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Eastenders actor Paul Bhattacharjee missing

The 53-year-old has appeared in James Bond film Casino Royale and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Police are searching for Paul Bhattacharjee, a respected stage and screen actor, who left rehearsals for a play last week and has not been heard from since.

Mr Bhattacharjee, who appeared in James Bond film Casino Royale and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, had been rehearsing at the Royal Court Theatre in London for Talk Show, which opens tonight.

The theatre was forced to bring in actor Lee Armstrong to replace him.

On Wednesday evening, Mr Bhattacharjee left rehearsals, and no one has seen him since. Police yesterday appealed for any information regarding the actor’s whereabouts but they currently do not suspect that anyone else is involved.

Mr Bhattacharjee, 53, was last seen at 6.18pm that day as he left the Royal Court, walking in the direction of Sloane Square tube station. He texted his girlfriend three hours later “and that was the last anyone has heard of him,” the police statement said. The police declined to give details of the final text message.

The Asian actor was described as being 6’ tall, of slim build with short grey hair, brown eyes and a fair complexion. He was wearing light coloured trousers, a blue shirt and light coloured shoes when he went missing and was carrying a backpack. He lives in the Redbridge area and sometimes goes by the name Gautam Paul Bhattacharjee.

A spokeswoman for the Royal Court said the company was working with the police and providing support for the actor’s agent and partner. “He was in rehearsals in the afternoon and he was in good spirits,” she said. “He is a brilliant actor and has been brilliant in the plays.”

The Royal Court Theatre in Chelsea announced last month that Mr Bhattacharjee would be one of the 14 actors performing in the Weekly Rep, which involved six plays in six weeks.

He had already performed in The President Has Come To See You and Pigeons and was in rehearsals for a small part in Talk Show, the last play of the run.

Mr Bhattacharjee has built up a strong track record in UK theatre over the past three decades. As well as performing in a string of productions at the Royal Court, he has appeared at the RSC, the Almeida, the Young Vic as well as regional theatres and in the West End.

His television credits include The Bill, Spooks and Waking the Dead as well as playing immigration officer Mohammed in Stephen Frears’s film Dirty Pretty Things and a brief role in Casino Royale. He also played Inzamam on EastEnders between 2008 and 2010.

He grew up living between India and England and in 1979 helped set up Tara Arts, Britain’s first all-Asian theatre company.