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Eastenders: E20

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Himesh Patel Himesh Patel | 11:45 UK time, Friday, 23 September 2011

I've been playing Tamwar Masood on EastEnders for four years.

Together with Charlie G Hawkins, who recently left EastEnders after playing Darren Miller for eight years, I have written the second online episode of EastEnders: E20 series three.

Faith Olubumni (Modupe Adeyeye), Donnie (Samuell Benta) and Ava (Sophie Colquhoun) in Albert Square.

The latest additions to the Albert Square spin-off: Faith (Modupe Adeyeye), Donnie (Samuell Benta) and Ava (Sophie Colquhoun).

I had always written ideas and scripts since my GCSEs, having studied drama and creative writing, so I was thrilled when my application to write for E20 was successful.

Writing was always something that Charlie and I thought about and talked over, but E20 was our first real attempt at writing together.

We were huge fans of both series one and two, and were chuffed when we heard the producers liked both of our applications.

Luckily we already knew Emer Kenny and Arinze Kene as they had both been actors on EastEnders - Emer played Zsa Zsa Carter, and Arinze played Connor.

They had both previously written for E20, so they helped familiarise us and helped us adjust between the two shows, but all the writers were fantastic at bumping ideas together.

Performing is obviously something we've both done for a long time with EastEnders, so the things we've learnt there have helped us overcome a lot of the challenges that acting entails.

But there are many differences in terms of writing, particularly the challenge of finding the balance between your ideas and the direction the producers want to take the series in.

It's our job to accommodate their ideas and our own in the best way - a challenge that can be tough, but just as rewarding.

When writing our episode, both Charlie and I actually made a conscious effort to avoid using our own characters because we like to think of ourselves as actors and writers as separate entities.

There's always a danger that writing what you'd like to perform might overshadow what's best for the episode.

Of course we have our own favourite characters from the main show and it was great to work out where we could potentially use some of them in our episode, but we were conscious of not using them just for the sake of it.

It is important that they fit in to the narrative of the episode, because in our capacity as writers the priority is E20 and the brand new characters that drive the series.

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Introducing E20's three brand new characters

However, there's no denying it's great being able to use characters from EastEnders!

Sadly our EastEnders filming schedules meant that we just didn't have time to get involved with the bags of extra online content which sits online alongside the 15 episodes.

It's fantastic, so viewers should definitely look forward to that as well as the main drama.

We've been fortunate enough to have worked with a really great team who work hard on every aspect of the story of E20.

Can't wait for you all to see it!

Himesh Patel plays Tamwar Masood in EastEnders which continues on BBC One and BBC One HD on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. You can catch up with episodes on the EastEnders website.

Series three of EastEnders: E20 launches this week. Episodes are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays on the E20 website, with an omnibus on BBC Three on Fridays at 8.30pm.

Find out more about this unique commission from BBC Learning on the About the BBC Blog.

If you are aged 16-22 and are interested in writing a future episode of E20, you should submit a piece of fictional writing for a character you have created. You should write either a blog entry, a diary extract or a monologue for that fictional character (no longer than 400 words) and send it to: EastEnders: E20 Script Development, BBC Elstree Centre, Clarendon Road, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 1JF

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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