Coronation Street actor Qasim Akhtar has broken his silence and revealed the real reason he made the shock decision to quit the show after four years playing Zeedan Nazir.
It was revealed earlier this year that the popular actor would be departing the cobbles – a decision that was entirely made by him.
But now Qasim has spoken about why he has decided now is the time to try something new. He told Digital Spy: “I’ve always been really ambitious and I still have that fire and hunger in my belly where I want to explore and do other projects.
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“Because I am seeing so much more diversity in shows nowadays and the pressure that shows have got to introduce more Asian and black actors into things, I feel like it’s a great time for me to be out there.
“Just talking for myself, in the position I am in – being young and not having major commitments in my life – if there is ever a time to do it, it’s now.”
Qasim also admitted that when he joined Corrie he didn’t think he would be there for more than three years – but by the time his final scenes air at the end of this month, he would have been on the soap for four years.
“Leaving was a hard decision for me to make because I became really comfortable here, but I thought to myself, ‘I would rather go away from the show, try to prosper and do different things’.
“It has always been a dream of mine to go to America and work out there, so I’d rather go away and if things didn’t work out I would just be like ‘oh well’. But I would rather say ‘oh well’ than ‘what if?'”
So with his acting career full of possibilities, it seems Qasim is looking forward to whatever the future might bring.
But Corrie bosses haven’t shut the door on Zeedan completely, as it has been revealed he won’t be killed of…
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“I am so happy because that puts you in such a great position as an actor as well. I take it as a compliment and I am very grateful because I like to believe that there will always be a place for me here in the future.
“I am going to miss everyone. I am going to miss the people, I am going to miss the company. I’ll miss the routine and I’ll miss the canteen upstairs, but more than anything I’ll miss the people because I have made some lifelong friends in this place.”
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV.
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