Jessie Buckley

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Jessie Buckley
Jessie Buckley on ColliderVideo.jpg
Jessie Buckley interviewed by Collider Video in 2018
Born (1989-12-28) 28 December 1989 (age 29)
Other namesNoelle
OccupationActress, singer
Years active2008–present
AwardsBest Actress 2008 Aims Awards, Ireland.

Jessie Buckley (born 28 December 1989) is an Irish singer and actress, who came second in the BBC talent show-themed television series I'd Do Anything in 2008,[1] and subsequently played Anne Egermann in the West End revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music. Most recently, Buckley appeared on four BBC television series, as Marya Bolkonskaya in BBC's adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace,[2] as Lorna Bow in Taboo[3] as Honor Martin in The Last Post, and as Marian Halcombe in The Woman in White. In February 2019 she was recognized by Forbes Magazine in its annual "Thirty Under 30" list of "disrupters" and "trailblazers."[4]


Buckley was born in Killarney, County Kerry, the eldest of five children. Her mother, Marina Cassidy, encouraged her to sing and coached her. She has a brother and three sisters. Buckley went to Ursuline Secondary School, an all-girls convent school in Thurles, County Tipperary, where her mother works as a vocal coach[5] and where she performed in school productions. She played a number of male roles at school, including the male lead role of Jets gang founder Tony in the musical West Side Story and Freddie Trumper in Chess.[6]

She has achieved Grade eight in piano, clarinet and harp with the Royal Irish Academy of Music. She is also a member of the Tipperary Millennium Orchestra. Buckley also attended The Association of Irish Musical Societies (AIMS) workshops during the summer, to help improve her singing and acting; it was where she was then recognised as a talented actress and was encouraged to apply for Drama School in London. Just before she auditioned for I'd Do Anything, she was turned down by two drama schools, including one the day before her first audition for the show.[6] In 2008, Buckley won the AIMS Best Actress award for her portrayal of Julie Jordan in the Killarney Musical Society production of Carousel.

I'd Do Anything[edit]

Buckley competed in I'd Do Anything, a search for a new, unknown lead to play Nancy in a London West End stage revival of the British musical Oliver!.

Buckley reached the final on 31 May 2008, finishing in second place behind Jodie Prenger. Before the final vote was announced in Show two of the final, Graham Norton asked the panel who they each thought was Nancy. Three of the panel said Buckley and two Prenger. John Barrowman and Denise van Outen said "Jodie", while Barry Humphries, Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber said "Jessie". However, the public voted for Jodie.[7]

Performances on I'd Do Anything[edit]

Show Song
Week one "River Deep - Mountain High"
Week two "Killing Me Softly"
Week three "One Night Only" from the musical Dreamgirls
Week four "Why Do Fools Fall in Love"
Week five "Stop!"
Week six "The Man that Got Away" from A Star Is Born
Week seven "Fighter"
Week eight "How Do I Live"
Week nine "What I Did for Love" from the musical A Chorus Line
Week ten (Final) "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"
"The Man That Got Away"
"As Long as He Needs Me"

After I'd Do Anything[edit]

Buckley performed at the Andrew Lloyd Webber's Birthday in the Park show in Hyde Park, London on 14 September 2008, singing "I Don't Know How To Love Him" as a solo and "Light at the End of the Tunnel" from Starlight Express with fellow I'd Do Anything finalists Keisha Amponsa-Banson, Niamh Perry, Rachel Tucker as well as Any Dream Will Do finalists Daniel Boys, Lewis Bradley, Ben James-Ellis and Keith Jack.[8] On 18 September she and Aoife Mulholland performed with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra at an Andrew Lloyd Webber evening at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.[9] On 26 August 2008 Buckley performed on Denny Street in Tralee, Co. Kerry where the first ever Millionaire raffle was broadcast live on RTÉ Radio 1. After this, Jessie performed at a charity concert in Tipperary, where she announced that she would be starting rehearals for A Little Night Music in London the following Monday.

Buckley was offered the opportunity to understudy Nancy,[10] but turned it down in favour of another production: on 10 October 2008 it was announced that Buckley would be appearing in a revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical A Little Night Music, in the role of Anne Egerman, at the Menier Chocolate Factory, a fringe Studio Theatre, in London from 22 November 2008 to 8 March 2009. She appeared alongside Maureen Lipman and Hannah Waddingham in the production, which was directed by Trevor Nunn.[11] A Little Night Music transferred from the Menier Chocolate Factory to the Garrick Theatre in London's West End on 7 April 2009 (previews from 28 March – 6 April). A Little Night Music was Buckley's West End debut. The show closed on 25 July 2009. Since then, she has appeared in a number of concerts nationally, including a Christmas concert alongside Maria Friedman, Cantabile – the London Quartet and Tim Rice,[12] and in February 2010 appeared alongside Daniel Boys (and Night Music co-star Kelly Price[13]) in a series of Valentine musical concerts.[14]

Buckley graduated from The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in January 2013.[15]

In the 2013 summer season at Shakespeare's Globe she played Miranda in The Tempest, and singer Arabella Hunt and Kate in Samuel Adamson's Gabriel.[16][17]

Buckley played the part of Emily Strong in Rosamunde Pilcher's four-part TV adaptation of her book Shades of Love. This was aired in September 2013.[18]

In September 2013 Buckley appeared opposite Jude Law in Michael Grandage's West End production of Henry V at the Noël Coward Theatre.[19] She played Perdita in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company's production of The Winter's Tale,[20] which was streamed live to cinemas worldwide on 26 November 2015.

In 2016 Buckley appeared as Marya Bolkonskaya in the BBC's new dramatisation of War and Peace[21] Buckley received acclaim for her performance with Viv Groskop of The Guardian citing her performance as a highlight of episode two; writing that she plays this supposedly plain and pious character "beautifully".[22]

In 2017, Buckley appears as the recurring character Lorna Bow in the BBC television drama series Taboo, alongside Tom Hardy.[3] She also stars as Honor Martin in the BBC series The Last Post and as Marian Halcombe in the BBC series The Woman in White.

In 2018, Buckley received acclaim for her lead performance as Moll Huntford in the psychological thriller Beast, a British-made film set on Jersey.


  1. ^ "Nancy Contestants – Jessie". BBC. 22 March 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  2. ^ "War and Peace – Characters – BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b Frost, Caroline (13 January 2017). "'Taboo' Star Jessie Buckley: From 'I'd Do Anything' To 'War And Peace', 9 Facts In 90 Seconds". Huffpost Entertainment - United Kingdom. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  4. ^ Irish Central, “Forbes includes six Irish people in their 2019 30 under 30 list” 12 February 2019 [1]
  5. ^ Dundon, Noel (20 March 2008). "Thurles Student Destined for West End?". Tipperary Star. Retrieved 14 June 2008.
  6. ^ a b Webster, Nick (19 April 2008). "Nancy favourite Jessie Buckley was even a star as a MALE lead". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  7. ^ "Reviewing the Situation: Final Results, Jodie is Nancy!". BBC. 31 May 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
  8. ^ Shenton, Mark (14 September 2008). "Paige, Menzel, Barrowman and More Celebrate Lloyd Webber's Birthday in the Park". Playbill. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  9. ^ "Jessie Buckley appeared in NCH, Dublin". Kerry News Blog. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
  10. ^ Battles, Jan (13 July 2008). "Kerrys Jessie Buckley offered Oliver role". The Times. London. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  11. ^ Smith, Alistair (10 October 2008). "I'd Do Anything runner-up Buckley to join Lipman in A Little Night Music". The Stage. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
  12. ^ "Friedman, Rice and Buckley join Cantabile for Christmas concerts – News". The Stage. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  13. ^ "Jessie Buckley to appear at Pizza on the Park – News". The Stage. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  14. ^ [2][dead link]
  15. ^ "Profiles". Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  16. ^ "The Tempest / Shakespeare's Globe". Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  17. ^ Tripney, Natasha (22 July 2013). "Gabriel". The Stage. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Full cast announced for Grandage's Henry V starring Jude Law, who is at the 'peak of his powers' - WhatsOnStage".
  20. ^ Kellaway, Kate (15 November 2015). "The Winter's Tale; Harlequinade; All on Her Own review – a gift to eye and heart" – via
  21. ^ "Jessie Buckley, interview: the BBC's War and Peace star on Andrew Lloyd Webber, Dame Judi Dench and competitive karaoke battles", Evening Standard, 16 December 2015. Accessed 24 January 2016
  22. ^ Groskop, Viv (10 January 2016). "War and Peace recap: episode two – forget pecs appeal, it's all about the flop of the fringe". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 31 January 2016.

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