Maxine Peake reveals discrimination over accent in TV industry

BAFTA Film Gala dinner

Silk star Maxine Peake has told of the discrimination she faced in the TV industry over her accent.

The actress, 42, who grew up in Bolton, Greater Manchester, said she was perceived to be uneducated.

"Now, people are like, 'Oh, she's a proper actress', but if I had taped the way they challenged your intellect," the star of The Village said.

"They'd say, 'She's been educated, she's been to university: can you lose the accent?' Or, 'Have you read the script?' and I'd go, 'Yes', and they'd say (whispering), 'You do know she's not from the north?'

"'I can read, we've got schools up north, we've got electricity.'"

The former Shameless actress, who played Hamlet on stage and is about to star in BBC1 drama Three Girls, based on the Rochdale sexual abuse scandal, said that when she started to act she was stereotyped.

"They think if you're from up north, you're up for it. Good-time girls," she said.

Peake has spoken previously about trying, unsuccessfully, to have children with her long-term partner and the attitudes she encountered because she had not become a mother.

She told the Guardian: "We shouldn't still be asking, 'Have you got children? Why've you not got children? Ooh, you must have children!' Bog off, d'you know what I mean?"