Rakhee Thakrar

Rakhee Thakrar is an English actress. She is known for portraying the role of Shabnam Masood in the BBC soap opera EastEnders and Emily Sands in Netflix series Sex Education. She also plays the Eighth Doctor's companion, Bliss, in Big Finish's Doctor Who: The Time War audio dramas.

Early life

Thakrar grew up in the city of Leicester, England, where she attended Soar Valley College. As a teenager, Thakrar became involved with Hathi Productions, a theatre club based in Leicester.



In 2004, Thakrar landed the role of Roopa Chauhan in the radio drama Silver Street, which was broadcast on the BBC Asian Network. Thakrar played the role from the first episode in 2004, to the last episode in 2010. In 2006, Thakrar made her first TV appearance in BBC drama Banglatown Banquet. Thakrar went on to feature in a number of TV series including Doctors, Holby City, Peep Show and, notably, played a lead character in British-Asian drama Cloud 9.
Thakrar was cast in EastEnders in 2013 and made her first on-screen appearance on 13 January 2014. Her character, Shabnam Masood, had previously been played by Zahra Ahmadi from 2007 to 2008. Thakrar's most famous storyline while portraying Shabnam was when the character gave birth to a stillborn son, with viewers, critics and co-workers praising her performance throughout the storyline. Due to her performance in the storyline, Thakrar has subsequently become an ambassador for the stillbirth charity, Sands. Thakrar left EastEnders in 2015 and was last seen onscreen on 5 February 2016, following Shabnam's failed marriage to Kush Kazemi. In 2019, she began portraying the role of Emily Sands in Netflix series Sex Education.


In 2004, Thakrar was one of twenty young people recruited to the Leicester Mercury's Pathfinder scheme. Run in conjunction with Leicester City Council, it enabled a team of young journalists to spend ten months gaining an introduction to print journalism and reporting on their communities. During this time Thakrar wrote articles on subjects such as the influence Bollywood has had on Leicester, as well as the peculiar situation of being born on 29 February.


2006Banglatown BanquetRozenaTelevision film
2006Tourettes HaikuSunnyShort film
2007CircleTina ParekhShort film
2007DoctorsSafeena AbbasiEpisode: "Losing It All"
2009No Signal!VariousEpisode 7
2010DoctorsJasmin SharmaEpisode: "Pound of Flesh"
2010–2011Holby CitySarita Dubashi3 episodes
2011Page EightMuna HammamiTelevision film
2011DCI BanksLab AssistantEpisode: "Playing with Fire: Part 1"
2011The JuryRashid's Sister1 episode
2012TYU's CompanyGGS VoiceShort film
2012Peep ShowWaitressEpisode: "Business Secrets of the Pharaohs"
2013Bollywood CarmenTannishtaTelevision film
2013Cloud 9SimranTelevision film
2014JazminVideo game; Voice role
2013–2014InvizimalsJazminTV Series; 13 Episodes
2014–2016EastEndersShabnam MasoodRegular role; 167 episodes
2016Juliet RememberedDeenaShort film
2018Star CopsPriya BasuTelevision Series
2018Love, Sex and side effectsRosieShort film
2019Running NakedJadeFilm
2019Those Four WallsNehaFilm
2019End-ODr. WomanShort film
2019–presentSex EducationEmily SandsRegular role; 11 episodes
2019Four Weddings and a FuneralFatimaRecurring role; 6 episodes
202023 WalksRegistrarFilm