Anna Maxwell Martin — things you didn't know about the TV star

Anna Maxwell Martin on the red carpet
Anna Maxwell Martin is a star of stage and screen. (Image credit: Getty)

Anna Maxwell Martin has become a firm favourite on British TV over the years, starring in shows like Line of Duty, Motherland, And Then There Were None, Bleak House, Death Comes to Pemberley, The Bletchley Circle, Poppy Shakespeare and Doctor Who  - proving that she can turn her hand to everything from comedy to period dramas. 

She also has two Bafta awards, performed in countless radio plays and has 20 years of theatre experience under her belt. 

But what else is there to learn about the actress? Here are a few things you might not know...

Her name isn't Anna Maxwell Martin 

While we know and love the actress as Anna Maxwell Martin, she was actually born Anna Charlotte Martin and added the Maxwell part of her name when she joined Equity. Maxwell was her grandfather's name and she added it to her name to distinguish herself from another member of the actors' union. 

Her daughters hate her 'Motherland' character

Anna has become a comedy icon thanks to her role as Julia in the hilarious BBC2 show Motherland, but it seems her two daughters aren't a fan. Anna told "My kids hate Julia. They absolutely hate Motherland. They won't watch it. It's not funny for them. They hate seeing me like that, seeing me that stressed."

Motherland Season 3

Anna Maxwell Martin plays Julia in hilarious BBC2 comedy Motherland. (Image credit: BBC)

'Line of Duty' changed her life 

While Motherland has become hugely popular on BBC2, Anna credits her role as DCS Patricia Carmichael in Line of Duty as being the role that changed everything. Anna joined Jed Mercurio's crime thriller in Season 5, and has returned for Season 6. She told "I had no idea that Line of Duty was such a huge deal. You become public property, and I wasn't used to that. I was used to the odd lady coming up to me in Waitrose and saying, 'I saw you in the theatre in Cabaret and I didn't think you were very good!' But Line of Duty was a whole other level I even took the dog for a walk and ended up in a mad car chase with a paparazzo."

DCS Carmichael Line of Duty

Anna Maxwell Martin's role in Line of Duty made her a household name.  (Image credit: BBC/World Productions)

She made her life-long friends at university 

Before going to drama school in London, Anna went to Liverpool university where she made friends that she still regularly meets up with now. She told The Guardian: "I can't remember any of my degree, I really was just there to act and make friends and drink Bacardi Breezers!"

She doesn't consider herself as famous

Despite being in some of the biggest shows on TV, Anna is sure that she isn't famous. She told The Guardian: "I don't have fame, I'm not famous. I get, 'Have I met you at playgroup?' or 'Did I play mixed doubles with you at Binningdon tennis courts?' So no, I'm not famous, and maybe that's a good thing!"

She's got a secret talent for dancing 

While Anna might be a seriously brilliant actress, she is also apparently a force to be reckoned with on the dance floor. She told "You wouldn't know it but I'd be very good in a dance off. I look like a dweeb, but I can dance like Rhianna!"

Anna Maxwell Martin's fact file 

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the actress....

How old is she?

Anna Maxwell Martin is 44 years old. She was born on 10 May 1977.

Is she married? 

Anna Maxwell Martin separated from her husband, South African film director Roger Michell in 2020. 

Does she have children? 

Anna Maxwell Martin has two daughters called Maggie and Nancy. 

Where was she born?

Anna Maxwell Martin was born in Beverley, Yorkshire. 

How tall is she?

Anna Maxwell Martin is 5ft 5in. 

Instagram: @annamaxwellmartin

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.