Himesh Patel thinks the perception of soap stars in show business is "changing".

Himesh Patel

Himesh Patel

The 'EastEnders' actor believes it is a "step in the right direction" that an actor "like [him]", who portrayed Tamwar Masood on the BBC One show for nine years, can make the leap from Albert Square to leading the cast of Danny Boyle-directed movie 'Yesterday'.

He said: "There's friends of mine who have been doing really great work since leaving soaps. It's something that I think has been changing.

"I'm glad that, you know, someone like me, who did nine years on a soap, can now go on and do something like this. That's kind of a step in the right direction, I think."

Himesh is unsure whether his part in 'Yesterday' - which sees him play a musician who, after an accident, is the only person who remembers who The Beatles are - will be "scrutinised more" because of starting out his career in soaps.

He added to Digital Spy: "I didn't feel it when I was working on ['Yesterday']. And, you know, whether it means that I'm scrutinised more when it does come out, obviously I don't know. I don't know whether to expect that or not.

"But the fact that I'm even in this position is a step that I don't think has happened. Well, it's been happening slowly."

Himesh's comments come after 'EastEnders' star Rob Kazinsky - who made a brief return to the show as Sean Slater in May - called for a Twitter user to "stop looking down" on soap operas.

In response to a social media user who said they felt "sad" that he "had to go back to working in soaps", he replied: "This perspective is one of the reasons I wanted to. Took one day of working with Gillian Wright to be reminded that some of the biggest talent I ever worked with was on this show. It's privilege to be on something this special, even if just for a moment. Stop looking down on it.

"I have five movies coming out this year that I'm very excited about, and I'm very excited to be working back at my first love too. I hope people can see that there's really no difference. People look down their noses at these things and I'm trying to show that you don't have to."