Inside Hollyoaks Ali star’s rival soap role as EastEnders love rat Ash Ferreira

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Hollyoaks fans will recognise newcomer Ali Shahzad went he arrives in the village on Thursday evening.

Former EastEnders actor Raji James has been cast in the rival soap and his new role is set to shake things up at Dee Valley Hospital.

Raji will not only play a new health worker Ali, but also Shaq’ Qureshi’s biological father.

His addition to the show follows the recent bombshell on the soap seeing Misbah Maalik, played by Harvey Virdi, revealed to be Shaq's real mother, as opposed to his auntie, which he was led to believe his entire life.

Appearing as a doctor who quickly wins over his colleagues, fans will not take long to realise that Dr Shahzad is hiding dark secrets.

The peculiar character is anticipated to cause a stir in the village, and especially disturbing his son, Shaq, as well as the rest of the Maalik family.

Moreover, despite charming his colleagues and his surroundings with his witty humour and impeccable professionalism, Ali will also show a darker side to his personality by manipulating people any which way if it serves him.

Raji told Digital Spy: "I'm delighted to be joining the cast of Hollyoaks, particularly as I'm part of a very topical and potentially explosive storyline.”

He continued: "Ali is a very complex character and I'm thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to explore his darker side.”

The actor, who is best known for having played Ash Ferreira in EastEnders, confessed to meeting only a few of the other cast members so far as a result of Covid-19 rules in place.

Raji did, however, commend the crew and cast for being welcoming him and being showing support towards him.

"Having hit the ground running, we've already filmed a few hugely emotional scenes,” Raji explained.

He added: “It's been an absolute pleasure to work alongside and learn from such fantastic actors as Harvey (Misbah), Omar (Shaq), Sarah Jayne (Mandy), Lysette (Marnie) and Nadine (Cleo)."

The 51-year-old actor will make his debut in the Channel 4 soap on Thursda, following two years on EastEnders and two years on The Bill as DS Vik Singh.

Hollyoaks airs new episodes from Mondays to Fridays at 6.30pm on Channel 4 followed by first-look episodes on E4

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