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Sunetra Sarker

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Sunetra Sarker
Born (1973-06-25) 25 June 1973 (age 50)
Liverpool, England
Alma materBrunel University London
Years active1988–present
Nick Corfield
(m. 2003; div. 2013)
Scott Carey
(m. 2018)
RelativesNares Sen-Gupta (great-grandfather)

Sunetra Sarker (born 25 June 1973)[1] is an English actress and presenter, known for her roles as Nisha Batra in Brookside, Anji Mittel in No Angels, Zoe Hanna in Casualty and Kaneez Paracha in Ackley Bridge. In 2014, she took part in the twelfth series of Strictly Come Dancing, partnered with Brendan Cole. Since 2019, she has been a regular participant on Celebrity Gogglebox, partnering with Georgia Taylor, and became a panellist on the lunch time chat show Loose Women in 2021.

Early life[edit]

Sarker was born in Liverpool into an Indian family.[2] Her father is a retired doctor,[3] and her mother Bisakha taught Indian classical dance,[4] for which she was awarded an MBE in December 2013.[5] Sarker has a degree in Information Systems for Business in Europe from Brunel University London.[6] Her great-grandfather was the lawyer, novelist and political activist Nares Sen-Gupta.[7][8] She is of Bengali origin.[9]


Sarker has played a wide variety of roles in her career. Her initial success came when she was cast as recurring character Nisha Batra in the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside from 1988 to 1991, before returning as a regular from 2000 until 2003.[10] Sarker also starred in the regional soap opera London Bridge.[11] This was followed by her portrayal of Anji Mittel in No Angels from 2004 to 2006.[12]

Sarker's next notable role was portraying the part of Clare Burns in the BBC drama The Chase,[13] until the show was pulled after its second series. In 2007, Sarker was a contestant on the celebrity cooking series Celebrity MasterChef.[14] Subsequently, Sarker played the role of Dr Zoe Hanna in the BBC medical drama Casualty from December 2007 until May 2016.[15] After her departure was announced, Sarker made a promise to co-star Jamie Davis that she would return for one episode when he decided to leave the programme, a promise she honoured in 2018, appearing in an episode broadcast on 13 January.[16] She later reprised the role for another guest stint, with her return set to air in 2024.[17]

In 2017, she played DCI Jane Burr in the second series of ITV's Safe House.[18] From 2017 to 2022, Sarker starred in the Channel 4 drama series Ackley Bridge as Kaneez Paracha, for which she received the award for Best TV Character at the Asian Media Awards.[19] On 23 July 2021, it was confirmed that Sarker would become a panellist on Loose Women.[20]

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

In autumn 2014, Sarker competed in the twelfth series of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, partnered with New Zealand professional dancer Brendan Cole.[21] In the first week, the couple danced a Tango to "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)" by Robert Palmer and scored 24.[22] In the second week they danced a Cha-cha-cha to "Million Dollar Bill" by Whitney Houston and scored 26.[23] In the third week the couple danced the American Smooth to "The Way You Look Tonight" from the film Swing Time and scored 40, including a 9 from head judge Len Goodman.[24] Because of Sunetra's filming schedule, the routine had to be learned in a single day.[25]

In the fourth week, the couple danced the Salsa to "Turn the Beat Around" by Vicki Sue Robinson and scored 27.[26] In the fifth week the couple danced the Viennese Waltz to "Anyone Who Had a Heart" by Cilla Black and scored 30.[27] In week six, opening the show, they danced a Jive to "Tainted Love" by Gloria Jones and scored 27.[28] In week seven they danced a Foxtrot to "All of Me" by John Legend and scored 31.[29] In week eight, at Blackpool, they danced a Samba to "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" by the Scissor Sisters and scored 30.[30] The couple were voted into the dance-off against Judy Murray and Anton du Beke, but were unanimously saved by the judges. In week nine they danced a Waltz, to "Last Request" by Paolo Nutini, and again scored 30, placing them in one from last place. The couple was voted into the dance-off with Steve Backshall and Ola Jordan, but were saved by three votes to one from the judges. In week ten, they danced a Rhumba to "The Girl from Ipanema" by Michael Bolton. They were again voted into the dance-off, against Mark Wright and Karen Hauer, but were unanimously voted out by the judges.[31]

Personal life[edit]

On 23 February 2017, Sarker and her ancestors were the subject of an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? shown on BBC One in which she traced them to Bengal.[9] She learned about her family's involvement in the struggle for independence in India and one of her ancestors' connection to Gandhi.[9] Travelling next to Bangladesh, she visited her great-grandmother's ancestral village where she discovered the story of how her family were caught up in the Bangladeshi war of independence from Pakistan in 1971.[32]

Sarker married Nick Corfield in 2003 and they have a son, Noah, born in 2001.[33] Sarker and Corfield divorced in 2009.[33] In November 2018 Sarker married Scott Carey, whom she has known since 1991.[33]


Year Title Role Notes
1988–1991, 2000–2003 Brookside Nisha Batra Regular role
1996 London Bridge Jyoti Solanki Recurring role
1999 Cold Feet Clare
2000 Playing the Field Dr Meera
2003 Doctors Donna Sykes
Emmerdale Priti Chowdry 4 episodes
Eyes Down Karen 2 episodes
2004 The Smoking Room Monique
Holby City Nanda Veer 1 episode
2004–2006 No Angels Anji Mittel Main role
2005–2008 Ideal Sangita Main role
2006 New Street Law Nita Shibani
2006–2007 The Chase Clare Burns Main role
2007 Mobile DI Lorraine Conil
Celebrity MasterChef Contestant
2007–2016, 2018, 2024 Casualty Dr. Zoe Hanna Main role
2012 Doctor Who Indira 1 episode ("Dinosaurs on a Spaceship")
2014 Puppy Love Lilli Kusiak 2 episodes
Strictly Come Dancing Contestant Series 12
2017 Death In Paradise Hetma Patel 2 episodes ("A Man Overboard" Part 1 & 2)
Broadchurch Sahana Harrison Series 3
Safe House DCI Jane Burr Series 2
Kin Becky Short film
You, Me, Him Carol Film
2017–2022 Ackley Bridge Kaneez Paracha Main role
2018 Informer Sadia Shar Main role; 6 episodes
2019 Glow Up: Britain's Next Make-Up Star Herself Guest star
2019 Celebrity Gogglebox Herself Main cast; with Georgia Taylor
2020 Cold Feet Deborah 3 episodes[11]
2021 The Bay Stella 6 episodes
2021–present Loose Women Regular panellist Panellist
2021 Hornby: A Model World Narrator Series 1
2023 Eurovision Welcomes the World Co-presenter With Rylan[34]
2024– Professor T DCI Maiya Goswami Recurring role[35]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2001 TV Quick Awards Best New Actor/Actress Brookside Nominated [36]
2013 18th National Television Awards Drama Performance: Female Casualty Nominated [37]
2014 19th National Television Awards Drama Performance Casualty Nominated [38]
2016 Inside Soap Awards Best Drama Star Casualty Nominated [39]
2019 Asian Media Awards Best TV Character Ackley Bridge Won [40]


  1. ^ Tina Miles (15 November 2014). "Strictly Come Dancing star Sunetra Sarker dedicated 'Sambanetra' to Liverpool mums". Liverpool Echo.
  2. ^ "Series 12, Strictly Come Dancing - Sunetra Sarker - BBC One". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  3. ^ Shennan, Paddy (31 December 2007). "I'm happy to be a Casualty of success". liverpoolecho. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  4. ^ "BBC One - Strictly Come Dancing". BBC. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  5. ^ Catherine Jones (31 December 2013). "New Year's honours list recognition for Merseysiders - Liverpool Echo". liverpoolecho.
  6. ^ "Sunetra Sarker". sightsavers.net. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Sunetra Sarker: It was 'astonishing' finding my family's links to Gandhi". Whatsontv.co.uk. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  8. ^ "BBC iPlayer - Who Do You Think You Are? - Series 13: 9. Sunetra Sarker". BBC. 22 February 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  9. ^ a b c "WDYTYA? episode summary: Sunetra Sarker". Who Do You Think You Are?. 20 February 2017. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  10. ^ "'Mobile' star Sunetra Sarker". Digital Spy. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  11. ^ a b Fear, Helen (10 October 2019). "Former Casualty star Sunetra Sarker joins the cast of Cold Feet". Entertainment Daily. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  12. ^ "My little angel; Dawn Collinson talks to actress Sunetra Sarker about the joys of motherhood". thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  13. ^ "BBC - Drama - The Chase - Other characters". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Five things you didn't know about Strictly Come Dancing beauty Sunetra Sarker". Daily Express. 30 November 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  15. ^ "Sunetra Sarker (Zoe Hanna, 'Casualty')". Digital Spy. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  16. ^ "Sunetra Sarker on Zoe and Max's happy ending: Jamie Davis asked me to come back!". 13 January 2018.
  17. ^ Kitson, Calli (8 September 2023). "Zoe Hanna returns to Casualty as Sunetra Sarker reprises role". Metro. Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  18. ^ "ITV announces brand new season of original event drama Safe House". itv.com. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  19. ^ "Sunetra Sarker wins Best TV Character at the Asian Media Awards for her performance in Ackley Bridge". The Forge.
  20. ^ Warner, Sam (23 July 2021). "Loose Women announce two new panellists joining the show". Digital Spy.
  21. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing: Full celebrity line-up confirmed". BBC News. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  22. ^ "BBC – Blogs – Strictly Come Dancing – Strictly Week One: Leaderboard". BBC. 27 September 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  23. ^ "BBC One - Strictly Come Dancing, Series 12 - Sunetra Sarker". BBC.
  24. ^ "BBC – Blogs – Strictly Come Dancing – Leaderboard: Week Three". BBC. 11 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  25. ^ Cathy Owen (18 October 2014). "How Strictly Come Dancing's Sunetra Sarker splits her time between Cardiff and the dancefloor". Wales Online.
  26. ^ "BBC – Blogs – Strictly Come Dancing – Leaderboard: Week Four". BBC. 18 October 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  27. ^ "BBC – Blogs – Strictly Come Dancing – Leaderboard: Week Five". 25 October 2014.
  28. ^ "BBC – Blogs – Strictly Come Dancing – Leaderboard: Halloween Week". November 2014.
  29. ^ "BBC – Blogs – Strictly Come Dancing – Leaderboard: Week Seven". 8 November 2014.
  30. ^ "BBC – Blogs – Strictly Come Dancing – Leaderboard: Blackpool". 15 November 2014.
  31. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing | Series 12 – 11. Strictly Come Dancing: The Results: Part Two". Radio Times. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  32. ^ "Sunetra Sarker". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  33. ^ a b c "Casualty star Sunetra Sarker marries long-term partner Scott Carey - see wedding snap". Hello!. 12 November 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  34. ^ "Eurovision Welcomes the World". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2 May 2023.
  35. ^ "Professor T". itv.com/presscentre. Retrieved 15 March 2024.
  36. ^ "Welcome to the TVQuick Awards 2001!". TV Quick. H Bauer Publishing. Archived from the original on 20 July 2001. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  37. ^ Fletcher, Alex (22 September 2012). "National Television Awards 2013: Longlist nominations in full - vote". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  38. ^ Fletcher, Alex (17 September 2013). "National Television Awards 2014 voting opens: The full longlist". Digital Spy.
  39. ^ Sandwell, Ian (21 June 2016). "Inside Soap Awards 2016 longlist revealed". Digital Spy. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  40. ^ "Asian Media Awards 2019 Winners". Asian Media Awards. 25 October 2019. Archived from the original on 13 January 2021. Retrieved 11 January 2021.

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