BBC Rules of the Game star Maxine Peake, who also recently starred in ITV drama Anne, has a longtime partner who is artistic director
Maxine Peake has become a national treasure and one of our best actresses.
Born in Bolton to a truck driver and part-time caregiver, Maxine joined youth theater companies and performed for the Wigan Ladies rugby league as a teenager.
Her path to stardom has not been easy, as Maxine was initially rejected by all the theater education companies in the North West of England.
However, after years of struggle, she secured a place in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) at the age of 21 and secured her first major role on the children’s show Children’s Ward.
Then, in 1998, she had her big hit on the BBC sitcom “dinnerladies”, which was written and co-produced by the late great Victoria Wood.
After the first set, when Maxine was 15th, Wood advised her to lose weight to avoid being labeled.
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24-year-old Maxine – who played Twinkle on the popular sitcom – joined WeightWatchers and dropped to 5th place in nine months.
It was so quick that she had to wear a “big suit” in the second set.
In 2002, she told the Her Spirit podcast, “I still have the spirit of being a big girl. Sometimes I think to myself, ‘Was I happier when I was older?’ Because that is good protection – it is good armor.
“I thought, ‘Men aren’t interested because I’m tall.’ People say ‘Oh, but you have a great personality.’
“I lost weight and I was like ‘Do I even have a good personality?’.”
She lost 5th place in her twenties, but Maxine often wonders if she could have been happier before.
The actress, now 47, always pays attention to the comfort of her diet, admitting that she can spend “a few days gorging herself”.
She said. “I’ll be in the kitchen and don’t realize I picked up six cookies and a slice of bread while I was thinking about what to eat for my lunch.”
Maxine, who starred in Shameless, is not married but lives in Salford with her longtime partner, art director Pawlo Wintoniuk.
Pawlo, whom Maxine calls her “soul mate”, works in the cinema and has directed Another Me (2013), Blood (2012) and Away (2016).
“He’s better informed than me, and he thinks I’m a lot better informed than me. Which makes me laugh,” she said in an interview with The Guardian in 2017.
“Usually. We never row about politics.”
ITV / Amy Brammall / REX / Shutterstock)
Just last week, Maxine was on our screens in ITV’s powerful documentary Anne.
The Hillsborough activist fought for justice for the 97 victims who lost their lives on that fateful day in Sheffield in 1989 following the death of her 15-year-old son in the FA Cup semi-final.
What struck Maxine Peake the most about Anne Williams was her unwavering resilience.
The Shameless actress wanted to say ‘yes’ to taking on the role of the inspiring Hillsborough activist before she even read the script for the ITV drama Anne.
“She never gave up. There are times when she might want to but she kept going,” Maxine said on This Morning last week.
“She never got bitter. She was angry but she channeled her anger and that’s what pushed her forward. She was very worthy of it.
“She said, ‘They’re trying to crush me, but I’m going to crush them first.’
ITV / JUSTIN SLEE / REX / Shutterstock)
Maxine received praise from Anne’s daughter Sara Williams, who was only 10 when her brother died in Hillsborough.
While she knew Maxine would do a “very good job” playing their mother, she was stunned by the quality of her performance in the drama named after her mother.
“When we went to see the final version, I was like, how can someone play my mom and feel like my mom? At first you look at her thinking, “she looks a bit like her.” looking at mom, ”Sara said.
The actress is still in contact with Sara and traveled to Formby for her daughter’s 21st birthday, where she had the pleasure of seeing many survivors.
Now Maxine is switching from ITV to BBC this week for the start of an explosive new drama Rules of the Game.
Maxine stars as Sam Thompson in the office thriller about sexual politics in the modern workplace.
BBC / The Forge / Matt Squire)
Beneath the bright and happy surface of a business, a new recruit opens the doors to a hidden scandal.
Sam is a determined manager in a family business in the North West of England. It’s business as usual – until one day she arrives at the office to find a corpse and is forced to face uncomfortable truths and murderous secrets, past and present.
The series, which also stars Rakhee Thakrar and Alison Steadman, is expected to be just a one-season wonder.
Speaking at a launch event, Maxine said: “I think it’s definitely a season like the Americans say. But who knows?
“Maybe I couldn’t spend another summer locked in a tall glass tower.”
* Rules of the Game airs tonight on BBC One at 9 p.m.
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