Anna Maxwell Martin

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Anna Maxwell Martin
BornAnna Charlotte Martin
(1977-05-10) 10 May 1977 (age 37)
Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK
Years active2001–present
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Anna Maxwell Martin
BornAnna Charlotte Martin
(1977-05-10) 10 May 1977 (age 37)
Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, England, UK
Years active2001–present

Anna Maxwell Martin (born 1977),[1] sometimes credited as Anna Maxwell-Martin, is a twice BAFTA award-winning English actress who has won acclaim for her performances as Lyra in His Dark Materials at the Royal National Theatre, as Esther Summerson in the BBC's 2005 adaptation of Bleak House, and as N in Channel 4's 2008 adaptation of Poppy Shakespeare.

Personal life[edit]

Anna Charlotte Martin[2] was born in Beverley, near Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England on 10 May 1977.[2][3] Her father was the managing director of a pharmaceutical company and her mother was a research scientist. Her mother gave up her job to bring up Anna and her elder brother Adam. Anna attended Beverley High School where she appeared in school plays. After she left school Martin studied history at Liverpool University, specialising in the First World War. She joined the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) after completing her studies at Liverpool. She added the name Maxwell (her grandfather's name)[4] to her surname to distinguish her from another member with the same name when she joined Equity. In her final year at LAMDA her father was diagnosed with cancer, although he lived long enough to see her stage performance as Alexandra in The Little Foxes at the Donmar Warehouse (he died when she was 24).[5]

Martin is married[6] to director Roger Michell;[7] she gave birth to their first child,[8] Maggie,[9] in April 2009.[10][11]


Martin first came to prominence on the London stage playing the leading role of Lyra in the National Theatre's production of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. She was then cast in the part of Bessie Higgins in the BBC television adaptation of the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, North and South, in 2004, and made a guest appearance in the 2005 series of Doctor Who. She played Esther Summerson, the central character in the 2005 BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House, for which she won the Best Actress BAFTA Television Award in 2006.[12]

In January 2006 she took part in a reading of The Entertainer at the Royal Court Theatre and in February and March she appeared in Laura Wade's Other Hands, directed by Bijan Sheibani at the Soho Theatre. She is the narrator of the CD version of The Foreshadowing, a children's book about the First World War by Marcus Sedgwick, which was published in May 2006.

In the same year she worked on I Really Hate My Job, directed by Oliver Parker and, from October 2006 to April 2007, played Sally Bowles in Bill Kenwright and Rufus Norris's West End production of Cabaret at the Lyric Theatre.

She played Cassandra Austen in Becoming Jane, a 2007 film about the early life of the novelist Jane Austen starring American actress Anne Hathaway in the title role. At the end of the year she played the gaoler's daughter in Lee Hall's adaptation of The Wind in the Willows, a multi-million pound production by Box TV for BBC One, and was the joint narrator (with Anton Lesser) of the CD version of Tamar, a children's book about the Second World War by Mal Peet, which was published in December 2007.

In 2008 she starred in the BBC Two drama White Girl and with Naomie Harris in Channel 4's adaptation of Poppy Shakespeare, for which she won her second Best Actress BAFTA Television Award in 2009.[13] From July to October of that year, she appeared with Dame Eileen Atkins in The Female of the Species at the Vaudeville Theatre in London. She also appeared in a BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel Crooked House.

In July 2009 she appeared in the BBC Two drama Freefall, and played Neil Armstrong's wife, Janet, in Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, an ITV1 drama documentary to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

In February 2010 she played freedom of information campaigner Heather Brooke in On Expenses, a BBC Four satirical drama and also played Isabella in Shakespeare's Measure For Measure at the Almeida Theatre.[14]

In February 2011, she played Sarah Burton in a three-part BBC adaptation of Winifred Holtby's novel, South Riding.[15] Also on 12 July 2011, she played Kay Langrish in a BBC Two dramatisation of The Night Watch.[16][17]

From September 2012, she starred in the drama mini-series The Bletchley Circle. On 4 September 2012, she appeared in Jimmy McGovern's Accused, as prison officer Tina.

In December 2013 she returned to the world of Jane Austen, starring as Elizabeth Darcy in the BBC Christmas season drama Death Comes to Pemberley, a three-part television adaptation of the P.D. James novel of the same name which continues the events of Austen's Pride and Prejudice with a murder mystery involving the same characters.


2002Midsomer MurdersArabella HeywoodTV series (1 episode: "Murder on St. Malley's Day")
Eddie Loves MaryIntervieweeShort
2004Enduring LovePenny
North & SouthBessie HigginsTV mini-series
2005Doctor WhoSuki Macrae CantrellTV series (1 episode: "The Long Game")
Bleak HouseEsther SummersonBAFTA TV Award for Best Actress
2006The Other ManChristineShort
The Wind in the WillowsGaoler's DaughterTV film
2007I Really Hate My JobMadonna
Becoming JaneCassandra Austen
2008White GirlDebbieTV film
Poppy ShakespeareNBAFTA TV Award for Best Actress
2009Free AgentsSophieTV series (3 episodes)
FreefallMandy PotterTV film
MoonshotJanet ArmstrongTV film
2010On ExpensesHeather BrookeTV film
2011South RidingSarah BurtonNominated — BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress
CBeebies Bedtime StoriesHerselfTV series (5 episodes)
The Night WatchKay LangrishTV film
2012AccusedTina Dhakin1 episode, (Episode: "Tina's Story")
2012–2014The Bletchley CircleSusan Gray5 episodes, lead role
2013Death Comes to PemberleyElizabeth DarcyTV mini-series
Alan Partridge: Alpha PapaPolice OfficerFilm






  1. ^ Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1984-2006 listed birth name as 'Anna Charlotte Martin' Registration year 1977.
  2. ^ a b Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1984-2006 listed birth name as 'Anna Charlotte Martin' Registration year 1977, Registration District Beverley,Yorkshire
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Thoroughly modest Martin | Mail Online". 2007-02-24. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  5. ^ Times onLine
  6. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Front Row, Anna Maxwell Martin; Sondheim's Road Show". 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  7. ^ [2][dead link]
  8. ^ "Pregnant Tess Daly shows off her stunning red carpet style (and her growing bump) at awards bash | Mail Online". 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  9. ^ [3][dead link]
  10. ^ [4][dead link]
  11. ^ [5][dead link]
  12. ^ "Entertainment | Bafta TV Awards 2006: The winners". BBC News. 2006-05-07. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  13. ^ "Entertainment | Bafta TV Awards 2009: The winners". BBC News. 2009-04-26. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  14. ^ Baz Bamigboye (2009-09-25). "BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Gemma Arterton takes her bow | Mail Online". Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  15. ^ ""South Riding" (2011)". Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  16. ^ Turner, Mr (2010-11-20). "The Night Watch filming in Bath". This is Bath. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  17. ^ Poetry says: (2012-04-29). "Stellar Cast Announced for BBC Two’s The Night Watch | Vadvert - UK Paid Press Release Distribution Service". Vadvert. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 

External links[edit]