocating to seaside town Morecambe when a body was found in the bay on her first day in the job.
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Her investigation took her into the lives of aspiring young boxer Saif’s grieving but suspicious family who clearly have secrets.
Shazia was seen in tears beside her mum as the police ask about the dead athlete and his relatives.
Viewers grumbled on Twitter after just one episode, saying the killer was obvious.
People quickly pointed fingers at Saif’s brother on Twitter, writing: “We going with Jamal did it?”
It all seemed to add up too soon, as others spotted Jamal looked older than his apparent 16 years.
One posted: “By the look of the 16-year-old Jamal who looks more like 35, I reckon he did it!”
And another wrote: “Bad casting… how old is Jamal if in same class as that other lad”
“Has Jamal been held back at school? For like 40 years?”
“Jamal is the only boy at high school with a wife, mortgage and two kids he’s putting through uni!” another baffled fan wrote.
Others had different theories, with one claiming DS Townend’s handsome husband had something to do with the grisly death.
Seeing him in the final scene tonight, the person insisted on Twitter: “He’s her husband! He’s the killer!”
Marsha has replaced actress Morven Christie, who will not return to the ITV murder mystery series.
After two successful series on The Bay, Scottish actress Morven made the decision to leave the show, without giving a reason.
The show’s producers told ITV: “The show’s producers thank Morven for her brilliant contribution to The Bay and wish her every success for the future.
“While the DNA of the show remains the same, the change of lead offers up the exciting opportunity to place a new character at the centre of the drama and explore the world of Morecambe from a fresh perspective.”