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Rachel Pickup

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Rachel Pickup
London, England
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active1996–present

Rachel Pickup is a British theatre, television and film actress. Her first major role was as Kaye Bentley in the 10-part BBC TV series No Bananas, with Alison Steadman and Tom Bell. She has since appeared in many British and American TV shows and has worked extensively in theatre, playing most of the major Shakespearean heroines. She played Portia in The Merchant Of Venice at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, opposite Jonathan Pryce.

Pickup appeared in Chronic starring Tim Roth and directed by 2012 Un Certain Regard winner, Michel Franco.

Early life[edit]

Her father is actor Ronald Pickup, and she grew up in a theatrical family.[1][2] She joined the National Youth Theatre and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).[1]


Before graduating from RADA, Pickup won a part in the BBC series No Bananas, playing the role of Kaye Bentley, her first professional engagement.[1] This was followed by a role opposite Alan Bates in Mike Poulton's Fortune's Fool. Other major theatre roles followed, including Irina in Mike Poulton's translation of Three Sisters for Bill Bryden, Olivia in Twelfth Night for Terry Hands, Helena in All's Well That Ends Well for Irina Brook,[3][4] Portia in Julius Caesar for David Farr at the RSC, Sylvia in The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream also for the RSC.

In 2003, Pickup appeared at The Old Vic in King Lear playing Cordelia.[2] This was followed by Ophelia in Calixto Bieito's Hamlet, and Helen of Troy in Troilus and Cressida for Peter Stein. She had a supporting role in the film Basil and AKA.

In 2011, she moved to the United States to appear in the Shakespeare Theatre Company's production of An Ideal Husband. In August 2011, she made her New York Off-Broadway debut in the Irish Repertory Theatre's 20th Anniversary production of Dancing at Lughnasa. Other productions at the Irish Repertory Theatre include Airswimming by Charlotte Jones for "Fallen Angel Theatre" and A Mind Bending Evening of Beckett for Robert Flanagan. In 2014, Pickup played Goneril at the new Polonsky Shakespeare Theatre for Theatre for a New Audience, in Brooklyn New York, opposite Michael Pennington's King Lear, and Amanda in director Darko Tresnjak's production of Private Lives at Hartford Stage, Connecticut, opposite American actor Ken Barnett.

Pickup played Portia in The Merchant Of Venice at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, England, opposite Jonathan Pryce, directed by Jonathan Munby, and appeared in the feature film Chronic directed by Michel Franco, which was part of the official selection for the Palme d'Or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. She had a cameo role as Fausta Grables in Wonder Woman.[citation needed]

Pickup appeared with her father for the first time in 2008 in an episode of Midsomer Murders:The Magician’s Nephew and played Molly, the central role in her mother's first screenplay "G - Litter" in 2015.

Pickup starred at the Criterion Theatre in The 39 Steps and has worked with Sir Peter Hall several times, including his 2009 revival of Bedroom Farce.


For Ophelia in Hamlet Pickup won a Herald Angel award. She also won a MEN Best Supporting Actress Award for her performance in Time and the Conways at the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester. She was nominated for a Critics' Circle Best Actress Award for her performance in Miss Julie with Stephen Unwin at the Rose Theatre, Kingston.



Year Title Role Notes
1998 Basil Clara Fairfax
2002 AKA Stella Primrose
2015 Chronic Sarah
2016 The Merchant of Venice Portia
2017 Wonder Woman Fausta Grables
2020 The Skin Game Mary Booker


Year Title Role Notes
1994 Soldier Soldier Cheryl Episode: "Poles Apart"
1996 No Bananas Kaye Bentley 10 episodes
2000–2013 Doctors Various roles 4 episodes
2001 Relic Hunter Amanda Reardon Episode: "The Royal Ring"
2001 Victoria & Albert Lady Henrietta Standish Television serial
2002 Jeffrey Archer: The Truth Casino Girl Television film
2004 Holby City Kate Lewis Episode: "Honour Thy Father"
2006 Rosemary & Thyme Jenny Channing Episode: "Enter Two Gardeners"
2006 Live!Girls! present Dogtown Lesley Parkes 4 episodes
2008 Midsomer Murders Isolde Balliol Episode: "The Magician's Nephew"
2009 Small Island Mrs. Ryder Episode #1.1
2010 Garrow's Law Maria Reader Episode #2.2
2013 House of Anubis Mara's lawyer Episode: "House of Enemies"
2014 Elementary Allison Fuller Episode: "The Diabolical Kind"
2014 50 Ways to Kill Your Lover Mickey Faveau Episode: "Chickened Out"
2017 Great Performances Understudy Episode: "Present Laughter"
2018 Dietland Mrs. Gormely Episode: "F... This"
2018, 2019 Madam Secretary Lana 2 episodes
2019 Grantchester Meredith Davenport Episode #4.5
2021 The Beast Must Die India Episode #1.3
2022 Sister Boniface Mysteries Jocelyn Kelly Episode: "Scoop!"
2023 Casualty Christy Eakins Episode: "Lost in Translation"


  1. ^ a b c Gilles, Stuart (25 May 1996). "Young Rachel is tipped to fly far". Manchester Evening News – via britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk.
  2. ^ a b "Rachel Pickup". Society of London Theatre. 2 April 2003. Archived from the original on 13 February 2012.
  3. ^ Rosenblum, Joseph (22 June 2017). The Definitive Shakespeare Companion [4 volumes]: Overviews, Documents, and Analysis [4 volumes]. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 1418. ISBN 979-8-216-07283-6.
  4. ^ Wells, Stanley, ed. (16 October 2003). Shakespeare Survey. Cambridge University Press. p. 223. ISBN 978-0-521-54184-8.

External links[edit]