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Maxine — release date, cast, plot, first looks and all about the drama based on the Soham murders

Maxine on Channel 5 follows the story of school assistant Maxine Carr.
Maxine on Channel 5 follows the story of school assistant Maxine Carr. (Image credit: Bernard Walsh / Channel 5 Television)

Maxine on Channel 5 is a true life drama that gives a new perspective on the 2002 murders of Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, turning the spotlight onto school assistant Maxine Carr. 

This tragic case from 2002 shocked the nation and the initial disappearance of the two 10-year-old school friends from the town of Soham in Cambridgeshire, UK, led to the biggest manhunt in British history. With newcomer Jemma Carlton playing Maxine and White House Farm’s Scott Reid playing Ian Huntley, this three-part drama will examine the investigation into Maxine and her caretaker boyfriend Ian Huntley, who was later imprisoned for the murders. It delves into Maxine’s tumultuous relationship with Huntley, examines why she lied to the police for him and shows how she came to be regarded as "the most hated woman in Britain".

Filming for the three-part drama started in Ireland in May 2022. Here's everything you need to know about Maxine on Channel 5 including chats with actors Jemma and Scott....

Scott Reid as Ian Huntley with Jemma Carlton as Maxine Carr.

Scott Reid as Ian Huntley with Jemma Carlton as Maxine Carr. (Image credit: Bernard Walsh / Channel 5 Television)

Maxine release date

The three-part drama Maxine will premiere on Channel 5 from Monday October 10 at 9pm with subsequent episodes showing on the following two nights at the same time. Afterwards you can catch up with all three episodes on the streaming service My5. We will update her with any US or international air dates and channels.

Is there a trailer for Maxine?

There's no trailer for Maxine yet but keep an eye on this page and if Channel 5 releases one, we’ll post it on here. 

Maxine plot — what happens in the Channel 5 drama

Maxine will examine the horrific murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman through the eyes of Maxine Carr, the fiancé of Ian Huntley. The schoolgirls, who' been friends since they were four, went missing after a family barbecue, leading to a huge manhunt. Eventually, their school caretaker Ian Huntley was found to have been behind the crimes and it emerged that Carr had falsely provided an alibi for him to the police. This story focuses on Huntley and Carr's difficult relationship and examines why she decided to lie for him, which led to her imprisonment in 2003 for perverting the course of justice. It also reflects the media frenzy around the case and how Carr quickly became public enemy No1.  

Maxine cast — Jemma Carlton as Maxine Carr

Jemma Carlton plays Maxine Carr, who was Holly and Jessica’s teaching assistant and lied to the police to cover up Huntley’s crimes. This is her first lead role but she did also star in the 2018 comedy movie Detective Dover, playing Stacy Goff. 

Speaking to whattowatch.com about playing Carr, Jemma says, "I  watched hours and hours of documentaries before we started filming. There's  a lot of footage of Maxine from interviews she did at the time so that was useful in terms of trying to nail her physicality and her voice."

Scott Reid as Ian Huntley

Scott Reid as evil killer Ian Huntley.

Scott Reid as evil killer Ian Huntley. (Image credit: Channel 5)

Scott Reid is playing school caretaker Ian Huntley whose media interviews and crocodile tears alerted the police to his guilt. Scott is best known for playing DC Mick Clark in the ITV true crime series White House Farm. He also starred in Line of Duty, Still Game, Carnival Row and Deadwater Fell, plus he played Nigel in the 2020 movie The Forgotten Battle

When asked if he had any reservations about playing such a reviled person Scott says, "After meeting the director and hearing about the care, diligence and respect that the channel was approaching it with, I knew the story was going to be told in the right way and that eased any concerns or worries and gave me the confidence to go forward with it."

Jemma adds, "The research team worked so hard to create a timeline of events that was as accurate as possible so we could tell this story truthfully."

Scott Reid in White House Farm.

Scott Reid playing DC Mick Clark in White House Farm. (Image credit: ITV)

Did the families of Holly and Jessica have any input into this dramatisation? 

Scott says, "One of the assurances made to myself and Jemma at the start was that the channel had reached out to the families and also a lot of people involved in the case, whether that be people who worked at the school or lived in Soham. We were assured that everybody was given the time, respect and reached out to with the utmost care that they all deserve." 

Where was Maxine filmed? 

The drama was filmed outside Dublin, Ireland in the coastal town of Bray. 

Scott says, "We didn't film in Soham itself and I think that was a good decision as it allowed us to be in an environment where the case wasn’t so fresh in people’s minds. It also allowed us to be away from the press who always want  a sneaky peak of filming." 

How did Scott and Jemma find the experience of portraying such dark events? 

Scott says, "As soon as I hear the director say ‘cut’  I'm back to being Scott. I'm only interested in doing my work, being diligent and focusing on the task at hand. Once a scene is done, beyond worrying about my next scene I’m just trying to just live in the moment. Ultimately this is a dramatisation and we’re creating a programme." 

Jemma says, "I agree. With Maxine I was able to take off the make-up, the hair, the contact lenses at the end of the day so that helped. I also liked listening to music. I listened to a lot of  Paolo Nutini  filming this (the Scottish singer-songwriter) and I also made a playlist from 2003, the year of the case, so there was a lot of Gareth Gates ( the pop singer and first ever winner of Pop Idol)."

Who else is starring in Maxine?

Steve Edge as a journalist Brian Farmer hunting the big story in Maxine.

Steve Edge as a journalist Brian Farmer hunting the big story in Maxine. (Image credit: Bernard Walsh / Channel 5 Television)

In Maxine, Steve Edge is playing Press Association reporter Brian Farmer. He’s best known for playing Billy Dawson in ITV comedy Benidorm, plus The Reluctant Landlord and The Madame Blanc Mysteries. Them and Finding You actor Natalie Britton will star as tabloid journalist Jane Kerrigan while Kate O’Toole, Barry John Kinsella and The Vikings actor Laurence Foster also feature. 

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.