Nina Wadia

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Nina Wadia

Wadia in 2012
Born (1968-12-18) 18 December 1968 (age 54)
  • Actress
  • comedian
Years active1991–present
Raiomond Mirza
(m. 1998)

Nina Wadia OBE (born 18 December 1968[1][2][3]) is an English actress and comedian. She is known for portraying Zainab Masood in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, Aunty Noor in Citizen Khan, Mrs Hussein in the BBC comedy Still Open All Hours and for starring in the BBC Two sketch show Goodness Gracious Me.

Additionally, Wadia appeared in the Hindi-language romantic comedy Namaste London in 2007. She also appeared in the series Origin in 2018 and the BBC soap opera Doctors as Binita Prabhu in 2023.

Early life[edit]

Wadia was born on 18 December 1968 in Bombay, India[2] and is of Parsi ancestry. She has an older brother and older sister; both of her parents have died. When Wadia was nine years old she moved to Hong Kong and was a student at Island School, Hong Kong.[4]


Television and film[edit]

Wadia first came to prominence in BBC sketch show Goodness Gracious Me,[5] playing characters such as Mrs "I can make it at home for nothing!" and one half of The Competitive Mothers. She took over from her Goodness Gracious Me co-star, Meera Syal, in the role of Rupinder in the sitcom All About Me alongside Jasper Carrott and Natalia Kills. In 2007, Wadia was cast as Zainab Masood in the long-running BBC soap opera EastEnders.[6] Her last appearance as Zainab in EastEnders was on 8 February 2013.[7] She also had a minor role in EastEnders in 1994, playing a nurse named Viv who treated Michelle Fowler (Susan Tully) when she was hospitalised with a gunshot wound. She also appears as Zainab in the 2010 spin-off EastEnders: E20.

Wadia has also made several guest appearances in various British comedies and dramas, such as 2point4 Children, The Vicar of Dibley, Thin Ice Chambers, Holby City, Murder in Mind, Doctors and New Tricks. She was a regular presenter on the ITV topical chat show, Loose Women (2005–2006). Wadia also appeared in the E4 teen drama Skins, playing the mother of Anwar Kharral, and, in March 2008, she appeared in the BBC Three drama West 10 LDN. Wadia played the wedding caterer in the comedy film Bend It Like Beckham.[8]

She played a role as the housekeeper in the film I Can't Think Straight, directed by Shamim Sarif. The film revolves about two women from Indian and Palestinian upper-class immigrant communities in the UK who fall in love, and Wadia is the housekeeper who rebels at her high-handed Palestinian employer in small ways. She also had a minor part in the film Code 46 (2003). She starred in a BFI/BBC film Sixth Happiness along with Firdaus Kanga in 1997. The film explores sexuality, disability and the Parsees, a small westernised minority in India, of which Wadia herself is a member. She has also starred alongside Rishi Kapoor playing his wife in a Bollywood film titled Namaste London.[9] She voices the title role in Ethelbert the Tiger – a children's programme. She also had a role in Doctor Who as a doctor in the episode "The Eleventh Hour".[10]

In July 2013, Wadia appeared in All Star Mr & Mrs.[11] In September 2013, she appeared in ITV's Big Star's Little Star. Since December 2013, Wadia has starred in Still Open All Hours as Mrs Hussein.[12] In January 2015, it was announced that Wadia would have a guest role in Holby City, as an established neurosurgeon Annabelle Cooper. The role will be for five episodes.[13] In April 2017, she appeared as Khadija in Finding Fatimah, a British romantic comedy.[14] In 2019, as a last minute casting call, and in "More of a Cameo" as Wadia said, she played the minor part of "Zulla" in the live action remake of Aladdin directed by Guy Ritchie. In 2020, she appeared in the role of Anna Masani in the ninth season of the popular BBC drama series Death in Paradise. Also in 2020, she had a small part in the fifteen minute drama Isolation Stories alongside Sheridan Smith which was filmed via webcam due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.

From September 2021, Wadia was a contestant for the nineteenth series of Strictly Come Dancing, paired with professional dancer Neil Jones.[15] The couple were the first to be eliminated, in the second week.[16] In February 2023, Wadia appeared in an episode of BBC Four's Spring Walks, exploring Swaledale in North Yorkshire.[17] Then in April 2023, she appeared as Binita Prabhu in the BBC soap opera Doctors.[18]

Stage and radio[edit]

Apart from the original radio version of Goodness Gracious Me, Wadia's other radio work includes guesting on Parsons and Naylor's Pull-Out Sections, as well as regular appearances in the BBC World Service soap opera Westway as the pharmacist Namita ul-Haq. In 2001, Wadia voiced the role of Ariel in a BBC Radio 3 production of The Tempest. In 2002, she was due to star in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Midnight's Children, based on Salman Rushdie's novel, but she quit only weeks before rehearsals were due to begin.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Wadia is married to the composer Raiomond Mirza. The couple first met in Canada and married there in July 1998. They live in Surrey, England. Like Wadia, Mirza is a Parsi and the couple had a traditional Parsi wedding.[20][citation needed]


Wadia was involved in the Pakistan Earthquake Appeal Concert and Fashion Show, at the Royal Albert Hall in 2005. She has also been involved in campaigning for Save the Children[21] and for increased organ donation from Asians in Britain.[22] As a JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Ambassador Nina Wadia received an OBE in the 2021 New Year Honours for her services to charity and entertainment.

Honours and awards[edit]

Wadia won Best Comedy Performance at the 2009 British Soap Awards, as well as Best On-Screen Partnership at the same awards ceremony for her on-screen relationship with Nitin Ganatra. In 2004, she won the chairman's Award at the Asian Women awards.[23]

In April 2013, she was awarded with the Outstanding Achievement in Television Award at The Asian Awards.[24]

Wadia was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2021 New Year Honours for services to entertainment and charity.[25]



Year(s) Title Role(s)
1991 2point4 Children Sharma
1994 EastEnders Nurse Viv
1998–2001, 2014–2015 Goodness Gracious Me Various characters
1999 The Vicar of Dibley Miss Carr
2000 Holby City Rita Dennish
2000–2001 Perfect World Maggie
2001 Chambers Alex Kahn
2002 Ethelbert the Tiger Ethelbert
2003–2004 All About Me Rupinder
2003 Murder in Mind Meena Patel
2004 Doctors DS Coombs
2005 Waking The Dead Roshni Mehta
2005 New Tricks Mughda Das
2005–2006, 2015, 2016 Loose Women Regular Panellist; Guest Panellist
2006 Thin Ice Karen
2006, 2017 The Wright Stuff Panellist; Guest Host
2007–2008 Skins Mother of Anwar Kharral
2007–2013 EastEnders Zainab Masood
2008 West 10 LDN Job Centre Clerk
2010 Doctor Who Dr Ramsden
2010 EastEnders: E20 Zainab Masood
2013–2018 Still Open All Hours Mrs. Hussein
2014 Citizen Khan Aunty Noor
2015 Holby City Annabelle Cooper
2017 Zapped Judge
2017 Hetty Feather Mrs Penhaligon
2017 Murder on the Blackpool Express Moira
2018 Trollied Meg
2018 The Apprentice: You're Fired! Panellist
2018 Origin Venisha Gupta
2019–present Danny & Mick Joy
2020 Death in Paradise Anna Masani
2020 Isolation Stories Yasmine
2020 The Crystal Maze Contestant
2021 Can I Improve My Memory? Contestant[26]
2021 Strictly Come Dancing Contestant
2021–present The Outlaws Shanthi
2022 The Sandman Fate Mother
2023 Doctors Binita Prabhu
2023 B&B by the Sea Herself; one episode[27]
2023 Count Abdulla Bushra Khan
TBA Midsomer Murders Medora Salt


Year(s) Title Role(s)
1997 Sixth Happiness Dolly Kotwal
2002 Bend It Like Beckham Wedding caterer
2003 Code 46 Hospital receptionist
2007 Namaste London Bebo Malhotra
2008 I Can't Think Straight Rani
2012 Keith Lemon: The Film Pat
2016 A Street Cat Named Bob Bus Conductress
2017 Finding Fatimah Khadija
2018 Strangeways Here We Come Lucy
2019 Aladdin Zulla
2019 Corner Shop Show: Thank You, Come Again Faizal's mother
2022 Kaur Lakhwinder


  1. ^ Rollo, Sarah (12 December 2009). "'Enders Wadia plans double celebration". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b "My secret life: Nina Wadia, actress, 39". The Independent. 10 October 2008. Archived from the original on 21 June 2022. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  3. ^ "Nina Wadia: EastEnders bosses told me I could be the new Pauline Fowler". Daily Record. Scotland. 29 April 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  4. ^ The TV That Made Me s2 e4, 10 March 2016.
  5. ^ Dowell, Ben (25 August 2015). "Goodness Gracious Me: why was the Meera Syal, Nina Wadia and Sanjeev Bhaskar comedy so groundbreaking?". Radio Times. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  6. ^ "New Asian family for Eastenders". Archived from the original on 23 May 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
  7. ^ Brown, David (29 January 2013). "EastEnders: Nina Wadia on Zainab's exit – "It's very sad. We had the crew in tears"". Radio Times. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  8. ^ Goodacre, Kate (22 March 2015). "Bend It Like Beckham: Where are the cast of the 2002 box office hit now?". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Nina Wadia -Independent Talent". Independent Talent Group.
  10. ^ Wilkes, Neil (2 April 2010). "Nina Wadia talks 'Doctor Who' cameo". Digital Spy. Nat Mags. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  11. ^ "All Star Mr & Mrs Episode 11". ITV. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  12. ^ "BBC Production starts on Still Open All Hours for BBC One". BBC. 16 September 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  13. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (4 February 2015). "Holby City casts EastEnders star Nina Wadia as neurosurgeon". Digital Spy. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Finding Fatimah official website". Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  15. ^ "BBC One - Strictly Come Dancing - Nina Wadia". BBC.
  16. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing 2021 has eliminated its first contestant of the series". The Independent. 3 October 2021. Archived from the original on 21 June 2022.
  17. ^ "BBC Four - Spring Walks, Series 1, Nina Wadia". BBC. Retrieved 15 February 2023.
  18. ^ Timblick, Simon. "Doctors spoilers: Nina Wadia guests as WHOSE family relative?". What to Watch. (Future plc). Retrieved 28 March 2023.
  19. ^ "Nina Wadia walks out of Midnight's Children project". The Times of India. 18 November 2002. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
  20. ^ "Question time – Nina Wadia: Goodness, gracious me; Nina Wadia is", Sunday Mirror. URL. Retrieved 31 March 2007.
  21. ^ "EastEnders star Nina Wadia swaps the postroom for the classroom in world record breaking attempt". Archived from the original on 12 October 2008.
  22. ^ Nina Wadia Pleads for More Asian Organ Donors Archived 10 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "EastEnders stars help Fete Asian Women Achievers". Hello!. 28 May 2004. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  24. ^ Sharma, Meera (18 April 2013). "Special Report: Asian Awards 2013".
  25. ^ "No. 63218". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2020. p. N14.
  26. ^ "Channel 4's Can I Improve My Memory? (2021)".
  27. ^ "B&B by the Sea". Retrieved 15 April 2023.

External links[edit]

Media related to Nina Wadia at Wikimedia Commons