Hollyoaks Ali star Raji James’ life – second job, EastEnders role and real name

Raji James is building up quite the fanbase for playing Hollyoaks' Ali Shahzad.

The actor was cast as Ali back in September 2021, and since then fans of the Channel 4 soap have been getting to know the complicated character.

But while we have come to know plenty about Ali, how much do we know about Raji?

READ MORE: Hollyoaks Wendy star's life – famous husband, second job and movie role

And where have we seen him before?

Actor joined Hollyoaks amid pandemic

Raji was cast in Hollyoaks amid the coronavirus pandemic, when there were various restrictions around filming.

Speaking when his casting was announced, he said he was "delighted" to be a part of the show, adding: "Due to the Covid rules in place, I've only been able to meet a few of the other cast members so far.

"They, along with the incredible crew and office staff, have all been very welcoming and supportive, making it easy to fit in."

Raji has had many other TV roles

Raji has been appearing on screen since the early 90s and has had roles in television shows including The Bill, Doctor Who, Coupling, Robin Hood, Blind Men, Crocodile Shoes and Cry Wolf.

He also starred in the 1999 film East Is East.

The star isn't new to soapland

The actor has also been in a soap before, playing Ash Ferreira in EastEnders.

Raji was in the BBC soap for two years, from 2003 to 2005.

His character Ash moved to Walford with his family and he had a bit of a gambling problem.

He was also something of a love rat, as he got into a relationship with Shirley Benson (Robyn Moore), who his dad Dan had been involved with.

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Real name

Raji James isn't the actor's real name.

The star, who was born in 1970, is actually named Rajesh Kumar Jhanji.

However, he adopted the moniker Raji James professionally.

Second job

Acting isn't the only thing on Raji's CV.

According to LinkedIn, he also does a bit of lecturing on the side.

The star has apparently been a guest lecturer at Bucks New University for more than 11 years.

The entry says that he covers topics such as "acting and presenting for camera", "improvisation" and "modern and classical texts".


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