Check out this new clip from tonight’s 3×03 episode:
Martha turns to Billy as she struggles with her brief, as he looks to the future of Shoe Lane under a new leader. Will he finally tell her the truth?
Thanks to my friend Rich at Kathryn-Morris.co.uk for the heads-up!
EDIT (1st March): If you missed yesterday’s interview you can now listen to it on here:
And this is Maxine’s portrait:
Maxine Peake is one of the subjects in a new exhibition at the Lowry dedicated to portrait painter Jonathon Yeo. Maxine and Jonathan describe the experience of creating a portrait from their different perspectives. And when she’s not being captured in oils, Maxine is the star of the BBC legal drama Silk where she plays the role of barrister Martha Costello QC. The new series of Silk starts this week and Maxine discusses how Martha’s character has developed.
Producer: Ekene Akalawu
Duration: 30 minutes
First broadcast: Friday 28 February 2014
The most ambitious film was Keeping Up With the Joneses, written by Selina Lim and directed by Michael Pearce, which at 28 minutes felt like a trailer for a complete, but unformed feature film. Maxine Peake is very good as the wife of a corrupt MP whose dodgy associates kidnap her. It looks and feels very accomplished, though a crucial transition in the relationship with Pearce and her kidnapper Geoff Bell comes a little out of nowhere. Never mind: it’s impressive work.
The Oxford Times published a truly, inspiring interview with Maxine yesterday morning. Read it below and I can assure you won’t be disappointed:
Katherine MacAlister speaks to actor/ writer Maxine Peake about Beryl Burton
It’s no that surprise Maxine Peake chose the life of Beryl Burton to kick off her career as a playwright, because the two have so much in common. Both are Northern, both battled against sexist, conformist, old-fashioned rules to get where they wanted, with as little fanfare, fuss and bother as possible. Both have a ferocious work ethic, no-nonsense approach and wonderful sense of humour. Both trained hard, fought hard and succeeded in their fields.
Maxine Peake and Beryl Burton are worthy opponents then and perfect subject matter for the inspirational talks at the new Ruskin Theatre, because apart from being one of the most diverse and sought-after actresses, Maxine is desperate to discuss her new passion: writing.
Her debut play for Radio 4 celebrates the extraordinary sporting achievements of Morley cyclist Beryl Burton, MBE, OBE, five-times world champion, 13-times national champion, twice road-racing world champion and 12-times national champion.
“I’d spent so many mornings drinking coffee with fellow actresses complaining how they were always playing mistresses, wives and mothers. And of course those are important roles, but there is more to women than that, so I thought I’d better dip my toe in and seize the opportunity. If you fail, you fail, but I’m too old and ugly to worry about that.”
Neither old nor ugly, Maxine has never been more in demand, with parts in Dinnerladies, Shameless, Criminal Justice, Silk and most recently The Village making her one of the most in-demand actors in Britain.
Even so, she refuses to take it for granted. “They say when you hit 40 the roles start drying up so I’m preparing myself with an alternative career. But I do think women get more interesting as they get older, that was my view even when I was younger.”
I agree with everything she says about women get more interesting as they get older – not only as human beings but just take a look at different actresses’ careers. For example, there’s Alex Kingston in Doctor Who, Helen McCrory in Peaky Blinders, or Jessica Lange being introduced to a whole new generation (google American Horror Story).
So if there’s a chance writers can have a bit of influence on this matter please please write more striking roles for women. It is fair to say that these days we’re past the housewife cliché and don’t need one-sided characters anymore. There is more to women, isn’t it?
When she was younger of course, acting was the last thing on her mind, Maxine setting her sights on becoming a writer or comedian: “I’d always imagined I’d go to university, meet like-minded people, start up a comedy group and it would go from there,” she laughs at her naivety. “But I didn’t get into uni, and had to fight hard to even get into drama school. It took years. I got used to being rejected, which is useful in this business.”
What kept her going? “I had a strong, Northern, working class, no-pain-no-gain attitude. And it hasn’t been easy. You have to fight for what you want.
“So, at drama school I always played the old woman rather than the pretty fox because I was big and Northern and they didn’t know what else to do with me. And yet it was the best training I could’ve had. How does a 23-year-old play a 64-year-old from the Deep South? I had to take it on.”
It wasn’t until Maxine pitched up on the set of Dinnerladies, alongside her all-time hero Victoria Wood, that her metamorphosis began. Wood sat the 15-stone, 23-year-old Maxine down and told her the business was tough and that she would always be typecast as a big, brash, blonde, Northerner if she didn’t lose weight. Maxine went on a diet. Once she reached her ideal wight she moved on, and up, and has refused to be typecast ever since.
“I had high blood pressure for a 23-year-old and was very unhealthy. If it didn’t go between two pieces of bread, I wasn’t interested. At drama school I was the only female in the canteen. I’m a bit of a sod like that though. I always do the opposite of everyone else, so I lost the weight begrudgingly.”
She’s been a size 12 ever since and eats healthily now, but doesn’t dwell on her weight. She’s more interested in the roles she plays. “I always start from scratch with a part. The difficulty is returning to a role because you have crafted this character and may disagree with the way they develop, but you have to accept it.”
So what next? “I haven’t lost my love of acting,” she says, but hopes to continue writing and is adapting her radio play Beryl for the stage, wanting to share her story with the world.
A feminist then? “Feminist? I think feminism is just about equality but I’ve never had a lack of confidence or thought women were the weaker sex. I think women are much stronger than men. They have to juggle more; careers, children and be the backbone of the family. That’s not to say men don’t but I do think women are stronger.”
This last paragraph captures exactly my thoughts and I admire Maxine for speaking it out loud and being honest because sadly, men still don’t seem to realize these days what it’s like if you aim “to have it all”. Of course, there are exceptions but, as for me studying in a more men-dominant, scientific field the equality along with thoughts on women’s strengths and flaws is still a problem sometimes.
Maxine does accept however that Beryl Burton needed the backing of her husband to succeed and he supported her 100 per cent. “In those days cycling was an amateur sport so they both made a lot of sacrifices, so Beryl is also a love story,” she says.
Does Maxine have a similar support network? “My partner Pawlr (pronounced Pavlo) is brilliant. He told me I must do it, even when I’m writing from 8am-11.30pm. And if I’m offered a job that takes me away from home he just says ‘go and do it if you want’. I’ve been out with actors who haven’t been that accommodating. But in the end it’s about getting off your backside and doing it for yourself. So while one part of me says ‘you can’t do this’, the other says ‘you have to’.”
My conclusion to this engaging interview is we should all take her as an example and give what we love our best because that’s what leads to success. We can see it has absolutely worked fine on Maxine’s part!
As for the Ruskin talk Maxine says it’s a Q&A session, but that she’s incredibly honoured to have been asked and that it’s a real privilege. I’m sure the feeling is mutual.
Ruskin Theatre, Dunstan Road, Old Headington, OX3 9BZ
Wednesday (March 5), 6.30pm
All events free – book tickets at firstname.lastname@example.org
Goodness, this looks great! Can’t wait for Monday… watch this new clip:
When a new pupil arrives in Chambers, Clive and Martha’s rivalry is evident when she must chose who to follow in a high profile trial.
742 full HD captures are up in the gallery now, take a look! Hope you enjoyed the first episode as much as I did
Feel free to use but any credit back to us is highly appreciated.
TV series > Silk (2011-2014) > Series 3 > HD Captures > 3×01
Delving into the murky world of professional football, Martha must put her feelings aside to defend a footballer accused of a pitch assault on another player. With the incident witnessed by tens of thousands of football fans, it seems Martha is facing an impossible task.
With her client reluctant to co-operate and help his defence, Martha must gain his trust to discover a secret he is determined to keep hidden from the football world. Up against Clive in court, can Martha convince her client to help himself?
Meanwhile, a resignation shocks chambers and Billy begins to take steps to ensure the future of Shoe Lane – with or without him.
Although the new series has just started last night you can already pre-order it in the BBC shop (links below).
As the series opens Martha is already a QC of a year’s standing and, on the back of the Jody Farr case, is building her practice and particularly a reputation for winning unwinnable cases. But now Clive has got silk too and he’s specialising in Prosecution. The criminal bar is a small world and increasingly Martha and Clive are pitted against each other in court.
Martha finds it hard to keep the personal and the professional apart and never more so than when she loses to Clive in a big case early on. Martha’s growing reputation means that her cases attract headlines more frequently either because the case is a cause celebre or because her defence is breaking new ground legally. Her cases will feel even bigger, the stakes higher, heaping the pressure on Martha.
There’s an interesting, new interview with Maxine featured on the RadioTimes website which I’ve posted below.
Don’t forget Silk returns tonight with its third series on BBC One. Can’t wait!
Could you defend yourself in court if you had to?
No, I’d get too frustrated and emotional. Although the DVLA has just mistakenly taken my dad’s driving licence off him so I suggested I could represent him. I hope he knows I was joking!
Are there similarities between barristers and actors?
I’ve socialised with a few of them and their personalities are all very similar to actors. Basically, they’re show-offs. I was at drama school with several actors who went off to become barristers, so there’s a definite connection.
Have you attended court trials?
Every year I spend about three or four days at the Old Bailey. I’ll be ignored, but I took Rupert [co-star Rupert Penry-Jones] and the women went all a-flutter. You could see the female barristers and jurors getting all breathless and pink-cheeked. It was hilarious.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I love Splash! and Take Me Out. Not that I’d ever do Splash! It’s the parading on British TV in a swimming costume I couldn’t handle. I watch Take Me Out mainly for Paddy McGuinness. When we were younger we worked together as lifeguards at the Bolton Leisure Centre.
Did you ever save anyone?
No, we weren’t paying much attention, to be honest! We were always laughing too much. He was dead funny then and he’s not changed a bit.
Would you ever appear on Strictly or I’m a Celebrity..?
No, but if there was a celebrity One Man and His Dog, I’d be bang up for that. That show was so soothing and relaxing it was hypnotic.
Have you seen Benefits Street?
I’ve avoided it. Programmes like this add fuel to the fire of what I see as victimisation of the underclass in this country. I find it upsetting because the show is merely making a bad situation worse.
What shows do you never miss?
Toast of London is a must-watch. Matt Berry’s off-the-wall humour is slightly surreal and a little bit deviant. That’s why I also love House of Fools. Vic and Bob have always made me laugh and this is right up there with their best work.
What was your favourite show when you were a kid?
Citizen Smith. I used to make my grandad take me to the top of the multistorey car park so I could shout “Power to the people!” really loud.
Have you been watching the Winter Olympics?
No, I’m more of a rugby league girl. When I was 15 I played for Wigan Ladies for two years. But I wanted to go to drama school and I didn’t think a broken nose and cauliflower ear would help my cause. I made a couple of bad tackles on a girl and she quietly said if I did it again she’d kick my head in. Luckily, I could run fast.
Yes Minister or The Thick of It? The Thick of It
University Challenge or Question Time? University Challenge – I do have a little thing for Paxman.
Have I Got News For You or Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe? Have I Got News For You
Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay? Uurgh, cooking! Neither.
Pointless or Countdown? Pointless
Silk, tonight 9:00pm, BBC1
Added a great preview clip of the first series 3 episode. Watch it below:
Angry and defeated at a recent verdict, Martha’s passion for her profession overspills and inspires Clive to tell her how he really feels.
Thanks to my friend Rich at Kathryn Morris UK for helping me out.