Coronation Street: Qasim Akhtar joins as Kal’s son – and his reaction to Leanne just isn’t cricket!

Coronation Street introduces Qasim Akhtar as Kal’s son Zeedan, an ace cricketer who’s certainly not bowled over by Leanne. . .

Zeedan Nazir’s timing couldn’t be better. He arrives on the Street just as Steve is lamenting the lack of talent in the Rovers’ cricket team. His dad Kal is proud when Zeedan promptly joins up – but the boy’s heroic entrance quickly becomes a dramatic exit… “Leanne, Kal’s girlfriend, arrives at the Rovers vs The Flying Horse cricket match and Zeedan has a big argument with her. He throws his bat down, walks off the pitch and nearly messes things up for the team,” Qasim tells Soaplife.

Why is Zeedan so anti-Leanne (Jane Danson)?
“He doesn’t want anyone to replace his mother. It’s upsetting for him to see his dad being affectionate with a woman when he rarely saw Kal being like that with his mum because Kal was away in the army for so many years.”

How does Kal (Jimi Mistry) react to Zeedan’s rejection of Leanne?
“He’s really upset. Zeedan realises this but right now he doesn’t care. He’d like his dad to tell Leanne that they can’t be together. Zeedan’s being selfish but there are reasons why he’s acting this way. There’s so much more to learn about him.”

Such as?
“He’s been brought up by his grandparents so his father figure is his grandfather, not his dad. Kal and Zeedan don’t have the best relationship, regardless of Leanne. They’ve never got on. Zeedan’s quite a cool kid who likes his clothes and his trainers. He’s also very protective over his sister, Ayla [Sair Khan].”

Is there anyone in the Street outside the family that Zeedan is likely to connect with?
“Gary Windass [Mikey North]. It’s Gary who speaks to him in the cricket pavilion after he’s thrown his bat down. Gary tells him what Kal was like in the army. Zeedan doesn’t want to hear what Gary’s saying but it’s the beginning of a friendship between them.”

How did you land this role?
“I’d just come out of Shameless and wanted to continue in TV dramas and film. In February, I hadn’t worked for 11 months and was starting to feel a bit down about things. My mum said, ‘I’d love it if you got a part on Coronation Street’. Three weeks later we heard Corrie were casting a young Asian lad. Two weeks after that my agent got me an audition and I got the part!”

Coronation Street, ITV. Click here for dates and times.