Martine McCutcheon

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Martine McCutcheon
Martine McCutcheon.jpg
McCutcheon promoting Activia in 2010
Martine Kimberley Sherrie Ponting

(1976-05-14) 14 May 1976 (age 42)
Hackney, London, UK
Nationality English
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1988–present
Jack McManus (m. 2012)
Musical career
Years active1992–2002, 2017–present
Labels Innocent, Virgin, Liberty, BMG

Martine Kimberley Sherrie McCutcheon (born Martine Kimberley Sherrie Ponting, 14 May 1976) is an English singer, television personality and actress. McCutcheon's first television role was the role of Mandy in the television show Bluebirds in 1989. She also had minor success as one third of the pop group Milan in the early 1990s, but it was her role as Tiffany Mitchell in the BBC's EastEnders that she is best known for, as well as her role in the 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually . For the former she won the 1997 National Television Award, while for the latter she received the 2004 Empire Award and the 2004 MTV Movie Award. She was written out of EastEnders at the end of 1998 and then embarked on a pop career, this time as a solo artist.

Bluebirds was a CBBC drama most notable for featuring Barbara Windsor and Martine McCutcheon. First broadcast on 5 October 1989, the show ran for six episodes.

Tiffany Mitchell

Tiffany Mitchell is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, played by Martine McCutcheon from 1995 until 1999. The character was created by the writer, Tony Jordan. She was introduced as a school friend of Bianca Jackson and became a prominent and popular character during her tenure due to a combustible relationship with the soap's landlord, Grant Mitchell. McCutcheon quit the role in 1998 in order to pursue a musical career. Producers made the controversial decision to kill the character off, an act that McCutcheon publicly criticised as she had hoped to return at some stage. A book released in 1998, documenting Tiffany's time in the soap, was a number one bestseller.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.


McCutcheon's debut studio album You Me & Us (1999) peaked at number two in the UK, was certified platinum and spawned the UK number one single "Perfect Moment" and two other top 10 hits. Her second studio album, Wishing (2000), was less successful, charting at number 25. However, it produced two top 10 singles and was certified gold. Her pop career stalled because of the poor reception of her third album, Musicality in 2002, which only reached number 55 in the UK and received silver certification. She has since appeared on various television programmes, in films and on stage in My Fair Lady , where her portrayal of Eliza Doolittle won her a Laurence Olivier Award in 2002. She released her autobiography Who Does She Think She Is? in 2000. In 2017, she returned to music with the album Lost and Found , which peaked at number 17 in the UK, becoming her highest-charting album since her debut.

<i>You Me & Us</i> 1999 studio album by Martine McCutcheon

You Me & Us is the debut album by English pop singer and actress Martine McCutcheon. Released in 1999, the album peaked at #2 in the UK Albums Chart.

<i>Wishing</i> (Martine McCutcheon album) 2000 studio album by Martine McCutcheon

Wishing is the second solo album by English actress-singer Martine McCutcheon. It was released in November 2000 and peaked at #25 in the UK Albums Chart.

<i>Musicality</i> (album) 2002 studio album by Martine McCutcheon

Musicality is the third solo album from English actress-singer Martine McCutcheon. The album features covers of songs from McCutcheon's favourite musicals, including Mamma Mia! and Les Misérables. Released in December 2002, Musicality was a commercial failure; it debuted and peaked only at #55 on the UK Albums Chart, spending just two weeks in the Top 100. It is McCutcheon's lowest-charting and lowest-selling album to date.

Early life

Martine Kimberley Sherrie Ponting [1] was born on 14 May 1976 at the Salvation Army Mothers' Hospital in the London Borough of Hackney [2] to Jenny Ponting and Thomas "Keith" Hemmings. [3] While in a relationship with Keith, Jenny experienced domestic violence, which continued for many years after their split. [4] After one of many incidents in which he attempted to kill both Jenny and Martine, he was arrested and later charged and remanded in custody for six months. [5] Jenny then met John McCutcheon, whom she later married. [6] [7] When Martine was nine, Keith contacted Jenny and asked for access to her. Jenny refused prompting him to seek sole custody of Martine through the courts. He eventually lost the case, was denied any access to Martine until she was 18, and told that he could not apply for it again due to his past behaviour. [7] Shortly after, her surname was changed to her stepfather's, McCutcheon. [8] When Martine was sixteen, her mother gave birth to her half-brother, Laurence "LJ". [9] Jenny and John eventually divorced, and she married Alan Tomlin in 2000. [10] [11]

The Salvation Army Protestant Christian movement and international charitable organization structured in a quasi-military fashion

The Salvation Army (TSA) is a Protestant Christian church and an international charitable organisation. The organisation reports a worldwide membership of over 1.7 million, consisting of soldiers, officers and adherents collectively known as Salvationists. Its founders sought to bring salvation to the poor, destitute, and hungry by meeting both their "physical and spiritual needs". It is present in 131 countries, running charity shops, operating shelters for the homeless and disaster relief and humanitarian aid to developing countries.

London Borough of Hackney Borough in United Kingdom

The London Borough of Hackney is a London Borough in Inner London, United Kingdom. The historical and administrative heart of Hackney is Mare Street, which lies 5 miles (8 km) north-east of Charing Cross. The borough is named after Hackney, its principal district.

McCutcheon attended a nursery school in Colchester, Essex, [12] and later the Shacklewell Infants' School in Hackney, where she performed in her first play Away in a Manger , before progressing to the Shacklewell Juniors' School at the age of six, where she appeared in more plays, including Noah's Ark. [13] At the age of five, she began to attend extra dance classes, and later enrolled in a dance school in Stoke Newington. [14] Shortly before her tenth birthday, she successfully auditioned for a place at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. [15] However, due to the changing policy of the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) she was no longer eligible for the grant she was supposed to receive for coming second in the audition, and with no financial support she was forced to withdraw. [16] Instead, she began to attend Italia Conti's Saturday lessons. [17] Later, the Reeves Foundation, a Church of England charity based in Moorgate, offered McCutchon a grant, and she was able to enrol at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. [18] She finished school with nine GCSEs. [19]

Colchester town in Essex, United Kingdom

Colchester is a historic market town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in the county of Essex. Colchester was the first Roman-founded city in Britain, and Colchester lays claim to be regarded as Britain's oldest recorded town. It was for a time the capital of Roman Britain, and is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.

Essex County of England

Essex is a county in the south-east of England, north-east of London. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south, and London to the south-west. The county town is Chelmsford, the only city in the county. For government statistical purposes Essex is placed in the East of England region.

Away in a Manger English Christmas carol composed by William J. Kirkpatrick in 1895

"Away in a Manger" is a Christmas carol first published in the late nineteenth century and used widely throughout the English-speaking world. In Britain, it is one of the most popular carols; a 1996 Gallup Poll ranked it joint second. Although it was long claimed to be the work of German religious reformer Martin Luther, the carol is now thought to be wholly American in origin.


Early career

At the age of 12, McCutcheon obtained her first acting role and was paid £350 to appear in an American television commercial for the drink Kool-Aid, which was followed by modelling assignments and bit parts in television shows. [20] She was given the part of Mandy in the television series Bluebirds (1989) alongside Barbara Windsor, and played Susan, Jane's sister (played by Denise van Outen), in the Anthony Newly directed production of Stop the World – I Want to Get Off , at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley, London, later transferred to the West End Lyric Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue. [21] This was followed by two guest appearances on the ITV police drama The Bill in 1991 and 1992. McCutcheon also appeared in the music video for the song "Caribbean Blue" by Irish singer Enya. By the time she was 15, she was part of an all-girl group, Milan, with two fellow pupils, and landed a record contract with Polydor and a gig touring as the warm-up act for the British boyband, East 17. Milan were reasonably successful. Three of their singles: "Is It Love You're After", "Affectionately Mine" and "Lead Me On", charted in the top ten of the dance charts, with the latter also making it to the top 100 of the UK Singles Chart. [22] However, they were not successful enough to make a living and disbanded. [23] [20]

Kool-Aid flavored drink mix

Kool-Aid is a brand of flavored drink mix owned by Kraft Foods. The powder form was created by Edwin Perkins in 1927 based upon a liquid concentrate called Fruit Smack.

Barbara Windsor actress

Dame Barbara Windsor, is an English actress, known for her appearances in the Carry On films and for playing Peggy Mitchell in the BBC One soap opera EastEnders. She joined the cast of EastEnders in 1994 and won the 1999 British Soap Award for Best Actress, before finally leaving the show in 2016.

Denise van Outen English actress, singer and television presenter

Denise van Outen is an English actress, singer, model, dancer and presenter. She presented The Big Breakfast, played Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago both in the West End and on Broadway and finished as runner-up in the tenth series of the BBC One dancing show Strictly Come Dancing.


In 1994, McCutcheon was offered the small part of Tiffany Raymond on the popular BBC soap opera EastEnders . The role of Tiffany grew as did McCutcheon's popularity and 22 million viewers tuned in to see her final scenes in Albert Square in 1998 when her character was killed off in a special episode screened on New Year's Eve. [24] In reality, McCutcheon had decided to leave the soap in order to embark on a pop career and the death of her character was not viewed favourably by the actress as she had intended to return. [25] Since leaving the show, McCutcheon has publicly slammed the BBC's "Controller of Continuing Drama Series", Mal Young, who made the decision to kill her character. She accused him of treating her unfairly and bringing her role in the soap to an end so irrevocably, merely as punishment for leaving. [20] In turn, Young has hit back at McCutcheon, saying her anger only arose because she wanted him to keep her role in EastEnders open as a "safety net", in case her pop career failed, and he was not prepared to do this. [20]

A soap opera is an ongoing drama serial on television or radio, featuring the lives of many characters and their emotional relationships. The term soap opera originated from radio dramas being sponsored by soap manufacturers.

<i>EastEnders</i> British soap opera

EastEnders is a British soap opera created by Julia Smith and Tony Holland which has been broadcast on BBC One since 1985. Set in Albert Square in the East End of London in the fictional Borough of Walford, the programme follows the stories of local residents and their families as they go about their daily lives. Initially there were two 30-minute episodes per week, later increasing to three, but since 2001 episodes have been broadcast every weekday apart from Wednesdays.

New Years Eve holiday celebrated on 31 December

In the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Eve, the last day of the year, is on 31 December. In many countries, New Year's Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year. Some Christians attend a watchnight service. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into New Year's Day, 1 January.

For her portrayal of the character she received the 1997 National Television Award for Most Popular Actress and the 1998 TV Quick Award for Best Actress. [26]

Pop career

McCutcheon's first appearance on the charts occurred in 1995 on a minor dance song "Are You Man Enough" with the dance producers Uno Clio. A promotional video was also produced. In 1999, she debuted as a solo pop artist with Virgin Records and scored a number one on the UK Singles Chart with the ballad "Perfect Moment" (originally recorded by Edyta Górniak in 1997). Also that year, she had two more top 10 entries, reaching number six with two singles: "I've Got You" and later with "Talking in Your Sleep", which featured the double A-side "Love Me", an album track that was re-recorded for the Children in Need appeal with all proceeds being donated to that cause. The three singles were taken from her debut album, You Me & Us , which peaked at number two on the UK Albums Chart and was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

In 2000, McCutcheon released her second album, Wishing , which was less successful, charting at number 25 in the UK. The album spawned two singles – the number two hit "I'm Over You" and the follow-up song, a cover of the Donna Summer classic "On the Radio" which peaked at number seven. Despite peaking at only number 25, the album still managed to sell around 250,000 copies, and received a gold certification from BPI. McCutcheon released her third album, Musicality , a Broadway-influenced cover album, in 2002. It reached number 55 in the UK and was certified silver by BPI, however her pop career stalled when her recording contract was cancelled due to poor sales. [20] Her two-CD best-of-album called The Collection was released in September 2012. [27]

McCutcheon returned to music in 2017 with her fourth studio album, Lost and Found , released in August by BMG. Its lead single, "Say I'm Not Alone" was released on 30 May 2017. [28] The album peaked at number 17 in the UK, becoming McCutcheon's highest-charting album since the release of You Me & Us. [29]

Film, stage and television

McCutcheon appears in pantomimes regularly. [30] She appeared in ITV's The Knock as well as the British film Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang) in 2000. She went on to play Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady at the National Theatre in London. Despite missing many performances (citing health problems) and withdrawing nearly five months early from the production's transfer to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, [31] she won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical at the 2002 ceremony.

In 2002, McCutcheon presented the National Music Awards for ITV1 and in 2003 she featured in her only major film role. She appeared as tea-lady Natalie in the Richard Curtis romantic comedy Love Actually , where the British Prime Minister (played by Hugh Grant) falls in love with McCutcheon's character. The film received good reviews and was a box office success. McCutcheon went to America in the wake of the film's success, but a Hollywood career did not materialise. However, she did win the MTV Movie Award for Best Trans-Atlantic Breakthrough Performer. She also won the Empire Award for Best Newcomer at the 9th Empire Awards.

In September 2005, she appeared in two episodes of BBC drama series Spooks . Screened on the UK television network ITV1 in December 2005, McCutcheon appeared in The English Harem, playing a woman in love with a Muslim man (Art Malik), who marries him, despite knowing he already has two wives. That same year she presented and performed on ITV's entertainment programme, Moviemusic Mania. In 2007, McCutcheon was seen in two independent films, Withdrawal and Jump! , as well as the Agatha Christie's Marple television series episode "At Bertram's Hotel". She was also a judge for the second series of ITV1's Soapstar Superstar . Her appearance on the show drew criticism, with reports alleging that she was becoming a hate figure for the contestants, who were said to have found her comments relentlessly critical and at times patronising. [32] She performed in an Art Plus fundraising event at the Whitechapel Art Gallery opposite Natalie Press, Samantha Morton and Rhys Ifans, and in January 2008 she featured in the ITV soap Echo Beach as the character Susan Penwarden. [33]

In September 2016, McCutcheon was announced as a regular panellist on the ITV daytime show Loose Women , after making a few guest appearances on the show earlier in the year. [34] She left the show in 2017 after one season.

Other work

McCutcheon released her autobiography, Who Does She Think She Is? in 2000, and in 2003 Martine McCutcheon: Behind the Scenes – A Personal Diary, was published by HarperCollins. McCutcheon was one of many celebrities who featured in a 2004 promotional film for London's successful bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. A fitness DVD, Martine McCutcheon: Dance Body, was released in December 2005.

In 2006, the supermarket chain Tesco announced that they would be using McCutcheon in a series of adverts to promote a new green scheme for recycling used plastic carrier bags. [35] In 2009, her first novel, The Mistress, was published by Pan MacMillan. [36] From 2010 until 2011, she was the face on Danone's UK advertising campaign for its Activia yogurt brand. [37]

Personal life

McCutcheon was engaged to DJ Gareth Cooke, but broke off the relationship in 1996. [38] She was also in a relationship with Jonathan Barnham, [39] with whom she became pregnant in 1999, but did not carry the child to full term. [40] McCutcheon married singer Jack McManus at Lake Como in September 2012. [41] The couple had been dating since 2009. [42] On 4 February 2015, she gave birth to a son, Rafferty Jack McManus. [43]

In 2013, she was declared bankrupt by the Kingston upon Thames County Court with creditors including HM Revenue and Customs. [44] In July 2014, she was awarded an Honorary Degree by the University of Bolton for her services to entertainment. [45]


1999Martine McCutcheon: This Is My MomentHerself Documentary television film
2001 Kiss Kiss (Bang Bang) Mia
2002MartineHerself Television film
2003 Love Actually Natalie 2004 Empire Award for Best Newcomer
2004 MTV Movie Award for Best Trans-Atlantic Breakthrough Performer
2005The English HaremTracy PringleTelevision film
2006WithdrawalBonnie Short film
2008 Jump! Liuba Halsman
2013The Home OfficeJaneTelevision film
2017 Red Nose Day Actually NatalieShort television film
2018 The Bromley Boys Gertie Roberts
1989 Bluebirds Mandy6 episodes
1991 The Bill Paper GirlsSeason 7, Episode 53 "Skeletons"
1992Amanda JonesSeason 8, Episode 57 "A Scandalous Act"
1995–1998 EastEnders Tiffany Mitchell 364 episodes
1997 National Television Award for Most Popular Actress
1998 TV Quick Award for Best Actress [26]
Nominated—1999 British Soap Award for Best Exit
2000 The Knock Jenny FosterSeason 5, Episode 2
2005 Spooks Tash Season 4, 2 episodes (uncredited)
2007 Agatha Christie's Marple Jane Cooper Season 3, Episode 1 "At Bertram's Hotel"
Soapstar Superstar Herself/JudgeSeries 2
2008 Echo Beach Susan PenwardenSeason 1, 12 episodes
Moving Wallpaper HerselfSeason 1, 4 episodes (uncredited)
Moving Wallpaper: The MoleHerself Miniseries, Season 1, 2 episodes (uncredited)
2012 Let's Get Gold Herself/Judge
2013 Midsomer Murders Debbie Moffett Season 15, Episode 6 "Schooled in Murder"
2016–2017 Loose Women Herself/PanellistSeries 21
2005Martine McCutcheon: Dance BodyHerselfFitness DVD


Studio albums

TitleDetailsPeak chart positions Certifications
You Me & Us 2
  • Released: 13 November 2000
  • Label: Innocent, Virgin
  • Formats: CD, digital download
  • Released: 2 December 2002
  • Label: Liberty
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Lost and Found
  • Released: 11 August 2017
  • Label: BMG
  • Formats: CD, digital download

Compilation albums

The Collection [27]
  • Released: 18 September 2012
  • Label: Music Club Deluxe
  • Formats: CD, digital download


As lead artist

TitleYearPeak chart positionsCertificationsAlbum
"Perfect Moment"199911003You Me & Us
"I've Got You"617
"Talking in Your Sleep"/"Love Me"626
"I'm Over You"2000223Wishing
"On the Radio"2001718
"Say I'm Not Alone"2017Lost and Found
"Any Sign of Life"
"Maybe I Should Run"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.
TitleYearPeak chart positionsAlbum
"Are You Man Enough"
(Uno Clio featuring Martine McCutcheon)
199562Non-album single

Other appearances

"Mamma Mia"1999 ABBAmania
"I Could Have Danced All Night"2001My Fair Lady (2001 London Cast Recording)

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