Inside the life of Rachel Shenton and how tragic childhood inspired Oscar win

All Creatures Great and Small’s Rachel Shenton on father’s cancer diagnosis

Rachel Shenton is best known for her role as Helen Alderson in the family drama, All Creatures Great and Small.

Yet fans can prepare to see her in a totally different light as she plays a twisted character in the new Channel 5 series, For Her Sins.

The English actress, 35, began her acting career with small guest roles in Holby City and Waterloo Road.

However, she went on to win prestigious awards for her film, The Silent Child, which was inspired by her deaf father.

When she was just 12 years old, her father lost his hearing after undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

Following his death, Rachel made it her mission to learn British Sign Language and be an advocate for the deaf community.

She became ambassador for the National Deaf Children’s Society and continues to raise awareness and money for deaf charities to this day.

In 2017 she appeared in The Silent Child, a film she had created with her husband Chris Overton.

The film, which uses BSL throughout, was inspired by Rachel’s own personal experiences as a child of a parent who became deaf.

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It won an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film in 2018.

The star opened up about her father Geoff’s life-changing hearing loss when she appeared on Lorraine back in 2021.

She explained: “My dad had throat cancer. He was diagnosed quite late and he had huge doses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“One of the side effects was losing his hearing completely kind of almost overnight so I saw just what a massive impact that has on the family.

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“And I was always doing plays and going up and do things at school and drama and things, and he was no longer able to and watch those things.

“I guess it’s the things you take for granted, really, that became difficult.”

For her short film, she also scooped Best Actress at the London Independent Film Festival and the Overcome Film Festival.

The star is also known for her roles in Hollyoaks and Switched at Birth.

For Her Sins is airing on Channel 5 from June 5 at 9pm.

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