MOST people know Maxine Peake as a leading actress in a number of great British dramas.
But before she made it big, the Bolton star once considered a career in Wigan rugby in the ladies team.
As a teenager she played rugby league for Wigan Ladies, a hobby her sister introduced her to.
She said: “A guy who used to work with her played for Wigan, and they announced they were looking for women players.
“Because I was a bit larger and slightly clumsy I thought maybe rugby’s the sport for me. I lasted a couple of years and then I chickened out of it.”
Rugby’s loss eventually proved acting’s gain, as Maxine applied for a Rada scholarship and, rather amazingly, found herself being shadowed by The South Bank Show who happened to be making a documentary about the scholarship scheme.
Her first crack at fame came as Twinkle in Dinnerladies and Veronica in Shameless, and she has had a string of meaty roles under her belt, including Myra Hindley in See No Evil: The Moors Murders.
She almost passed up a part in Criminal Justice, as it was too soon after her mum’s death, but after producers gave her the lead role of Juliet, she thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Another interesting fact about Maxine is that her late mother, Glynis, used to work in the same department store as former St John Rigby pupil Vernon Kay’s mum.
Maxine said: “Bolton’s really weird like that.
“I went to sixth form with Sara Cox, I used to be a lifeguard with Paddy McGuinness, and Vernon Kay used to stack shelves in the local supermarket.”