The Five Minute Interview: Maxine Peake, actress

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The Independent Online

Maxine Peake, 34, is a Bolton-born actress best known for her role as Veronica Ball in Shameless. She has also appeared in shows as diverse as Dinnerladies, Early Doors and the two-part crime serial See No Evil: The Moors Murders, in which she played Myra Hindley. Since leaving Shameless in 2006 Maxine has appeared in several TV dramas as well working on the forthcoming movie Clubbed. Maxine appears in the second episode of Channel 4’s Red Riding Trilogy this Thursday at 9pm.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be…

I’m actually expecting a wardrobe to be delivered today so I’d just be at home in Salford waiting for that.



A phrase I use far too often...

‘To be honest.’ I think I say it as I kind of buffer that gives me time to think as well as adding a more believable quality to what I’m about to say.



I wish people would take more notice of...

Each other. We need a wider sense of community because we’re all on the same planet. We’re too insular and too individual these days.



A common misperception of me is...

That I’m a brassy Northerner. Some of the roles I’ve taken on have led people to believe I’m quite hard. When they meet me they’re often disappointed and say things like “you’re more pathetic than I thought you’d be”.



The most surprising thing that ever happened to me was...

Getting and keeping jobs. When I’m going to work I often stop and wonder how I’ve got here. I don’t mean literally but just thinking back to when I first had the idea of being an actress it seemed so unreal, so unlikely. People like me just didn’t become actresses. Every new job I get comes as shock. It’s almost as if I’m waiting to be found out.



I am not a politician but...

If I were, I’d install a truly socialist government to sort of the financial mess we’re in. Policies need to evolve to tackle global challenges. Oh and the bankers that screwed things up should be put in prison.



I'm good at...

Horse riding - I’m very good believe it or not. I used to have a horse so I guess my talent came through practice.



But I'm very bad at...

Driving - I honestly scare myself sometimes. How I passed my test I’ll never know.



The ideal night out is...

Dancing with friends. I’ve got a big gang of mates and there’s nothing we like better than just out to St Aloysius Social Club for a good old dance into the early hours.



In moments of weakness I...

Food. I’m a big comfort eater so if I’m feeling sorry for myself I’ll just stuff my face.



You know me as an actress but in truer life I'd have been...

A bus driver – I really fancied that. When I was a little girl there was this unbelievably cool female bus driver who’d work near us. I remember thinking I’d like to be her when I grew up.



The best age to be is...

Whatever age you are. You can’t have any regrets over the passing of time so it’s best to just forget how old you are. Do everything you can not to remind yourself.



In a nutshell, my philosophy is…

Always have a laugh. I try and find the humour in every situation I find myself in. It’s never good to lock yourself away in a dark room because you’re alone with your melancholy. Get out, have a laugh and I promise things will heal quicker.

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