Nina Wadia OBE

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Eastenders, Goodness Gracious Me

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An engaging and funny actress Nina has appeared in Goodness Gracious Me and Eastenders, as well as performing Shakespeare on the radio and The Vagina Monologues on stage. As she talks about her wide variety of roles, her conversation with Bill Gates, and ensuring the word ‘chuddies’ entered the Oxford English Dictionary.


Nina Wadia is an actress, writer and producer, best know for her starring roles in the pioneering sketch show Goodness Gracious Me, and also as the formidable Zainab Masood in Eastenders.

After a series of small roles in sitcoms and dramas (including, briefly, as a nurse in Eastenders), Nina found fame with the comedy Goodness Gracious Me. Hailed not just for showing a side of Indian-British culture rarely seen on television, the programme was also as an original, entertaining series featuring characters and sketches that would go on to be comedy classics.

Nina went on to appear in comedies including The Vicar of Dibley, and in dramatic roles in White Teeth, New Tricks, Doctor Who, and Waking the Dead as well as a number of independent films, often focusing on India and immigrant communities before joining the Eastenders cast. As Zainab Masood (and later Khan), Nina played a forceful, no-nonsense character in the tradition of Albert Square matriarchs and a part that, typically for the soap, dealt with difficult and controversial subjects. Leaving the soap after six years, Nina continues to appear in comedies and dramas, most recently as neurosurgeon Annabelle Cooper in Holby City.

A naturally funny and engaging presence, Nina recounts stories from her life and career, speaks about the public’s tendency to think soap characters are real, what Bill Gates said to her, and how ‘going for an English’ and the word ‘chuddies’ have become culturally important.

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