Shaheen Jafargholi

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Shaheen Jafargholi
Shaheen Jafargholi 2016.jpg
Jafargholi in 2016
Born (1997-01-23) 23 January 1997 (age 22)
Swansea, Wales
OccupationSinger, actor
Years active2004–present
Known forBritain's Got Talent
Musical career
GenresPop, soul, R&B

Shaheen Jafargholi (Persian: شاهین جعفرقلی‎; born 23 January 1997) is a Welsh singer and actor. He appeared on ITV's Britain's Got Talent and EastEnders as Shakil Kazemi.

Personal life[edit]

Shaheen Jafargholi's parents are Karen Thomas, who is Welsh, and Iraj Jafargholi, an Iranian computer consultant[1][2][3]

He attended the Mark Jermin Stage School in Swansea.[4] and was featured in a BBC Wales documentary series called Starstruck where cameras followed children of the stage school for six months.[3][5]

Acting work as a child[edit]

He played the character Troy (Jason's neighbour) in the children's television series Grandpa in My Pocket.[6][7] He has also acted in the Torchwood episode "Greeks Bearing Gifts" playing Danny – the child of a crazed gun-wielding father[8] and took part in an episode of the medical drama series Casualty playing Christy Skinner, a patient with incurable hiccups.[3] Jafargholi has also toured on stage as a young Michael Jackson in Thriller – Live.[9][10]

Minor work[9] includes UK touring productions of Macbeth (character – Son of Macduff), The King and I and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (choir). He has also performed as the genie of the lamp in Aladdin. He appeared, un-credited, in Mine All Mine, A Way of Life and a short film called Day at the Beach. Minor TV appearances[9] include The Frank Skinner Show, Nickelodeon UK and ITV Wales News in which he was involved in the celebration to switch on the Christmas lights in Swansea city centre in front of 30,000 people.[11] Jafargholi has also taken part in advertisements for Delta Air Lines, Debenhams and DFS.[12] A planned Walkers Crisps advert with ex-footballer Gary Lineker was cancelled.[3]

Britain's Got Talent[edit]

In 2009, Jafargholi took part in Britain's Got Talent, series 3, episode 2. His first audition song was a cover of the Amy Winehouse version of The Zutons song, "Valerie". Simon Cowell ended the song after two lines and remarked: "You got this really wrong."[3] Unusually, Cowell requested that Jafargholi sing another song, as he felt the first song did not suit Jafargholi. After a moment of hesitation, Jafargholi rallied and sang Michael Jackson's "Who's Lovin' You". This performance was highly credited by the audience and the judges, earning a standing ovation.

Jafargholi's previous experience has led to criticism by some fans of Britain's Got Talent as they believe the competition should be open to amateurs only. In response, a spokesman for the show said: "Britain's Got Talent is open to everyone whether they are a professional or an amateur. What Shaheen has done in the past has no bearing on his role on Britain's Got Talent."[11]

As a result of his appearance in the talent contest, Jafargholi was signed to present a one-hour show on his local radio station Bay Radio. Broadcast director Andy Griffiths, said: "Shaheen will take centre stage in our bank holiday schedule. He will present it himself, picking his favourite songs, talking about his experiences on the show and offering advice to other kids on how they can succeed."[13]

For the semi-final Jafargholi chose "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from the musical Dreamgirls. When the judges were about to choose the second place between Jafargholi and dance troupe MD Showgroup, Simon Cowell chose MD Showgroup, but Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan selected Jafargholi. During the final on 30 May 2009, Jafargholi performed "Who's Lovin' You", the song which he had sung during his audition, and received a standing ovation from the audience. He finished in 7th place.[citation needed]

Post Talent[edit]

Jafargholi sang "I'll Be There" at the 2009 MOBO Awards in September, during the ceremony's tribute to Jackson. A month later, he flew to Chicago to tape an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show performing "Who's Lovin' You", which aired on 14 October. He later performed "Lean on Me" and "Who's Lovin' You" at the BBC Children in Need Gala in Cardiff and the BBC Switch Live event at the Hammersmith Apollo in November 2009, as well as The Ellen DeGeneres Show where he performed "I'll Be There", that aired a month later. On 29 September 2010, Jafargholi performed at the "Welcome to Wales" concert for the Ryder Cup[14] Jafargholi performed in the Britain's Got Talent tour where he performed I Want You Back by the Jackson 5. He sang the song while being accompanied onstage by Dancers, Aidan Davis and Perri Luc Kiely and Mitchell Craske from Diversity. The boys were a huge success.

Michael Jackson memorial[edit]

After performing on the Britain's Got Talent tour, Jafargholi sang a musical tribute of "Who's Lovin' You" on stage at the Los Angeles Staples Center, at 7 July 2009 globally televised funeral memorial service for the "King of Pop" Michael Jackson. He had been originally invited to perform with Jackson in his This Is It series of London concerts.

Jafargholi's performance was preceded by the eulogy from the song's writer, Smokey Robinson. Following Jafargholi's tribute, Larry King leaned forward and asked Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, "Who is that"? Gordy, who, according to King, was moved by the performance, reportedly replied, "I have no cotton pickin' idea who that is, but if I were [still] in the business, I would sign him tomorrow."[15]

Debut album[edit]

In May 2010, it was reported that Jafargholi had signed a record deal with Island Records UK, with a debut album due for release the following November.[16] He had also filmed an online reality show named "The Real Shaheen", a fly-on-the-wall documentary on Jafargholi's career over the previous year, which aired from July 2010. As well as recording in London, Jafargholi flew to New York City and Atlanta in July/August 2010.

In September 2010, Jafargholi announced details for his debut album and single. A double A-side single of "Last Train Home", written by Vince Kidd and Paul O'Duffy and produced by Paul O'Duffy and "Hip Teens" (also produced by O'Duffy) was due to be released on 22 November 2010. A press release described "Last Train Home" as an "original string-soaked ballad with a nod to an era gone by", while "Hip Teens" is a cover of soul group Frank Popp's 2007 hit "Hip Teens (Don't Wear Blue Jeans)". Videos were shot for both tracks. The album was to be called "When I Come of Age"', and was said to be a mixture of original material and rare '60s soul covers. Jafargholi collaborated with top US producers Jerry Wonda and Igloo & TC (best known for their work with Whitney Houston, The Black Eyed Peas and Backstreet Boys) and UK producers Paul O'Duffy, Jimmy Hogarth and Martin Terefe for the album.[17]

In November, it was announced that the single and album were being delayed until March 2011 "due to huge international interest and some exciting overseas opportunities",[17] but to date they have never been released.

Adult acting career[edit]

In 2014 Jafargholi performed as 'The Genie' in The New Victoria Theatre's pantomime, 'Aladdin'.

In May 2016, Jafargholi joined the cast of the BBC soap opera, EastEnders, portraying Shakil Kazemi. His character was killed off two years later in May 2018 in a controversial knife-crime storyline where Shakil was stabbed and killed by a gang.[18] On 1 August 2018, it was announced that Jafargholi had joined the cast of Casualty as nurse Marty Kirkby.[19]


Year Work Role Notes
2004 Casualty Christy Skinner TV; episode "Inside Out"
2006 Torchwood Danny TV; episode "Greeks Bearing Gifts"
2009 Grandpa in My Pocket Troy BBC; episode Recurring role
2016–2018 EastEnders Shakil Kazemi Series regular (159 episodes)
2018– Casualty Marty Kirkby Series regular


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details
When I Come of Age
  • Released: Unreleased
  • Label: Island
  • Formats: CD, Digital Download


Year Song Album
2011 "Last Train Home/Hip Teens"[20] When I Come of Age

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee/work Result Ref.
2016 Inside Soap Award Best Newcomer EastEnders Longlisted [21]
2016 Digital Spy Reader Award Best Newcomer EastEnders Third [22]


  1. ^ Nadine Linge (9 July 2009). "Shaheen: The kid who conquered the world". Daily Star. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  2. ^ CNN (9 July 2009). "Shaheen: I'm half Iranian and the rest of me is Welsh". Larry King Live. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Britain's Got Talent Shaheen Jafargholi is already TV veteran". Daily Mirror. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2009.
  4. ^ "Britain's Got Talent Shaheen Jafargholi: Ten things you need to know about the new boy wonder". Daily Mirror. 20 April 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  5. ^ "Teledu Telesgop Cyf". Technium. Retrieved 26 April 2010.[dead link]
  6. ^ "The Robot to Beat All Robots". BBC. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  7. ^ "Meet the Characters". Grandpa in my Pocket official website. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  8. ^ "1.07: GREEKS BEARING GIFTS". Torchwood Guide. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  9. ^ a b c "Biographies CAST". Flying Music. Archived from the original on 22 April 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  10. ^ "All Thriller, no filler for Shaheen". ITV. 20 April 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  11. ^ a b "Revealed: Britain's Got Talent hopeful Shaheen Jafargholi is TV pro at 12". Daily Record. 21 April 2009. Archived from the original on 24 April 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2009.
  12. ^ "Welsh wonder Shaheen now the most popular boy in school after stellar performance on Britain's Got Talent". London: Daily Mail. 21 April 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  13. ^ John Plunkett (22 April 2009). "Britain's Got Talent's Shaheen signed up by local radio station". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  14. ^ Naphtalia Loderick (30 September 2010). "Land of song, down to a tee as concert starts Ryder Cup". BBC Wales News.
  15. ^ "CNN".
  16. ^ "Shaheen in shamoney". The Sun. London. 31 May 2010.
  17. ^ a b "Shaheen Official website for Shaheen Jafargholi featuring all the latest news and Being Shaheen TV series". Archived from the original on 24 July 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  18. ^ Dainty, Sophie (22 March 2018). "EastEnders is lining up a harrowing knife crime story". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  19. ^ Dainty, Sophie (1 August 2018). "Exclusive: Former EastEnders star Shaheen Jafargholi is joining Casualty as new nurse Marty". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  20. ^ Robert Copsey (27 September 2010). "Shaheen announces debut single, album". Digital Spy.
  21. ^ Sandwell, Ian (20 June 2016). "Inside Soap Awards 2016 longlist revealed: Which of your soap favourites are up for prizes?". Digital Spy. Hearst Communications. Archived from the original on 22 April 2019. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  22. ^ Eames, Tom (24 December 2016). "Your Digital Spy Reader Awards soap winners of 2016: Emmerdale wins six awards". Digital Spy. Hearst Communications. Archived from the original on 21 April 2019. Retrieved 22 April 2019.

External links[edit]