"If it was our storyline, those were long days."
Nina Wadia has revealed all about the gruelling schedule whilst working on Eastenders.
Nina played Zainab Masood from 2007 to 2013 and her on-screen family explored some of the most famous storylines and dealt with some difficult themes.
The actress has now spoken about day-to-day life on the soap, which she admits were “long”.
Nina said: “I loved my time on that show.
“It’s long days, long hours, but it’s so much fun because you’re around people that you laugh with, all the time.
“People don’t realise that when you work on a soap you become a bit of a family, you find your friends in there, and it’s just fun.”
Nina would leave the house very early in the morning because she wanted to beat the M25 traffic.
If her call time was 7:30 am, she would leave the house at 5:30 am to be there on time. Nina would then rest in the dressing room.
She continued: “I’d then go to hair and makeup, do a couple of scenes – sometimes you get a break between scenes.
“If it was our storyline, those were long days.
“We’d be filming all day – it’d normally be a 7 am to 7 pm day, something like that. And I’d be learning lines in between each one.”
Some of Nina’s most exciting storylines include her son Syed coming out as gay, facing abuse from an ex-husband who had previously set her on fire for cheating on him and being caught up in an arson attack that ended up killing her ex-husband and severely burning her son Tamwar.
These storylines led Nina to get close to her fellow cast members, including Nitin Ganatra, who played her on-screen husband Masood Ahmed.
The pair won ‘Best Onscreen Partnership’ at the British Soap Awards in 2009 and remained good friends.
Fans were delighted when Nina Wadia revealed that she bumped into Nitin in North London.
She told MyLondon: “I ran into Nitin the other day.
“I was in Muswell Hill, I’d gone for a fitting for a dress for when I pick up my OBE, and I ran into him – he was standing right outside a post office, which is where we started in EastEnders.
“I was like: ‘No way!’, it just brought back so many memories of how much fun we had together.”
Despite enjoying her time on Eastenders, the long hours meant that Nina would often return home exhausted.
She’s grateful to her husband, Raiomond Mirza, for having dinner ready when she returned home and for his support.
Nina said: “Those days I’d either cook in advance or my husband would experiment again.
“We’ve got this recipe book that’s specifically just recipes for my husband that he can make very easily and very quickly.
“He’s very sweet like that, honestly, I feel so blessed with my husband because I couldn’t have been as resilient without him.”