Wednesday 13 December 2017

Eastenders actor Paul Bhattacharjee's body found near cliffs

A body found near cliffs has been identified as missing actor Paul Bhattacharjee
A body found near cliffs has been identified as missing actor Paul Bhattacharjee

A BODY found near cliffs has been identified as missing actor Paul Bhattacharjee, British police said.

Mr Bhattacharjee, who starred in James Bond film Casino Royale and EastEnders, left rehearsals at the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, London, on July 10 and appeared to walk in the direction of a nearby Tube station.

The 53-year-old was said to be in good spirits that evening but, after sending his girlfriend a text message at 9pm, no-one heard from him and he was reported missing.

Scotland Yard was contacted by officers in Sussex yesterday and told that the body of a man matching his description had been found near cliffs at Splash Point in Seaford, East Sussex, last Friday.

Mr Bhattacharjee, from Redbridge, north-east London, was formally identified yesterday. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

His friends and family had made pleas for his safe return, including his 24-year-old son Rahul Bhattacharjee-Prashar, who told the Evening Standard the disappearance was "completely out of character". He added: "He was doing well in his career and everything seemed to be going okay."

The actor, who also appeared in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, White Teeth and Dirty Pretty Things, had been due to appear in this week's play Talk Show at the Royal Court. His role in the play, which began on Tuesday, was recast.

He was part of the theatre's company of 14 actors performing in the Weekly Rep series, which sees six plays staged in six weeks, and had already appeared in two of the productions.

Colleagues had taken to Twitter to express concern for Mr Bhattacharjee as news of his disappearance spread. Bend It Like Beckham actress Parminder Nagra, Sex in the City star Kim Cattrall and Stephen Fry - who went missing for a week in 1995 - all appealed to their followers for information about the actor.

Mr Bhattacharjee had been due to perform in a production by Nitin Sawhney, who described the actor as a friend and wrote on Twitter that he was "really worried" about his disappearance.

He played a doctor in Casino Royale in 2006 and was in several episodes of EastEnders as Masood's brother Inzamam between 2008 and 2010. Other television credits for the actor included Waking the Dead, Spooks and The Bill.

Last year he appeared as Benedick opposite Meera Syal in an Royal Shakespeare Company production of Much Ado about Nothing.

Tributes have been paid to the actor, with many from the theatre world taking to Twitter to express their sadness.

Director Jamie Lloyd wrote: "Very sad to hear about the death of Paul Bhattacharjee. He was a very fine actor. My thoughts are with his family."

Muzz Khan, who appeared in Much Ado About Nothing alongside the late actor, said: "Rest In Peace, Paul Bhattacharjee. I can't believe you're gone, mate."

Playwright Duncan Gates wrote: "'When you depart from me sorrow abides and happiness takes his leave'. RIP Paul Paul Bhattacharjee."

Actor Rick Warden wrote: "Having a bad time with the news about friend and colleague Paul Bhattacharjee's death. An intelligent & charismatic man. Very sad."

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