Maxine Peake (born 14 July 1974 in Bolton, Greater Manchester) is an English stage, film and television actress known for playing Veronica in Channel 4's Manchester-based drama series Shameless, and Twinkle in Victoria Wood's situation comedy Dinnerladies.
Peake has appeared in a number of television and stage productions including Channel 4's Shameless, Victoria Wood's Dinnerladies and Craig Cash's Early Doors as Janice. Between the two series of Dinnerladies, Peake lost so much weight that an explanation had to be written into the script for her character, Twinkle.
In 2006, Peake portrayed the Moors Murderess Myra Hindley in See No Evil: The Moors Murders. See No Evil was broadcast in May 2006, and met with mixed reactions; soon after this Peake announced that she was quitting Shameless.
Also in 2006, Peake appeared in On the Third Day the resultant play in Channel 4's The Play's the Thing televised competition.
In 2007, she played Tracey Temple in the TV drama Confessions of a Diary Secretary, which told the story of John Prescott's affair with his secretary. On 17 January 2008, she was the Cinderella character in the BBC's Fairy Tales series. On 26 March 2008, she starred in Hancock and Joan, a drama in BBC Four's Curse of Comedy series. She played Joan Le Mesurier, wife of actor John Le Mesurier, who had an affair with comedian Tony Hancock shortly after she and Le Mesurier were married. Also in 2008, she played Miss Wade in the BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit and Elizabeth Lilburne in The Devil's Whore.
January 2009 saw Peake appear in her first major feature film role, as Angela in the film Clubbed, as well as in the Channel 4 trilogy Red Riding.