Former EastEnders star Deepak Verma has criticised the soap for failing to portray modern Asian families realistically.

Deepak, who played Sanjay Kapoor in the BBC1 soap for five years, slammed the new Masood characters as a ‘two-dimensional, ill-conceived Asian family’ with ‘stupid clothes and stupid accents’.

The actor starred as market trader Sanjay, who was married to Gita (Shobu Kapoor), between 1993 and 1998.

Deepak said that, in contrast to his time on EastEnders, the show is moving backwards.

He said: “My character and Shobu’s character were the first real [Asian] characters on the show that were proper people. I just acted like a Hackney boy, like a barrow boy.”

He added: “We did that 15 years ago. We need to move forwards.”

He said the BBC1 programme should follow the lead of ITV1’s Coronation Street.

“Jimmi Harkishin [who plays Dev Alahan] is brilliant. That’s what it should be like. He’s just a dodgy womanising sleazebag.

“He’s Indian but that’s got nothing to do with it. He’s just a brilliant actor. That’s where it should be going. Coronation Street has done better than EastEnders recently.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “It’s a shame Deepak feels that way but that’s clearly his very personal opinion.

“The Masood family have proved to be hugely popular with EastEnders viewers – Nitin (Ganatra) and Nina (Wadia) won ‘Best on screen Partnership’ and Nina won ‘Best Comedy Performer’ at this year’s British Soap awards – which is a real testament to how successfully the Masoods have establised themselves in Walford.”

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