‘Carmel likes to be in charge,’ warns Bonnie Langford about her EastEnders character

New to EastEnders, musical theatre star Bonnie Langford talks to Soaplife about her role as Carmel – Kush’s mother and Shabnam’s future mother-in-law.

With Kush and Shabnam celebrating their engagement, it’s time to meet the hunk’s mum, Carmel Kazemi, who’s played by Bonnie Langford. Carmel’s a glamorous, good-time Essex woman, who’s determined to make Kush’s wedding go with a bang.

“She has this tremendous desire to see her son happy,” says Bonnie. So she might not be happy to hear about about Shabnam’s secret baby…

What does Carmel make of Shabnam?
“She’s grateful that Shabnam [Rakhee Thakrar] has chosen Kush [Davood Ghadami] because he has been through so much, but she’s not necessarily the kind of person she would naturally gravitate to.”

Will Carmel take over the wedding planning?
“Yes, Carmel likes to be in charge. Organising is her thing. She is slightly overbearing.”

What happens when the Masoods lay on a dinner for Carmel?
“Carmel turns up and there’s tension in the air. Not everybody is there and Carmel senses they’re up to something – she doesn’t know that Masood has found out where Shabnam’s daughter is and has gone off to try to make contact. Carmel doesn’t like the fact that she doesn’t know what’s going on.”

But Masood and Carmel go for a drink later…
“Yes. That’s interesting as Shabnam doesn’t approve of alcohol and Carmel’s always in the pub. Carmel opens up to Masood. They have a common bond in that their kids don’t listen to them.”

Who else does Carmel bond with?
“She makes friends with anyone – apart from those who cross her son and then Godzilla comes out.”

How long are you in the show for?
“I’m in for several episodes, but I don’t know if I’m coming back.”

Have you enjoyed your time on EastEnders?
“On my first day, I did a scene in the Queen Vic and I was very nervous, but actually it was quite joyous and everyone has been lovely. We did get quite giggly doing the dinner party scenes – Nitin [Ganatra, who plays Masood] is so naughty!  I’m really enjoying it and love the fact that Carmel has so many different layers.”

EastEnders, BBC1.


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