Fleet Famous Face: Raquel Cassidy

In this edition of our Fleet magazine, we thought we would look at the incredible acting career of Fleet’s own Raquel Cassidy.

 

Born in Fleet on 22nd January 1968, Raquel Cassidy studied at Farnborough Hill Convent, which boasts fellow alumni actors such as Juliet Aubrey, Fidelis Morgan and Rose Keegan, and, later, Girton College, Cambridge, studying modern languages.

It was at Farnborough Hill Convent that her teachers would recognise her acting talents and encourage Raquel to pursue her creative outlet on the stage. At Girton College, Cassidy landed the role of Viola in a 1997 Royal Court Theater production of Twelfth Night. Raquel would shelf a PhD in biological anthropology to pursue a career in acting which was her true passion.

Raquel’s first TV role came in 1998, playing P.C. Pam Boxer in two episodes of the TV mini-series Killer Net. Born to a Spanish mother, one of Raquel’s earliest acting roles came in an episode of The Bill where she would speak predominantly Spanish, playing the role of Lola Chaves. Further bit-part roles continued in TV and Film until 2001 when Cassidy landed the role of Susan Gately for the future BAFTA-nominated Channel 4 series Teachers. Raquel was a series regular in the comedy-drama series featuring in 18 episodes across two series.

Future work as a series regular would follow after Teachers as the Fleet star would become a familiar face on TV for shows such as The Worst Week of My Life, Party Animals, Lead Balloon, Moving Wallpaper, Strangers and The Worst Witch among many more.

Despite starring in all of the above, Raquel is arguably best known for performances in the Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA award-winning British historical drama series Downton Abbey. Playing the role of maid Phyllis Baxter, Cassidy featured in 23 episodes across three series from 2013-2015. In addition to this, she also recapitulated the role of Baxter in the 2019 feature film and its 2022 sequel.

In 2015 and 2016, Raquel won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for Downton Abbey.

With a love of her hometown, Cassidy became a big advocate for the local community when, in 2011, she cut the ribbon at the re-opening of Fleet’s Phyllis Tuckwell’s Hospice Care shop which had previously suffered a fire that destroyed their shop.

A lover of all things media, Raquel has performed on stage, in TV and film and even on radio with her most recent roles playing the mother in the 2023 thriller and romance film Ferryman and, on TV, as Maria Swanson in British crime drama series The Chelsea Detective.

 

As Raquel Cassidy is closing in on almost 30 years in the acting industry, we can celebrate her brilliant work by popping on some Downton Abbey, Doctor Who or The Good Karma Hospital on our screens. A Fleet star whose career path might have never started had those Farnborough Hill Convent teachers not given her the positive push to pursue her passion.

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