Maxine Peake has admitted that she often feels like “a mug” for pursuing a career in acting.
The screen and stage star, 45, said she sometimes regrets not going into comedy, like her childhood friend – Top Gear presenter Paddy McGuinness.
Peake, best known as Twinkle in Dinnerladies and Veronica Ball in Shameless, lamented the lack of “control” a life of acting had meant.
The Bolton native said she felt like she was “at the mercy” of the roles that were offered to her.
Writing in The Big Issue’s Letter To My Younger Self, she said: “I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I’m not that good at accents, what was I thinking? It sounds weird, but sometimes you know your destiny.
“And that is why I stuck at Salford Tech. I knew if I didn’t follow this path, I would not get what was meant for me.
“I sort of knew I would have a career – I just didn’t know what the career would be. My younger self would be surprised that I haven’t been typecast as I expected to be.”
Peake, who is starring in The Welkin at the National Theatre until May 23, said that friends and family had expected her to pursue comedy.
The Black Mirror star added: “Everyone told me I would do comedy – the big, funny girl. And that was fine by me. Victoria Wood and Julie Walters were massive influences.
“Then my first job out of drama school was Dinnerladies, with Victoria, who is one of the best writers this country has ever produced…I wonder why I didn’t make more of an effort with Victoria.
“But I was so overwhelmed and socially awkward. I was in awe of her. I am still not good at absorbing things when they happen. It is only when I look back that I take it all in.
“… At Christmas, when I watch Morecambe and Wise, I get a real pang: why didn’t I stick with comedy? I would have had more control.
“As an actor, you are at the mercy of roles that come along. Sometimes I think I’m a bit of a mug still doing this.”
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