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Last Updated:  Friday, 7 March, 2003, 16:01 GMT
New EastEnders family announced
The Ferreiras (from left): Ronnie, Dan, Ash, Adi and Kareena
The Ferreiras (from left): Ronnie, Dan, Ash, Adi and Kareena
EastEnders' bosses have unveiled a new family to join the TV soap, after a search of more than two years.

The five-strong Ferreira family, the show's first new Asian family for 10 years, will join the cast in early summer.

They will move into the house left vacant by Mark Fowler, and the new actors include Raji James, who played DS Vik Singh in The Bill, and Bollywood veteran Dalip Tahil.

"After a search... in which we have met literally hundreds of people, we have finally found the perfect cast for our dynamic new family," executive producer Louise Berridge said.

"We're delighted to welcome the Ferreiras to Albert Square, and I'm sure the viewers will be too."

The Ferreiras will be the first Asian family in Albert Square since Gita and Sanjay Kapoor arrived in 1993.

It's nice to join a show as popular and as well-loved as EastEnders
Ameet Chana
Tahil, who will play Dan, has featured in films including Ghandi and Bollywood hit Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai, and was most recently seen in West End musical Bombay Dreams.

"I have always been aware of EastEnders - that it is this long-running series seen by millions of people," he said.

"But it wasn't until I arrived in the UK to appear in Bombay Dreams that I realised it was so much a part of British culture and mainstream television."

Ray Panthaki, who will play Ronnie, was seen in Ali G In Da House, while Raji James, to be introduced as Ash, will also be remembered for East is East.

Ameet Chana, who will play Adi, and Poojah Shah, cast as Kareena, both had minor roles in Bend It Like Beckham, as well as other films and TV shows.

"Having worked for 12 years within the acting community, it's nice to join a show as popular and as well-loved as EastEnders and to be part of something that's talked about by everyone," Chana said.

Another character, Tariq, played by Nabil Elonahabi, will join as Ronnie's best friend.

BBC One's EastEnders is currently losing out in the ratings battle with ITV1's Coronation Street, which has seen audience figures surge during its recent serial killer storyline.

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