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Rachel Shelley (born 25 August 1969) is an English actress and model. She is best known for playing Helena Peabody in the Showtime series The L Word and Elizabeth Russell in the Oscar-nominated Bollywood epic Lagaan.

Rachel Shelley
Born (1969-08-25) 25 August 1969 (age 49)
OccupationActress, model
Years active1994–present
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Children1 daughter


Early lifeEdit

Rachel Irene Shelley was born on 25 August 1969 in Swindon, Wiltshire, England, and was brought up primarily in London. She is youngest of four children, she has an older sister and two older brothers. Shelley spent three years in Malta as a child before attending school in Huntingdon. After graduating from the University of Sheffield with a B.A. Hons in English and Drama in 1992, she joined a local theatre company in Edinburgh and set up a community theatre company in Sheffield before moving to London to further her acting career.[1][2][3]


Shelley is perhaps best known for playing Helena Peabody in the Showtime series The L Word. Other parts include Elizabeth Russell in the Oscar-nominated Bollywood film Lagaan in 2001, and the beauty whose tragic loss drives Charles Castle mad in the 1997 film Photographing Fairies. In 2012 and early 2013, she played the recurring role of Yvonne Rippon, a police superintendent who had a relationship with established character Nick Jordan, in popular BBC medical drama Casualty. Shelley left the series on 19 January 2013.[4]

Apart from acting, Shelley has written articles for The Guardian and DIVA Magazine.[5][6][7][8]

Personal lifeEdit

Shelley lives in Notting Hill, London with her partner since 1995, Matthew Parkhill, who is a TV writer, director and producer. They have a daughter named Eden, born September 8, 2009. She was 2 weeks late and born 57 minutes past midnight[9] [10]


Year Title Role Notes
1994 Broken Heart Isabel Short film
1997 Photographing Fairies Mrs. Anne-Marie Castle
1999 B.U.S.T.E.D Clare
1999 Lighthouse Dr. Kirsty McCloud
2000 Canone inverso - making love Jeno's Mother
2000 The Calling Shelly Woodcock
2001 Lagaan Elizabeth Russell Hindi Film
2003 The Bone Snatcher Mikki
2004 Seeing Other People Lauren
2006 Gray Matters Julia Barlett
2008 The Children Chloe
Year Title Role Notes
1994 Royce Alana Maxwell TV film
1997 The New Adventures of Robin Hood Boadicea Episode: "Heroes"
Episode: "The Birthday Trap"
1997 Wycliffe Sarah Episode: "Dance of the Scorpions"
1997 Bugs Jenna Spinks Episode: "Renegades"
1997 Highlander: The Series Sophie Baines Episode: "Avatar"
1998 The Bill Maggie Hamilton Episode: "For Your Love"
2001 Baddiel's Syndrome Marcia Episode: "Huffa"
Episode: "Hair Today"
2001 Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story Harmonia TV film
2002 Heartbeat Sue Dixon, aka Denise Hurley Episode: "Sympathy for the Devil"
2002 The American Embassy Mandy Episode: "Long Live the King"
2002 Coupling Samantha Episode: "Remember This"
2002 Cruise of the Gods Yasmina TV film
2002 The Dinosaur Hunters Mary Mantell TV film
2003 Sparkling Cyanide Rosemary Barton TV film
2003 Miss Match Rebecca Hanley Episode: "Something Nervy"
2004 Licensed by Royalty Linda Kubrick TV series
2005-2009 The L Word Helena Peabody 54 episodes
2006 Ghost Whisperer Kate Payne (uncredited) Episode: "Cat's Claw"
2007 Ghost Whisperer Kate Payne Episode: "Speed Demon"
Episode: "The Collector"
2008 Under Det. Underhill TV film
2008 Ghost Whisperer Kate Payne Episode: "Deadbeat Dads"
2011 Episodes Kendra Episode: "Four"
2011 Strike Back Maggie Episode: "Project Dawn No. 5"
Episode: "Project Dawn No. 6"
2012-2013 Casualty Supt Yvonne Rippon Recurring, 2012-2013
2012-2016 Once Upon a Time Milah Episode: "The Crocodile"
Episode: "Manhattan"
Episode: "Devil's Due"
2013 Toast of London Commander Scott-Gorham Episode: "Submission"
2013-2014 Rogue Shelley Morrison Recurring
2014 Grantchester Pamela Morton Episode: "Episode 1"
2017-2018 Different for Girls Brooke Recurring
2018-2019 Deep State Elliot Taylor Recurring


  1. ^ "IMDb Profile".
  2. ^ Rachel Shelley Online : Archived 20 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Rachel Shelley Online: Ask Rachel Archived 14 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Casualty (series 27)
  5. ^ "The making of Bollywood's biggest movie ever". the Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  6. ^ "'We love your accent. Can you do American?'". the Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Further adventures in showbusiness". the Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Rachel Shelley in Casualty / DIVA Magazine Lesbian Arts & Entertainment /". Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Exclusive interview with Matthew Parkhill, director of The Caller". Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Rachel Shelley – Biography". IMDb.

External linksEdit