Jessie Buckley

Jessie Buckley (born 28 December 1989) is an Irish singer and actress. Her career began in 2008 as a contestant on BBC TV talent show I'd Do Anything in which she placed second.[1] In the same year she appeared as Anne Egermann in the West End revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music.[2] After some other theatre roles she suspended her professional career to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and graduated in September 2013.[3]

Jessie Buckley
Buckley in 2019
Born (1989-12-28) 28 December 1989
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active2008–present

In 2016 Buckley appeared on four BBC television series, as Marya Bolkonskaya in BBC's adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace,[4] as Lorna Bow in Taboo[5], as Honor Martin in The Last Post, and as Marian Halcombe in The Woman in White. Buckley has taken the starring role in two films; Beast in 2017 and musical drama Wild Rose in 2018, for which she received critical acclaim.[6][7] In 2019, Buckley played Lyudmilla Ignatenko in the HBO miniseries Chernobyl, and she was recognized by Forbes in its annual "Thirty Under 30" list of "disrupters" and "trailblazers."[8]


Buckley was born in Killarney, County Kerry, the eldest of five children. Her mother, Marina Cassidy, encouraged her to sing and coached her. She has a brother and three sisters. Buckley went to Ursuline Secondary School, an all-girls convent school in Thurles, County Tipperary, where her mother works as a vocal coach[9] and where she performed in school productions. She played a number of male roles at school, including the male lead role of Jets gang founder Tony in the musical West Side Story and Freddie Trumper in Chess.[10]

She has achieved Grade eight in piano, clarinet and harp with the Royal Irish Academy of Music. She is also a member of the Tipperary Millennium Orchestra. Buckley also attended The Association of Irish Musical Societies (AIMS) workshops during the summer, to help improve her singing and acting; it was where she was then recognised as a talented actress and was encouraged to apply for Drama School in London. Just before she auditioned for I'd Do Anything, she was turned down by two drama schools, including one the day before her first audition for the show.[10] In 2008, Buckley won the AIMS Best Actress award for her portrayal of Julie Jordan in the Killarney Musical Society production of Carousel.

I'd Do Anything

Buckley competed in I'd Do Anything, a search for a new, unknown lead to play Nancy in a London West End stage revival of the British musical Oliver!.

Buckley reached the final on 31 May 2008, finishing in second place behind Jodie Prenger.[11]

Performances on I'd Do Anything

Show Song
Week one "River Deep - Mountain High"
Week two "Killing Me Softly"
Week three "One Night Only" from the musical Dreamgirls
Week four "Why Do Fools Fall in Love"
Week five "Stop!"
Week six "The Man that Got Away" from A Star Is Born
Week seven "Fighter"
Week eight "How Do I Live"
Week nine "What I Did for Love" from the musical A Chorus Line
Week ten (Final) "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"
"The Man That Got Away"
"As Long as He Needs Me"

After I'd Do Anything

Buckley performed at the Andrew Lloyd Webber's Birthday in the Park show in Hyde Park, London on 14 September 2008, singing "I Don't Know How To Love Him" as a solo and "Light at the End of the Tunnel" from Starlight Express with fellow I'd Do Anything finalists Keisha Amponsa-Banson, Niamh Perry, Rachel Tucker as well as Any Dream Will Do finalists Daniel Boys, Lewis Bradley, Ben James-Ellis and Keith Jack.[12] On 18 September she and Aoife Mulholland performed with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra at an Andrew Lloyd Webber evening at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.[13] On 26 August 2008 Buckley performed on Denny Street in Tralee, Co. Kerry where the first ever Millionaire raffle was broadcast live on RTÉ Radio 1. After this, Jessie performed at a charity concert in Tipperary, where she announced that she would be starting rehearsals for A Little Night Music in London the following Monday.

Buckley was offered the opportunity to understudy Nancy,[14] but turned it down in favour of another production: on 10 October 2008 it was announced that Buckley would be appearing in a revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical A Little Night Music, in the role of Anne Egerman, at the Menier Chocolate Factory, a fringe Studio Theatre, in London from 22 November 2008 to 8 March 2009. She appeared alongside Maureen Lipman and Hannah Waddingham in the production, which was directed by Trevor Nunn.[15] A Little Night Music transferred from the Menier Chocolate Factory to the Garrick Theatre in London's West End on 7 April 2009 (previews from 28 March – 6 April). A Little Night Music was Buckley's West End debut. The show closed on 25 July 2009. Since then, she has appeared in a number of concerts nationally, including a Christmas concert alongside Maria Friedman, Cantabile – the London Quartet and Tim Rice,[16] and in February 2010 appeared alongside Daniel Boys (and Night Music co-star Kelly Price[17]) in a series of Valentine musical concerts.[18]

Buckley graduated from The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in January 2013.[3]

In the 2013 summer season at Shakespeare's Globe she played Miranda in The Tempest, and singer Arabella Hunt and Kate in Samuel Adamson's Gabriel.[19][20]

Buckley played the part of Emily Strong in Rosamunde Pilcher's four-part TV adaptation of her book Shades of Love. This was aired in September 2013.[21]

In September 2013 Buckley appeared opposite Jude Law in Michael Grandage's West End production of Henry V at the Noël Coward Theatre.[22] She played Perdita in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company's production of The Winter's Tale,[23] which was streamed live to cinemas worldwide on 26 November 2015.

In 2016 Buckley appeared as Marya Bolkonskaya in the BBC's new dramatisation of War and Peace[24] Buckley received acclaim for her performance with Viv Groskop of The Guardian citing her performance as a highlight of episode two; writing that she plays this supposedly plain and pious character "beautifully".[25]

In 2017, Buckley appears as Lorna Bow in the BBC television drama series Taboo, alongside Tom Hardy.[5] She also stars as Honor Martin in the BBC series The Last Post and as Marian Halcombe in the BBC series The Woman in White.

In 2018, Buckley received acclaim for her lead performance as Moll Huntford in the psychological thriller Beast, a British-made film set on Jersey. She played the lead role in the 2019 country music drama Wild Rose, which earned Buckley the opportunity to perform music from the film at the Glastonbury Festival. The official soundtrack from the film reached number one on the UK Country Albums Chart.

In 2019, Buckley achieved worldwide fame for her portrayal of Lyudmilla Ignatenko in Chernobyl. The miniseries became the highest rated TV show in IMDB's history.[26]

She also appeared in the 2019 biopic of Judy Garland titled Judy.[27]



Year Title Role Notes
2017 Beast Moll Huntford
2018 Wild Rose Rose-Lynn Harlan
2019 Judy Rosalyn Wilder
2020 Dolittle Queen Victoria[28] Post-production
Ironbark Sheila Wynne Post-production
Misbehaviour Jo Ann Robinson Post-production
TBA I'm Thinking of Ending Things Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2014 Endeavour Kitty Batten 1 episode
2016 War & Peace Marya Bolkonskaya 6 episodes
2017 Taboo Lorna Bow 7 episodes
2017 The Last Post Honor Martin 6 episodes
2018 The Woman in White Marian Halcombe 5 episodes
2019 Chernobyl Lyudmilla Ignatenko 5 episodes
2020 Fargo Oraetta Mayflower Season 4, Post-production


  1. "Nancy Contestants – Jessie". BBC. 22 March 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  2. "Theatre review: A Little Night Music / Menier Chocolate Factory, London | Stage | The Guardian".
  3. "Profiles". Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  4. "War and Peace – Characters – BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  5. Frost, Caroline (13 January 2017). "'Taboo' Star Jessie Buckley: From 'I'd Do Anything' To 'War And Peace', 9 Facts In 90 Seconds". Huffpost Entertainment - United Kingdom. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  6. "Film of the week: Wild Rose -".
  7. "Wild Rose (2019) - Rotten Tomatoes".
  8. Irish Central, “Forbes includes six Irish people in their 2019 30 under 30 list” 12 February 2019
  9. Dundon, Noel (20 March 2008). "Thurles Student Destined for West End?". Tipperary Star. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2008.
  10. Webster, Nick (19 April 2008). "Nancy favourite Jessie Buckley was even a star as a MALE lead". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  11. "Reviewing the Situation: Final Results, Jodie is Nancy!". BBC. 31 May 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
  12. Shenton, Mark (14 September 2008). "Paige, Menzel, Barrowman and More Celebrate Lloyd Webber's Birthday in the Park". Playbill. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  13. "Jessie Buckley appeared in NCH, Dublin". Kerry News Blog. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
  14. Battles, Jan (13 July 2008). "Kerrys Jessie Buckley offered Oliver role". The Times. London. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  15. Smith, Alistair (10 October 2008). "I'd Do Anything runner-up Buckley to join Lipman in A Little Night Music". The Stage. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
  16. "Friedman, Rice and Buckley join Cantabile for Christmas concerts – News". The Stage. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  17. "Jessie Buckley to appear at Pizza on the Park – News". The Stage. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  18. Retrieved 9 January 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. "The Tempest / Shakespeare's Globe". Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  20. Tripney, Natasha (22 July 2013). "Gabriel". The Stage. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  21. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. "Full cast announced for Grandage's Henry V starring Jude Law, who is at the 'peak of his powers' - WhatsOnStage".
  23. Kellaway, Kate (15 November 2015). "The Winter's Tale; Harlequinade; All on Her Own review – a gift to eye and heart" via
  24. "Jessie Buckley, interview: the BBC's War and Peace star on Andrew Lloyd Webber, Dame Judi Dench and competitive karaoke battles", Evening Standard, 16 December 2015. Accessed 24 January 2016
  25. Groskop, Viv (10 January 2016). "War and Peace recap: episode two – forget pecs appeal, it's all about the flop of the fringe". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  26. "HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’ Is Now the Top-Rated TV Show on IMDb",, 5 June 2019, Accessed 15 July 2019
  28. Parlevliet, Mirko (12 August 2019). "Dolittle Synopsis and New Title for the January Release". Retrieved 12 August 2019.
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