Rakhee Thakrar Rules of the Game

Karen Pirie actress Rakhee Thakrar reveals struggles after leaving EastEnders

She played Shabnam from 2014 to 2016

| Updated:

Actress Rakhee Thakrar – who stars as podcaster Bel Richmond in ITV’s new detective drama Karen Pirie – has revealed there was a time when she feared she might not work again.

The former EastEnders star struggled to find work after leaving the BBC soap.

Here’s everything you need to know about TV star Rakhee.

Rakhee Thakrar as Maya Benshaw
Rakhee Thakrar as Maya Benshaw in the cast of Rules of the Game (Credit: BBC One)

Who is Rakhee Thakhar and what’s she been in before?

Rakhee was notably in The Girl Before earlier this years as Jane’s friend Mia.

She was also in another BBC drama Rules of The Game.

Sex Education fans will know her as English teacher Emily Sands in the comedy drama.

She has also played Fatima in the TV series Four Weddings and a Funeral, Simran in Cloud 9, and Sarita Dubashi in Holby City.

Of course, EastEnders fans will know her best for playing Shabnam Masood in the BBC soap from 2014 to 2016.

Rakhee will soon star in the upcoming film Wonka, a prequel to the famous Roald Dahl book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The Girl Before on BBC: EastEnders Shabnam
Rakhee Thakrar recently starred in The Girl Before on BBC One (Credit: BBC)

Read more: Anne on ITV: Maxine Peake’s big break, her longterm partner and celebrity lookalike

Why did Shabnam leave Walford?

Rakhee Thakrar played Shabnam Masood in the BBC soap EastEnders from 2014 to 2016.

The actress took over the role from fellow actor Zahra Ahmadi, who had previously played the character.

During her time on the show, the character was involved in several storylines, including her romance and subsequent marriage to Kush Kazemi (played by Davood Ghadami).

Tragically, Shabnam gave birth to a stillborn son, a storyline that helped raise awareness of stillbirths.

Shabham left Walford in 2016 after discovering that Kush had secretly fathered a child with Stacey Branning.

Her character has not returned since.

What happened after Karen Pirie actress Rakhee Thakrar left EastEnders?

Rakhee revealed that she struggled to find work after leaving Walford.

She told the Radio Times that she ended up working in a shop for several years after deciding to leave the BBC soap.

She said: “I didn’t think ‘other projects’ meant working in a boutique clothing shop for two years.

“I left EastEnders and didn’t get any work.

“I couldn’t bear not doing anything, so I worked in a couple of shops.”

She added: “It was a massive risk to leave a full-time salary [on EastEnders] and it took a while for that risk to pay off.”

Rakhee Thakrar as Shabnam in EastEnders
Rakhee Thakrar as Shabnam in EastEnders (Credit: BBC One)

How old is Rakhee Thakrar and where is she from?

Rakhee was born on February 29, 1984 in Leicester.

She is currently 38 years of age.

The actress grew up in the city of Leicester, and is of Indian descent.

Does Karen Pirie star Rakhee Thakrar have a boyfriend?

Rakhee has not spoken publicly about her private life.

She has not confirmed whether she is dating.

However, a quick stalk on her official Instagram page suggests she does have a boyfriend – and a very handsome one too!

She has shared pictures of one of their date nights to a charity fundraiser.

Rakhee also shares some of her heart with her beloved black and white cat.

Rules of the Game | Trailer - BBC

Karen Pirie starts on Sunday September 25 2022 at 8pm on ITV.

Are you excited about watching Karen Pirie? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor