Over the past three months, Maxine Peake has filmed a monologue for BBC One’s new version of Alan Bennett’s ‘Talking Heads’ and made a short film for domestic abuse charity Refuge. She also has a new movie streaming this week: seventeenth-century folk-horror ‘Fanny Lye Deliver’d’. Is she making us feel guilty with all this lockdown productivity? A little bit, yes. Happily, she has been joining the lockdown binge-athon too. We asked her to share some of the things on her cultural playlist.
Movies to catch up on
‘I watched “Ran” on Mubi, and Talking Pictures TV has been my addiction: it’s got all the old films and documentaries. I've rediscovered what a brilliant actor Jack Wild was: he was the Artful Dodger in [the 1968 musical] “Oliver” I’ve watched him in “The 14” and “Melody”, which is about school and being rebellious as kids and growing up. Diana Dors was very underrated too. She was seen as a glamourpuss but I think she's brilliant. I’ve watched “Passport to Shame” and “Yield to the Night’
Feelgood comedies to revisit
‘I love “The Goonies”. When I was that age, I always wished I could have a pirate ship too. That and “The Big Lebowski” are the two films that I’ll always watch if I need a laugh. What do I quote from “Lebowski”? “I hate the f**kin’ Eagles, man!”’
‘You can keep your Fleabags, Kerry Mucklowe is the woman for me’
Streaming series to catch up on
‘I got through the first week of lockdown by watching “This Country”. It’s funny but it’s beautiful, and all the characters are great. There are moments that remind me of when I was younger, like when [Daisy May Cooper’s character] Kerry Mucklowe is asked if she wants a scone or biscuits and she says: “Both!” I thought: Oh my God, that’s me! I used to eat my way through life as a teenager. You can keep your Fleabags, Kerry Mucklowe is the woman for me.’
Instagrammers to follow
‘I’m a bit of a Daisy May Cooper fangirl. Her TikTok videos are very, very funny. Jarvis Cocker’s Saturday night home discos have been great, too. He DJs in his living room.’
Uplifting movie soundtrack
‘I love [the soundtrack to 1970 Czech horror film] “Valerie and Her Week of Wonders”. I host a little film club on Instagram and we did that film and [Czech surrealist classic] “Daisies”. I spoke to Andy Votel, the head of Finders Keepers, this brilliant record label in Manchester, and he’s an absolute connoisseur on that period of the Czech new wave. Those two films are bonkers – I love them.’
Favourite book about the movies
‘I love the ’60s period [in British cinema], and all those actors who came out of the Royal Court. I’ve been reading Rachel Roberts’s diaries, “No Bells on Sunday”, and about other actresses, like Mary Ure. There were all these amazing actresses who were in relationships with people like Robert Shaw and John Osborne and Rex Harrison: the men were very successful and [the women] had tragic demises. It felt like the patriarchy, which is still a massive issue. I’ve also just purchased myself a second-hand copy of “All the Bright Young Men and Women” about the Czech new wave.’
Most missed thing about going to the cinema
‘Leaving the house to go and see a film makes it more of an event. I really miss that, but mainly I miss the size of the screen: films are made for a big screen and it will always be the best way to view them. My local is Home in Manchester, which is overseen by the brilliant Jason Wood and has great programming and good pizzas.’
Issue that’s been important to me during lockdown
‘I made a short film for [domestic abuse charity] Refuge, which is about helping people recognise when they’re in a situation that isn't right. A friend of mine was in a relationship that wasn’t great and she said it took a stranger to say to her: “I've seen you and your partner on the street and I want to tell you that I think you’re in an abusive relationship.” She fell to her knees in the street and said, “Oh my God, I am.” Lockdown is such a difficult time, but it’s important for people to know that there is help available and a way out.’
Maxine Peake stars in ‘Fanny Lye Deliver’d’, which is available to stream from Fri Jun 26, and BBC One’s ‘Talking Heads’, which starts on Tue Jun 23. Head to the Refuge website for more information on domestic abuse and how to support women and children escaping abusive relationships.
Looking for more cultural discoveries? Check out Martin Freeman, Gemma Arterton, Jim Sturgess, Gael García Bernal and Kristin Scott Thomas’s streaming picks.
Or check out our mega list of the best things to do at home.