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EastEnders fans know Gurlaine Kaur Garcha as Albert Square’s Ash Panesar, but the actress has revealed she very nearly ended up in rival soap Coronation Street.
In an exclusive chat with OK!, Gurlaine explained that she got down to the final two actresses to play the ITV show’s Rana Habeeb, before the role was given to actress Bhavna Limbachia.
Speaking about her rise to soap stardom, Gurlaine, who joined EastEnders in 2019, said: “I ended up getting to the last two for a role in Corrie and I didn’t get it.”
She continued: “It was for the role of Rana. I auditioned for the role and made it to the screen-test and went on.”
Although the role eventually went to Bhavna, who was front and centre of Corrie between 2016 and 2019 before she was killed off, Gurlaine took a lot from the audition process.
The star, who at the time was working on The Graham Norton Show as a researcher, explained: “It was amazing and they all seemed really lovely and close-knit there. It’s a great soap.”
In fact, not getting the part encouraged Gurlaine to give up her job in TV production to fully pursue a career in acting.
She confessed: “When I didn’t get it, I thought, ‘Forget this! I need to just focus on acting.’”
Gurlaine added: “I ended up being an actor which was always my dream and it was always my dream to be on EastEnders as well so I got to tick that box. “
Gurlaine also opened up about her time working on The Graham Norton Show, including a very memorable experience with David Beckham.
She revealed: "It was incredible to meet so many people from Will Smith to David Beckham.”
“We knocked on his door and he’d just got out of the shower with a towel on. I went bright red because I thought, “I’ve just interrupted David Beckham as he’s got out of the shower!”
“But 50 Cent was my childhood love. When I was in year five at school, I cut out his picture and stuck it on my folder, so meeting him was amazing.”
And she still looks back fondly on her time working alongside Graham and the rest of the team.
Gurlaine said: “It was amazing and an incredible experience that I’ll forever be grateful for. Graham’s lovely as well.”
“I went to the NTAs in 2019 and I walked past him and it was so nice to see all the team there."
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EastEnders is on BBC One on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday as well as BBC iPlayer
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