Rachel Shenton — things you didn't know about the TV star

'All Creatures Great and Small' star Rachel Shenton.
'All Creatures Great and Small' star Rachel Shenton. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Rachel Shenton has come a long way since her Hollyoaks days. Many people remember her as Anne "Mitzeee" Minniver on the Channel 4 soap, but since then she's gone on to star in shows such as White Gold and even landed a role on American TV in ABC's Switched at Birth. Plus she's won an Oscar, more of that later...

She is also one of the stars of the hugely popular drama All Creatures Great and Small. Rachel stars as farmer Helen, who falls for vet James. Rachel is now back on our screens in All Creatures Great and Small season 4.

Talking about how we find Rachel and husband James at the start of the series, she says: "Ah, they're lovely. We love them. They're such a good couple. What I've loved is marking their journey, we saw them get together and it was very romantic, then they got married and of course, now, the real work begins.

"The courtship has been solidified, and they’re in a really good place. I think that they're ready to move on to the next chapter in their relationship; to start building and becoming a unit of their own. This is the first time that we've seen that really — that they're very much there for each other. It feels less about romance and more about this solid foundation of their union and how they navigate their way through life and what the next steps look like. I like that it's very real."

She's also walked the red carpet as her short film raising awareness of deaf and hard of hearing people, The Silent Child, saw her win an Oscar in 2018. Plus she played a woman of mystery, Emily, in Channel 5 drama For Her Sins. For Her Sins sees Rachel's character Emily befriend lawyer Laura (ex-EastEnders star Jo Joyner), but Emily isn't all she seems...

Rachel is also starring in a new short film, In Too Deep. The plot revolves around a father struggling to cope with the death of his daughter and going on a desperate mission to relive their fondest memories.

Here are a few other things you may not know about the talented actor…

Emily (Rachel Shenton) sits in an armchair in her dimly-lit living room, making a phone call

Rachel as Emily in drama For Her Sins (Image credit: Paramount/Channel 5)

Rachel knows British Sign Language

Rachel was inspired to learn British Sign Language for a very personal reason. Her father Geoff went deaf after having chemotherapy and could not hear for the last 18 months of his life, so 12-year-old Rachel learned sign language to communicate with him.

Most recently, she took part in Celebrity Supply Teacher on CBBC where she answered children's questions about learning the language.

She won an Oscar in 2018

At the 90th Academy Awards, Rachel's short film The Silent Child won an Oscar. The film follows Libby (played by Maisie Sly), a deaf four-year-old girl who struggles to communicate. The film was directed by Rachel's husband Chris Overton and written by Rachel. 

During her acceptance speech, Rachel signed what she was saying. She said: "I made a promise to our six-year-old lead actress that I would sign this speech. My hands are shaking a little bit so I apologize.

"The film is about a deaf child being born into a world of silence," she continued. "It's not exaggerated or sensationalized for the movie, this is happening. Millions of children all over the world live in silence and face communication barriers and particularly access to education."

Her Hollyoaks character Mitzeee Minniver is the 'complete opposite' of her

Rachel Shenton as Mitzeee Minniver.

Rachel as her feisty Hollyoaks character Mitzeee. (Image credit: C4)

Rachel is most known for her role as Mitzeee Minniver in the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks. She played the aspiring glamour model between 2010 and 2013, starring in 235 episodes.

Speaking about her character at the time, she told Digital Spy: "Mitzeee's the opposite of me — she's a bit of a wannabe WAG and she's quite manipulative. She'll definitely be stirring things up and wreaking some havoc." 

She gets involved in a lot of charity work

Rachel Shenton in a red coat as Helen and Nicholas Ralph in a blue coat as James stand together outdoors in All Creatures Great and Small.

Rachel as Helen in All Creatures (Image credit: Channel 5)

Even when she was studying, Rachel has been heavily involved in many charities. She volunteered at her local charity, Deaflinks when she was younger. Since then she became ambassador for the National Deaf Children's Society, even completing a skydive in aid of them. 

Other charity work includes Action for Hearing Loss, where she climbed the BT Tower in London to raise money and awareness of the important work they do. In addition to this, she helped to set up a social networking site called Viewtalk for deaf people.

She made her American TV debut in the ABC Family drama Switched at Birth

Rachel Shenton in Switched at Birth.

Rachel Shenton in Switched at Birth. (Image credit: Alamy)

In 2012, Rachel starred in ABC's Switched at Birth. The drama is about two sisters, Bay and Daphne, who were accidentally switched in the hospital where they were born and raised by two very different families. One of the sisters, Daphne, is deaf after she contracted meningitis at age three. Rachel starred as teacher Lily Summers, a character who knew both British Sign Language and American Sign Language.

Rachel appeared in 18 episodes of the hit series before her character exited and moved to London.

She has been in a number of commercials

As well as her acting work in TV and film, Rachel has filmed commercials for the Ministry of Defence, furniture store DFS and the video game Sega Superstars Tennis. She has also provided voiceover work for NSPCC Eye Opener and Bulldog Broadband.

Rachel has often been compared to singer Cheryl Cole

Cheryl Cole

Rachel is often compared to the singer Cheryl Cole.  (Image credit: Alamy)

Before appearing on Hollyoaks, Rachel received media attention for her appearance, with tabloids reporting on her likeness to British singer Cheryl Cole. 

In an interview with Digital Spy, she said: "The Cheryl Cole thing has been mentioned in a couple of interviews but I'd never been mistaken for her before I landed the role of Mitzeee. It's so bizarre! 

"I guess I can see when the make-up goes on, the big hair gets curled and all the rest of it, people can see a resemblance but on the street day today, it's never happened. It's definitely very flattering – she's so beautiful but it's not something I'm trying to do day-to-day, I'm just me!"

Rachel Shenton's fact file

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the actress...

How old is Rachel Shenton?

Rachel Shenton is 36 years old. She was born on 21 December 1987.

Is Rachel Shenton married?

Rachel married her husband Chris Overton in 2018. 

Does Rachel Shenton have children?

No, Rachel does not have any children.

Where was Rachel Shenton born?

Rachel Shenton was born in Caverswall, Staffordshire, England.

How tall is Rachel Shenton?

Rachel is 5ft 1 tall. 

Twitter: @RachelShenton

Instagram: @rachelshenton

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.