Singer and actress who became a household name for her role as Tiffany Mitchell in Eastenders.
At the age of 12, Martine 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 TV shows such as in the ITV police drama The Bill.
By the time she was 15, she had formed an all-girl group, Milan, with two fellow pupils and landed a record contract and a gig touring as the warm-up act for the British boyband, East 17. Milan were reasonably successful, and entered the dance charts on three occasions.
In 1994, while working as a shopgirl at Knickerbox, Martine was offered the role of Tiffany Raymond on EastEnders. She took inspiration and advice from her mother on how to play the part and the role of Tiffany grew, as did McCutcheon’s popularity with 22 million viewers tuning in to see her final scenes in Albert Square in 1998.
In 1999, Martine debuted as a solo pop artist with Virgin Records, scoring a No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart with the ballad “Perfect Moment”.
That same year she scored two more Top 10 hits, reaching No. 6 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.
All three singles were taken from her debut album, You Me & Us, which peaked at No. 2 in the UK Albums Chart and was certified platinum.
McCutcheon 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. she won 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 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. She did however, win MTV Movie Award for Best Trans-Atlantic Breakthrough Performer.
In August 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.