Shabnam Masood
Rakhee Thakrar plays Shabnam Masood on the soap. @BBC

EastEnders have received complaints about a comment made by a returning character, which viewers have claimed is "racist."

On Tuesday night's episode (January 14) of the popular BBC 1 soap, Shabnam Masood, played by newcomer Rakhee Thakrar, tells her father Masood Ahmed, that he should not be dating Carol Jackson because she is white.

After the couple's break-up, Shabnam is heard telling him: "Carol can see the obvious even if you can't. It's not right you being with a white woman."

The BBC has confirmed that it has received viewer complaints over the comment, but defended the storyline.

Carol Jackson
Masood has been dating Carol Jackson on the soap. @BBC

"We received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with a comment made by Shabnam during EastEnders on 14 January 2014.

"EastEnders has a rich history of tackling social issues. The show does not advocate racism or intolerance in any way; in fact it seeks to challenge these negative views.

"Shabnam has returned from Pakistan with a renewed religious faith, devoutness and with some strong views. In this episode Shabnam's comments came from her personal beliefs, but as viewers will see in future episodes, she is strongly challenged on her views by her father Masood.

"Drama often requires an oppositional voice or view-point in order for another character/s to express their feelings, and challenge a particular sentiment or standpoint. This is the case in the episode which will air on 15 January, when Masood makes it very clear that he finds her views unacceptable."

Shabnam Masood makes a return to Albert Square. @BBC

This evening's episode saw Masood, played by EastEnder regular Nitin Ganatra, confront Shabnam and fiercely condemn her comments. "You're a racist!" he says.

Shabnam previously left Walford for Pakistan and has returned with staunch beliefs about the practice of Islam in the Muslim family.