Navin Chowdhry, who joined EastEnders with a bang in September 2022 as villainous Nish, has been on TV since he was a teenager having starred in Doctor Who and Star Wars.

The 52 year old actor joined the cast in Albert Square as Nish, the husband of Suki Panesar, after he was released from prison for serving a murder sentence and quickly became a devious character on the BBC soap.

Driven by a need for power and respect, Nish hatched a plan to try and buy the Queen Vic which has been the fight for many legendary brawls throughout the years.

But away from EastEnders, the actor is far from his villainous character and spends his time off screen with his wife who he's described as the "strongest, bravest, loudest woman" he has ever met and their two children.

He's also starred in a number of other TV shows including Teachers, Doctor Who, and London's Burning having been in the acting world since he was just a teenager – we take a close look at Navin's life away from Albert Square.

Early career

Navin landed his first acting role back in 1988 when he played Manek Sen in Madam Sousatzka starring alongside Shirley MacLaine and Peggy Ashcroft.

A few years later in 1993, he appeared on the ITV drama London's Burning as Rasheed with his acting career expanding ever since.

While he got started in acting, it was reported Navin was encouraged to take his education seriously and in 1994 graduated with a 2:1 degree in biochemistry from Imperial College London while balancing multiple TV roles over the course of three years.

In 1997 he played the role of PC Sanjay Singh in Dalziel and Pascoe before his acting career really started to take off in 2001 when he landed the role of IT teacher Kurt McKenna in the comedy show Teachers and Ralph in Channel 4’s Ny-Lon in 2004.

Navin also starred in the popular 2003 series Walking The Dead as Rainman and soon after played the role of Indra Ganesh in Doctor Who in 2005.

Other shows the actor has starred in include Judge John Deed, A Touch of Cloth, New Tricks, Midsomer Murders, Doctor Foster, Our Girl, Death in Paradise, and McDonald & Dodds.

In 2017, Navin also played the role of a cargo pilot in Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.

Family life

Known thoughtfully as Nav by his family, the actor was born and raised in Bristol – he also has several well known relatives including comedian Paul Chowdhry who is his cousin.

He has been married to his beautiful wife Charlie for 11 years and they have two sons together, aged ten and seven.

In a sweet post with young photos of his two sons on Instagram on April 26 last year, the father wrote: "Happy Birthday Boys!! The eldest hits 10 today and the youngest was 7 last week. In the words of a friend – “It goes by heartbreakingly fast”.

Navin, who shares the occasional family snap on his Instagram, has been documenting Charlie's breast cancer fight after she was diagnosed in the summer of 2020.

In an Instagram video posted in February of this year, the doting husband showed support for his wife as she underwent surgery where he said "I just felt this sudden overwhelming urge absolutely compelled just to say, to breast cancer, go f**k yourself".

He continued and said: "My wife was diagnosed with triple-positive breast cancer back in the summer of 2020 and like so many of you out there it just opens a world that you hope you never see."

Navin also added: "It just hits home, the bravery courage and soul, and spirit of all you cancer warriors out there."

Celebrating one of their anniversaries in 2021 Navin wrote a sweet post and said "To my wife – the strongest, bravest, loudest woman I have ever met and the most positive light in my life – I love you".

The pair celebrated their eleventh wedding anniversary in July 2022.

Speaking to BBC about joining EastEnders last year Navin said: “It’s been great – everyone has been lovely. My role at the moment has been focused around the Panesar family, but everyone has been extremely welcoming.

"I’ve never worked on a show like EastEnders, so it’s been a new experience for me; but I loved the storylines and I’ve got a keen interest in this family because there’s so much happening at all times!

"Nish is an interesting character – slightly unconventional, and with that brings drama, and mayhem."

He added, "I think there’s a good man under there but turmoil follows these guys (the Panesar’s) around so I'm excited to join in and set off a few more explosions and fireworks.”


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