Anna Maxwell Martin

Anna Maxwell Martin (born Anna Charlotte Martin; 10 May 1977),[1] sometimes credited as Anna Maxwell-Martin, is an English actress who has played Lyra Belacqua in His Dark Materials at the Royal National Theatre, Esther Summerson in the BBC's 2005 adaptation of Bleak House, and "N" in Channel 4's 2008 adaptation of Poppy Shakespeare.

Anna Maxwell Martin
Anna Charlotte Martin

(1977-05-10) 10 May 1977
Years active2001–present
Spouse(s)Roger Michell
(m. 20??)

Early life and education

Anna Charlotte Martin was born in Beverley on 10 May 1977 to Rosalind (née Lugassy) and Ivan Martin. Her father was managing director of a pharmaceutical company and her mother was a research scientist. Her mother gave up her job to bring up Anna and her elder brother Adam. She attended Beverley High School where she appeared in school plays. After she left school, Martin studied history at Liverpool University, specialising in the First World War.

She joined the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) after completing her studies at Liverpool. She added the name Maxwell (her grandfather's name)[2] to her surname to distinguish her from another member with the same name when she joined Equity.


Martin first came to prominence on the London stage playing the leading role of Lyra in the National Theatre's production of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. She was then cast in the part of Bessie Higgins in the BBC television adaptation of the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, North and South, in 2004, and made a guest appearance in the 2005 series of Doctor Who. She played Esther Summerson, the central character in the 2005 BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House, for which she won the Best Actress BAFTA Television Award in 2006.[3]

In January 2006, Martin took part in a reading of The Entertainer at the Royal Court Theatre, and in February and March she appeared in Laura Wade's Other Hands, directed by Bijan Sheibani at the Soho Theatre. She is the narrator of the CD version of The Foreshadowing, a children's book about the First World War by Marcus Sedgwick, which was published in May 2006. In the same year she worked on I Really Hate My Job, directed by Oliver Parker and, from October 2006 to April 2007, played Sally Bowles in Bill Kenwright and Rufus Norris's West End production of Cabaret at the Lyric Theatre.

She played Cassandra Austen in Becoming Jane, a 2007 film about the early life of the novelist Jane Austen starring American actress Anne Hathaway in the title role. At the end of the year she played the gaoler's daughter in Lee Hall's adaptation of The Wind in the Willows, a multimillion-pound production by Box TV for BBC One, and was the joint narrator (with Anton Lesser) of the CD version of Tamar, a children's book about the Second World War by Mal Peet, which was published in December 2007.[4]

In 2008 she starred in the BBC Two drama White Girl and with Naomie Harris in Channel 4's adaptation of Poppy Shakespeare, for which she won her second Best Actress BAFTA Television Award in 2009.[5]

From July to October of that year, she appeared with Dame Eileen Atkins in The Female of the Species at the Vaudeville Theatre in London. She also appeared in a BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel Crooked House. In July 2009 she appeared in the BBC Two drama Freefall, and played Neil Armstrong's wife, Janet, in Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, an ITV1 drama documentary to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.[4]

In February 2010 she played freedom of information campaigner Heather Brooke in On Expenses, a BBC Four satirical drama, and later played Isabella in Shakespeare's Measure For Measure at the Almeida Theatre.[6]

In February 2011, she played Sarah Burton in a three-part BBC adaptation of Winifred Holtby's novel, South Riding.[7] On 12 July 2011, she played Kay Langrish in a BBC Two dramatisation of The Night Watch.[8][9] Beginning in September 2012, she starred in the drama mini-series The Bletchley Circle (2012–2014). On 4 September 2012, she appeared in Jimmy McGovern's Accused.

In December 2013 she returned to the world of Jane Austen, starring as Elizabeth Darcy in the BBC Christmas season drama Death Comes to Pemberley, a three-part television adaptation of the P. D. James novel of the same name which continues the events of Austen's Pride and Prejudice six years after Darcy and Elizabeth's marriage, with a murder mystery plot involving the same characters.[4]

In March 2015 she played Mary Shelley in the ITV drama series, The Frankenstein Chronicles.[10]

In 2019 she played Beelzebub, one of the denizens of Hell, in the Amazon Prime TV show Good Omens, based on the book of the same name.


Year Film Role Notes
2002 Midsomer Murders Arabella Heywood TV series (1 episode: "Murder on St. Malley's Day")
Eddie Loves Mary Interviewee Short
2004 Enduring Love Penny Film
North & South Bessie Higgins TV mini-series
2005 Doctor Who Suki Macrae Cantrell TV series (1 episode: "The Long Game")
Bleak House Esther Summerson BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress
2006 The Other Man Christine Short
The Wind in the Willows Gaoler's Daughter TV film
2007 I Really Hate My Job Madonna Film
Becoming Jane Cassandra Austen Film
2008 White Girl Debbie TV film
Poppy Shakespeare N BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress
2009 Free Agents Sophie TV series (3 episodes)
Freefall Mandy Potter TV film
Moonshot Janet Armstrong TV film
2010 On Expenses Heather Brooke TV film
2011 South Riding Sarah Burton Nominated – BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress
CBeebies Bedtime Stories Herself TV series (5 episodes)
The Night Watch Kay Langrish TV film
2012 Accused Tina Dhakin TV series (1 episode: "Tina's Story")
2012–2014 The Bletchley Circle Susan Gray TV series (5 episodes)
2013 Death Comes to Pemberley Elizabeth Darcy TV mini-series
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa ACC Janet Whitehead Film
Philomena Jane Film
2014 The Life of Rock with Brian Pern Jess Hunt TV mini-series
2015 And Then There Were None Ethel Rogers TV 3 part mini-series
Midwinter of the Spirit Reverend Merrily Watkins TV 3 part mini-series
The Frankenstein Chronicles Mary Shelley TV series (4 episodes)
2016 Reg Sally Keys TV film[11]
Chubby Funny Sally Film
Motherland Julia TV pilot
2017 Tracey Ullman's Show Herself TV series (1 episode)
Motherland Julia Nominated – BAFTA TV Award for Best Female Comedy Performance
2018 Urban Myths Agatha Christie TV series (1 episode: "Agatha Christie")
Mother's Day Wendy Parry TV film
2019 Good Omens Beelzebub TV series
Ilkley DCI Brough Post-production
Line of Duty DCS Patricia Carmichael TV series (series 5: episodes 5 & 6)
The Personal History of David Copperfield Film


  • The Tall One as Samantha (BBC Radio 4, 1 to 5 September 2003)
  • The Raj Quartet as Daphne Manners (BBC Radio 4, 10 April to 5 June 2005)
  • The Ante Natal Clinic as Ros (BBC Radio 4, 19 January 2006)
  • The Sea as Rose (BBC Radio 4, 15 April 2006)
  • Great Expectations as Estella (BBC Radio 4, 6 and 13 August 2006)
  • The Invention of Childhood as one of several readers (BBC Radio 4, 25 September to 3 November 2006)
  • Berlin – Soundz Decadent as herself (BBC Radio 2, 2 January 2007)
  • Crooked House as Sophia Leonides (BBC Radio 4, 8 to 29 February 2008)
  • Words and Music: The Soft Machine as one of two poetry readers (BBC Radio 3, 1 June 2008)
  • The Portrait of a Lady as Isabel Archer (BBC Radio 4, 13 to 27 July 2008)
  • Villette as Lucy Snowe (BBC Radio 4, 3 to 7 and 10 to 14 August 2009)
  • Au Pairs as Dorika (BBC Radio 4, 7 to 11 September 2009)
  • Chekhov's Seven and a Half Years as Olga in Three Sisters (BBC Radio 3, 24 January 2010)
  • The New Radio 2 Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman as herself (BBC Radio 2, 15 March 2010)
  • Words and Music: Malady as one of two readers (BBC Radio 3, 11 April 2010)
  • The Wings of the Dove as Milly Theale (BBC Radio 4, 1, 8 and 15 August 2010)
  • The White Devil as Vittoria (BBC Radio 3, 15 August 2010)
  • Faust as Gretchen (BBC Radio 3, 19 September 2010)
  • Juvenile Jane as the extract reader (BBC Radio 4, 23 November 2010)


  • The Little Foxes as Alexandra at the Donmar (4 October 2001 to 24 November 2001)
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as Lucy for the RSC at the Sadler's Wells Theatre (6 December 2001 to 26 January 2002)
  • The Coast of Utopia as Alexandra, Maria and Tata at the Royal National Theatre (27 June 2002 to 23 November 2002)
  • The Lady of Larkspur Lotion (rehearsed reading) as Mrs Hardwicke-Moore at the National Theatre (21 October 2002)
  • Hello from Bertha (rehearsed reading) as Goldie at the National Theatre (22 October 2002)
  • Collateral Damage II (poetry) at the National Theatre (14 March 2003)
  • Honour as Sophie at the Royal National Theatre (21 February 2003 to 13 May 2003)
  • Three Sisters as Irina at the Royal National Theatre (2 August 2003 to 18 October 2003)
  • His Dark Materials as Lyra at the Royal National Theatre (8 December 2003 to 27 March 2004)
  • Songs of Innocence and Experience (poetry) at the National Theatre (18 February 2004)
  • The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (poetry) at the National Theatre (25 February 2004)
  • Will and Lyra as herself (interview) at the National Theatre (26 March 2004)
  • Dumb Show as Liz at the Royal Court Theatre (2 September to 16 October 2004)
  • After the Fire (rehearsed reading) at the National Theatre (7 March 2005)
  • The Black Glove (rehearsed reading) at the National Theatre (15 March 2005)
  • Snowbound (showcase) at the Royal National Theatre Studio (October 2005)
  • The Entertainer (rehearsed reading) as Jean at the Royal Court Theatre (16 January 2006)
  • Other Hands as Hayley at the Soho Theatre (15 February to 11 March 2006)
  • Cabaret as Sally Bowles at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue (23 September 2006 to 31 March 2007)
  • The Female of the Species as Molly Rivers at the Vaudeville Theatre (10 July 2008 to 4 October 2008)
  • Top Girls (reading) as Pope Joan at the Royal Court Theatre (19 September 2008)
  • Pencil (10-minute play in the 24 Hour Plays Celebrity Gala) at the Old Vic (1 November 2009)
  • Measure for Measure as Isabella at the Almeida Theatre (12 February to 10 April 2010)
  • King Lear as Regan at the National Theatre (1 May to 2 July 2014)
  • Consent at the National Theatre (2017)


  • Peet, Mal & Lesser, Anton (Narrator) & Martin, Anna Maxwell (Narrator) (December 2007). Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal. Walker Books Ltd.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  • Sedgwick, Marcus & Martin, Anna Maxwell (Narrator) (May 2006). The Foreshadowing. Orion Publishing Group Limited.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)


Personal life

Martin is married to South African film director Roger Michell; the couple have two children, Maggie and Nancy.[12]


  1. Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1984–2006 listed birth name as Anna Charlotte Martin; Registration year 1977; Registration District Beverley, Yorkshire
  2. "Thoroughly modest Martin". Daily Mail. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  3. "Bafta TV Awards 2006: The winners". BBC News. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  4. Anna Maxwell Martin on IMDb
  5. "Bafta TV Awards 2009: The winners". BBC News. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  6. Baz Bamigboye. "Gemma Arterton takes her bow". Daily Mail. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  7. ""South Riding" (2011)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  8. "The Night Watch filming in Bath". This is Bath. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  9. Staff. "Stellar Cast Announced for BBC Two's The Night Watch". Vadvert. Archived from the original on 15 March 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  10. Staff. "More Details Revealed for TV Series The Frankenstein Chronicles". DC. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  11. "BBC One: Reg". BBC. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  12. "BBC Radio 4 – Front Row, Anna Maxwell Martin; Sondheim's Road Show". BBC. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2015.

Further reading

Sophie Heawood (26 August 2018), "Interview—Anna Maxwell Martin", The Observer.

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