The BBC has confirmed that three new Punjabi characters will be debuting on its flagship show ‘EastEnders’ this year.

The Panesar family – consisting of three brothers – Vinny, Kheerat and Jags, will be played by Jaz Deol, Amar Adatia and Shiv Jalota. This is the first time in the show’s 34 year history that a Sikh family will enter.

Executive producer Jon Sen said, “The Panesar family will bring their own unique blend of charm and chaos onto the Square. A British Asian family of Punjabi Sikh heritage, Kheerat, Jags and Vinny are three very different brothers who turn up in Walford looking to settle a score – however, fate quickly takes a hand and they find themselves staying for good. We’re thrilled to be introducing this vibrant new family to Walford and to be sharing their stories.”

Jaz Deol plays Kheerat, the elder brother in the trio. He said, “I’m very proud and excited to be joining such an iconic show and bringing to life a character that is a reflection of the cultural background that I and many others come from in today’s modern Britain. I can’t wait to get started and for viewers to meet the Panesars.”

Jags, who lives in the shadow of his older brother, is played by Amar Adatia. He said, “My younger self would never have believed I’d be on EastEnders. It’s pretty amazing to be part of one of the most iconic television shows alongside some of the best actors in the business. I really am so grateful.”

The youngest brother, Vinny, is played by TV newcomer Shiv Jolata. Talking about his role, he said, “It still hasn’t sunk in that I’m going to be on EastEnders. As a young boy, I remember being introduced to the Masood family and thinking there are people like me on television. To be part of that next generation of people representing my identity is a blessing. I couldn’t be more excited.”

The family moves into Albert Square in the coming weeks.

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