Nina Wadia

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Nina Wadia
Nina Wadia.jpg
Nina Wadia in 2012
Born Nina Wadia
(1968-12-18) 18 December 1968 (age 48)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Years active 1991–present
Television EastEnders
Goodness Gracious Me
Loose Women
Still Open All Hours
Citizen Khan
Spouse(s) Raiomond Mirza (m. 1998)
Children 2
Relatives see Wadia family

Nina Wadia (born 18 December 1968)[1][2][3] is an Indian-born British actress, known for playing Zainab Masood in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, Mrs Hussein in the Open All Hours spin-off Still Open All Hours, and for starring in the hit BBC Two sketch show Goodness Gracious Me.

Early life[edit]

Wadia was born in Bombay, India,[2] in 1968 and is of Parsi ancestry. She has an older brother and older sister. Her parents have died. When she was nine, she moved to 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 and Doctors. She was a regular presenter on the ITV topical chat show, Loose Women (2005–2006). Wadia has most recently 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, she also appeared in New Tricks once. Wadia played the wedding caterer in the comedy film Bend It Like Beckham. She played a scene-stealing 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.

Wadia also 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".

In July 2013, Wadia appeared in All Star Mr & Mrs.[8]

In September 2013, Wadia appeared in ITV's Big Star's Little Star. Since December 2013, Wadia has starred in Still Open All Hours as Mrs Hussein.[9]

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.[10]

In April 2017, Nina will appear as Khadija in Finding Fatimah, an upcoming British romantic comedy.[11]

Stage and radio[edit]

Apart from the 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 he role of Ariel in a BBC Radio 3 production of The Tempest. In 2002, Wadia 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. There were rumours that her departure was prompted by offers of more lucrative and less demanding television work, although her agent denied this.[12]


Wadia won 'Best Comedy Performance' at the 2009 British Soap Awards. Additionally she won 'Best Onscreen Partnership' at the same awards ceremony for her onscreen relationship with Nitin Ganatra. In 2004 she won the Chairman's Award at the Asian Women awards.

In April 2013 she was awarded with the Outstanding Achievement in Television Award at The Asian Awards.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Wadia is married to the composer Raiomond Mirza. She met him in Canada and married him there in July 1998. They live in Staines, Surrey. Like Wadia, Mirza is also a Parsi and they had a traditional Parsi wedding.[14]

Wadia was a student at Island School, Hong Kong. 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[15] and for increased organ donation from Asians in Britain.[16]




  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". Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  3. ^ "Nina Wadia: EastEnders bosses told me I could be the new Pauline Fowler". The Daily Record. 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. ^ "All Star Mr & Mrs Episode 11". ITV. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "BBC Production starts on Still Open All Hours for BBC One". BBC Online. 16 September 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (4 February 2015). "Holby City casts EastEnders star Nina Wadia as neurosurgeon". Digital Spy. Retrieved 14 February 2015. 
  11. ^ "Finding Fatimah official website". Retrieved 3 Feb 2017. 
  12. ^ "Nina Wadia walks out of Midnight's Children project - The Times of India". 2002-11-18. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  13. ^ Winners at the Asian Awards
  14. ^ "Question time - Nina Wadia: Goodness, gracious me; Nina Wadia is", Sunday Mirror. URL last accessed on 2007-03-31.
  15. ^ EastEnders star Nina Wadia swaps the postroom for the classroom in world record breaking attempt
  16. ^ Nina Wadia Pleads for More Asian Organ Donors
  17. ^

External links[edit]