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Maxine Peake

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Maxine Peake

Born : 14 July 1974
City : Westhoughton, United Kingdom
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Maxine Peake Biography

Maxine Peake (born 14 July 1974) is an English stage, film and television actress known for playing Twinkle in Victoria Wood's sitcom dinnerladies, Veronica in Channel 4's Manchester-based drama series Shameless,barrister Martha Costello QC in BBC legal drama Silk and, most recently, Grace Middleton in The Village

Early life

Born in Westhoughton (Bolton), Peake is the second of two daughters born to Brian and Glynis Peake (ne Hall). Her father was a lorry driver before working in the electrical industry, her mother a part-time careworker; Lisa, her elder sister by nine years, is a police officer. Her parents separated when Peake was nine and she lived with her mother until the age of 15. When her mother moved in with a new boyfriend several miles away, she went to live with her grandfather so she could continue her GCSE studies at Westhoughton High School, before going on to take her A-Levels at Canon Slade School, Bradshaw near Bolton. Her grandfather encouraged her to develop her creativity and start acting.

Peake joined the Octagon Youth Theatre, Bolton, at 13, before a period at the youth theatre of the Royal Exchange, Manchester. She later attended the University of Salford leaving after two years. During this time she appeared in productions with two leading amateur theatre companies in Bolton: The Marco Players and the Phoenix Theatre Company. Peake was a member of the Communist Party.

In her teens Peake was a representative for Wigan Ladies rugby league team.

Peake's early attempts to enter the acting profession were unsuccessful. She was rejected by every theatre education company in North West England,and tried unsuccessfully for three years to get into Manchester Polytechnic Theatre School and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.However, at 21, she obtained a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Her attempts to find sponsorship for RADA were the subject of a 1996 documentary by the South Bank Show; eventually, after being put forward by RADA, she was awarded the Patricia Rothermere Scholarship.

Career

Peake has appeared in a number of television and stage productions including Channel 4's Shameless, Victoria Wood's dinnerladies and Craig Cash's Early Doors as Janice. Between the two series of dinnerladies, following career advice from Victoria Wood, Peake lost so much weight that an explanation had to be written into the script for her character, Twinkle.

In 2006, Peake portrayed the Moors murderer Myra Hindley in See No Evil: The Moors Murders.See No Evil was broadcast in May 2006, and met with mixed reactions; soon after this Peake announced that she was quitting Shameless.

Also in 2006, Peake appeared in On the Third Day the resultant play in Channel 4's The Play's the Thing televised competition.

In 2007, she played Tracey Temple in the TV drama Confessions of a Diary Secretary, which told the story of John Prescott's affair with his secretary. On 17 January 2008, she was the Cinderella character in the BBC's Fairy Tales series. On 26 March 2008, she starred in Hancock and Joan, a drama in BBC Four's Curse of Comedy series. She played Joan Le Mesurier, wife of actor John Le Mesurier, who had an affair with comedian Tony Hancock shortly after she and Le Mesurier were married. Also in 2008, she played Miss Wade in the BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit and Elizabeth Lilburne in The Devil's Whore.

January 2009 saw Peake appear in her first major feature film role, as Angela in the film Clubbed, as well as in the Channel 4 trilogy Red Riding. In 2010 Peake played the titular character in The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister and in 2011 took the lead role of barrister Martha Costello in the BBC's legal drama, Silk.

She played the title role in a 2012 production of Miss Julie at the Royal Exchange, Manchester.She previously played the part of Kristin in a 2000 production.Also in 2012, she played Doll Tearsheet in the BBC2 adaptations of Henry IV, Parts I and II.
In November 2012, a play that Peake had written and directed about the life of the Leeds born cyclist Beryl Burton and starring herself in the main role was broadcast on BBC Radio Four.

Peake provided the vocals for the Eccentronic Research Council's 2012 concept album '1612 Underture' about the Pendle Witch Trials.

She starred alongside John Simm in the BBC drama The Village, depicting life in a Derbyshire village during World War I.She was nominated for a BAFTA in the leading actress category for her performance.She will reprise her role in the second series, set in the 1920s.

In September 2013 Peake was appointed an Associate Artist of the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. She has been associated with the theatre since her childhood and was a member of the youth theatre. She has performed in several major productions there including The Children's Hour in 2008 for which she won a MEN Award and Miss Julie in 2012 for which she won a Manchester Theatre Award. All her performances at the Royal Exchange have been directed by Sarah Frankcom with whom she also collaborated on The Masque of Anarchy in 2012 for the Manchester International Festival. From 11 September to 20 October 2014 she will play the title character in a radical re-imagining of Hamlet, again directed by Sarah Frankcom at the Royal Exchange.The demand for tickets was so great that the production was extended for a week, having been "the theatre’s fastest selling show in a decade".

In January 2014, Peake won the first Bolton Socialist Club Outstanding Contribution to Socialism Award for using her work to oppose the government's "crippling austerity measures".

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