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Martine McCutcheon (born Martine Kimberley Sherrie Ponting; 14 May 1976) is an Englishmarker singer, television personality and Laurence Olivier Award-winning actress. McCutcheon had minor success as one third of the pop group Milan in the early 1990s; however, it was her role as Tiffany Mitchell in BBC's EastEnders that made her a household name in the UK in 1995. McCutcheon quit the serial at the end of 1998 to embark on a pop career, this time as a solo artist. She had international success, reaching #1 in 5 countries with her debut single "Perfect Moment". She released three albums to varying degrees of success, but her pop career stalled due to the poor reception of her third album in 2002. She has since appeared in various television programmes, in films such as Love Actually as 'Natalie', 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.

Early life

McCutcheon was born at the Salvation Army Mothers Hospital in Hackneymarker, Londonmarker, when her mother, Jenny Tomlin, was 20. She endured a turbulent early childhood due to the abusive and irrational behaviour of her drug addict father, Thomas Hemmings. Her earliest memory of her father is him dangling her over a balcony by her ankles, 30 feet up in the air, threatening to drop her unless her mother did what he wanted. Despite Hemmings leaving when McCutcheon was 2 years old, he would return periodically to threaten her mother so her early years were spent running and hiding in order to escape him. When McCutcheon was nine, her mother won sole custody and an injunction was made against Hemmings seeing McCutcheon until she was 18.

When McCutcheon was 10, her mother met and married window cleaner John McCutcheon (the father of Martine's younger brother) which led to Martine taking her stepfather's surname. She knew she wanted to be a performer from a young age but, as her family couldn't afford the fees for a drama school, she had to find an alternative method to learn her trade. McCutcheon met a woman at a local dance class who had been to the Italia Conti stage school, and she suggested that the school would be a good environment for her. After a persuasive letter from McCutcheon, a Church of England trust agreed to sponsor her. She trained after school and every Saturday (learning tap, ballet, jazz, and drama) in order to catch up with the more privileged children who were competing with her for a place at the prestigious school. While at the Italia Conti Academy, she kissed Russell Brand as revealed in Russell Brand's My Booky Wook(pg 118).


Early career

At the age of 12 McCutcheon obtained her first acting role and was paid £350 to appear in an Americanmarker television commercial for the drink, Kool-Aid, which was followed by modelling assignments and bit parts in TV shows such as in the ITV police drama The Bill. She also appeared in the music video for the song "Caribbean Blue" by Irish singer Enya. By the time she was 15, she had formed an all-girl band, 'Milan', with two fellow students and landed a record contract and a gig touring as the 'warm up' group for the British Boyband, East 17. Milan were reasonably successful. They entered the dance charts three times but were not successful enough for McCutcheon who didn't like playing in seedy clubs and ended up leaving the group.

Mainstream success; EastEnders

In 1994, while working as a shopgirl at Knickerbox, 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 in a special episode screened on New Years Eve. In reality, McCutcheon had decided to quit the soap in order to embark on a pop career and the death of her character was not viewed favourably by the actress. 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 quitting. 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. McCutcheon has subsequently written an autobiography entitled Who Does She Think She Is?: My Autobiography, which depicts Young less than favorably.

Pop career

In 1999, McCutcheon unleashed herself as a new solo pop-artist with Virgin Records, surprising critics and doubters alike by scoring a number 1 in the UK Singles Chart with the ballad "Perfect Moment" (originally recorded by Edyta Górniak in 1997). The song was a global success reaching number 1 not only in the UKmarker, but in Israelmarker, Italymarker, Switzerlandmarker and Irelandmarker. That same year she scored two more Top 10 hits, reaching number 6 with the singles "I've Got You" and later "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. All three singles were taken from her debut album You, Me and Us, which peaked at number 2 in the UK Albums Chart and was certified as double platinum.

In 2000 McCutcheon released her second album Wishing, which was less successful, charting at number 25 in the UK Albums Chart. The album spawned two singles - the number 2 hit "I'm Over You" and her follow up song "On The Radio". Despite only peaking at #25 the album still managed to sell around 250,000 copies. McCutcheon released her third album Musicality, a Broadwaymarker influenced cover album, in 2002. It reached number 55 in the albums charts, however her pop career stalled when due to poor sales her recording contract was cancelled.

Film, stage and television

McCutcheon appeared in ITV's The Knock as well as the British film Kiss Kiss in 2000. She went on to play Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady in London's West End. Despite being plagued by health problems during her run, she won the award for best actress in a musical at the 2002 Laurence Olivier Awards.

In 2002, McCutcheon presented the National music awards for ITV1 and in 2003 she featured in her first 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 Hollywoodmarker career did not materialize. She did however, win Best Trans-atlantic breakthrough at the 2004 MTV Movie Awards.

In September 2005 she appeared in two episodes of hit BBC drama series Spooks, playing a waitress who witnesses a terrorist bombing. Screened on the UK television station 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 opposite Patrick Swayze and Jump!, as well Marple episode At Bertram's Hotel, where she plays a maid named Jane Cooper that assists Miss Marple with her investigations. She was also a judge in 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. McCutcheon performed in an Art Plus fundraising event at the Whitechapel Art Gallerymarker opposite Natalie Press, Samantha Morton and Rhys Ifans and in January 2008 she starred alongside actor Jason Donovan, in the new ITV show Echo Beach.

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 Harper Collins. McCutcheon, along with many global stars, also featured in a promotional film for London's successful bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics, in 2004. A fitness DVD, Martine McCutcheon: Dance body workout, was released in December 2005, and in August 2006, the supermarket chain, Tescomarker, announced that they would be using McCutcheon in a series of adverts to promote a new green scheme for recycling used plastic carrier bags. In 2006, she became "the face" of the washing powder brand, Lenor.2009:Martine has had her first novel, 'The Mistress' published by Pan MacMillan.

Personal life

McCutcheon's love life has been widely documented in the British media. She was engaged to DJ Gareth Cooke but broke off the relationship in 1996. He then sold salacious stories of their sex life to the press. Following this, McCutcheon began dating her friend Jonathan Barnham but that relationship soured with a reported miscarriage and the revelation Barnham had attended sex parties behind her back. McCutcheon also had to pay £75,000 in bail for him when he and his father were charged with importing cannabis into the UK. McCutcheon ended the relationship in 2001 after allegedly uncovering a string of his affairs; she withdrew the bail surety.




You Me & Us
  • Released: 1999
  • Chart positions: #2 UK
  • UK certification: Double Platinum
  • UK sales: 660.000
  • Worldwide sales: 800.000
  • Released: 2000
  • Chart positions: #25 UK
  • UK certification: Gold
  • UK sales: 255.000
  • Worldwide sales: 300.000
  • Released: 2002
  • Chart positions: #55 UK
  • UK certification: Silver
  • UK sales: 50.000
  • Worldwide sales: 60.000


Year Single Album Chart positions UK Certification
UK Singles Chart IRE CH ITA IL
1999 "Perfect Moment" You Me & Us 1 1 1 1 1 Platinum
"I've Got You" 6 12
"Talking in Your Sleep"/"Love Me" 6 10 Silver
2000 "I'm Over You" Wishing 2 8
2001 "On the Radio" 7 19

Other songs


  1. Who Does She Think She Is? ISBN 9780099415985
  2. " It's got to be perfect", The Guardian. URL last accessed on 2007-01-13.
  3. " Martine McCutcheon", Hello!. URL last accessed on 2007-01-13.
  4. " Martine McCutcheon: By George she's got it", BBC. URL last accessed on 2007-01-13.
  5. " Martine a "hate figure" for soap singers", Digital Spy. URL last accessed on 2007-01-17.
  6. 'Echo Beach' and 'Moving Wallpaper' lineup revealed
  7. " Martine in Tesco advert", Tesco. URL last accessed on 2007-01-13.
  8. The Mistress", Pan Macmillan
  9. " MARTINE MCCUTCHEON ON WHY SHE'S NOT GIVEN UP ON ROMANCE", The People. URL last accessed on 2007-01-13.
  10. " Unlucky in love, actually", The Mirror. URL last accessed on 2007-01-13.
  11. " MARTINE WITHDRAWS 75,000 BAIL BOND FOR LOVE-CHEAT EX", The Sunday Mirror. URL last accessed on 2007-01-13.

External links

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