Who plays Ms Asma Farooqi in the cast?
Laila Zaidi joins the cast of Ackley Bridge in season 5 as a new teacher with a passion for activism and some dark secrets, too.
Actress Laila describes her character Ms Asma Farooqi as “bold, harsh but always kind”.
But who is Laila Zaidi and what do you recognise her from?
And what’s her new character like in Ackley Bridge?
Here’s everything you need to know!
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Laila Zaidi joins the cast as Asma Farooqi in Ackley Bridge
In the first episode of season 5, Laila Zaidi’s new character arrives in Ackley Bridge.
Asma Farooqi arrives with a bang – she’s a young and intelligent Hijabi-wearing Muslim teacher at the school.
She’s a proud activist who arrives at the school with a stolen statue!
Asma sees teaching as a political act.
She arrives at Ackley resolute on making her students think for themselves.
This new head-strong teacher seems to get different reactions from her pupils and colleagues at Ackley Bridge.
PE teacher Hassan is instantly love-struck, while Fizza is in awe, and Kaneez can’t stand her arrogance.
But despite her perfect image, we soon discover she’s battling her own demons of her own.
Asma is an alcoholic – yet to admit it to herself, let alone anyone else.
Who plays Ms Asma Farooqi in season 5 of Ackley Bridge?
Laila Zaidi plays the activist teacher Asma Farooqi in Ackley Bridge.
The Pakistani-Britsh actress is a relative newcomer to the screen, perhaps best known for her previous role on Benidorm.
She’s had quite a bit of experience on stage, though – recently playing Maria in West Side Story on the West End.
She also played Rosalia in the BBC Prom’s West Side Story.
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How old is Laila Zaidi and where is she from?
Actress Laila Zaidi is 29 years old.
She’ll celebrate her 30th birthday on September 20 2022.
The actress is a Geordie, growing up in Newcastle.
She trained at the Arts Educational School in London, graduating in 2016.
She’s a professional singer and fluent in Spanish.
Laila is based in London but stayed near Halifax whilst filming Ackley Bridge.
She says: “It is absolutely beautiful.
“It is so picturesque and just the most amazing place to live for three months.”
What has Laila Zaidi starred in before Ackley Bridge?
Laila was a series regular on Benidorm.
She played Cyd in the final season of Benidorm back in 2018, as the South American girlfriend of Rob Dawson.
She’s had some other TV guest roles, she featured on Doctors back in 2017 and on Holby City in 2020.
Laila Zaidi featured in an episode of the Amazon Prime mini-series Mood.
The actress has also had a lot of experience on stage, playing Jess in a Canadian tour of the Bend it Like Beckham musical.
She also starred in the tour version of the well-loved West End musical The Boy Friend.
Is Laila Zaidi single or does she have a boyfriend?
The actress has been dating fellow Benidorm star Adam Gillen since they met on set in 2018.
Adam played Liam Conroy on the show until it ended in 2018.
The couple are still together, recently posting cute photos together on Instagram!
What’s Ackley Bridge actress Laila Zaidi in next?
Laila Zaidi is next set to star in the Short Horror film The Everlasting Club, written by Joy Wilkinson who wrote for BBC’s Doctor Who as well as Doctors.
This summer, she will star in Bush Theatre’s play Invisible as several characters.
Ackley Bridge returns to Channel 4 on Monday July 11 at 10pm and 10.30pm, airing every night this week.
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