Himesh Patel: ‘It felt odd making a show about a pandemic’

The former EastEnders actor talks about shooting a pilot on a deadly virus, telling British stories with a difference – and how playing a bit part as a pigeon changed his careerThe so-called “curse of EastEnders” – the struggle for soap actors to transition into more prestigious dramatic roles after leaving the show – always weighed heavily on the mind of Himesh Patel.So when he decided to leave the soap in 2016, after nine years playing Tamwar Masood, he knew whichever role he chose next would be critical in breaking typecast, perhaps even defining the rest of his career.

He went to a friend whose theatre company, withWings, took inventive musical adaptations to the Edinburgh fringe.

That year they were doing Le Bossu, a retelling of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Patel mentioned that he wanted to get out of his comfort zone and do some theatre.

“He came back to me and said,

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