* Prices may differ from that shown
I read this book about ten years ago when I wasn't much of a reader and was looking for a biography to read on my long commutes to work. I chose this book because I have watched EastEnders on television for years and it was a bargain price.
Although, as a non-reader, the book kept my vague interest to the end, I did get irritated by the constant name dropping. Even worse, I cringed every time she claimed she was "firm friends" with a famous face after just one meeting. And now, years later, these are the only things that stick in my mind about the book!
True, she was young when she wrote the book, and that possibly explains a lot of the "look at me" message that comes across. Her early life was probably the most interesting bit of the book, but then it went downhill after she started EastEnders, when nothing much really happened except she met a lot of famous people.
I am giving this book 2 stars because I did manage to read the whole book which was quite an achievement for me back then.
I picked up Martine McCutcheon?s biography at one of those cheap bookshop places, at the discount village outlets at Gretna Green, about two weeks ago. I had always liked her character in Eastenders, and I recall when the book was first released, that she had had quite a tough upbringing. I got my copy of the book for £4.99, in hardback, so quite the bargain. I am not sure if that has been the effect of poor sales or what! According to the inside cover, the book retails at £16.99, although I am sure if you look around, you can pick it up for less than that. The book is 314 pages in length and charts Martine?s life from the time she was born, until about the turn of the millennium, i.e. past the time she was in Eastenders, and up to the show she took part in, in London, when she was reported as being quite sick. Martine was born on 14 May 1976, in a Salvation Army Hospital in Clapton, in the East end of London. Happy Birthday Martine, still only 26! She was about three weeks overdue into this world. Her Mother, Jenny, was also born in London, within the sound of the Bow Bells, in 1956, and so she was quite young herself. Her Mum worked for Alfred Marks recruitment bureau, and she had initially met Martine?s dad when she was 13, and again when she was about 17 years of age. Martine?s started off in not very grandiose environment, and became quite sick as a baby, due to the accommodation that they were living in at the time. Following her hospital stay, she got her first acting break, at a very tender age, on the Labour Campaign! By the time she was a few months old, they had managed to get a flat which did not even have running water. Friends and relatives donated furniture and baby goods. Her father was a possessive individual and violent and Martine and her mother had to flee from him first to Devon, and then to Colchester, moving back to Hackney in 1981. Martine as close to her Mum, as she shares w
ith the reader throughout the book; and despite their hard times, they were able to do fun things during her childhood. Singing and acting were important even back then. Martine?s stepfather John McCutcheon came on the scene around the time she was eight or nine years old. He married her Mother and there was a custody battle, however the judge ruled that Martine did not have to see her real dad again. Martine won a scholarship to Italia Conti School where she completed her entire secondary school education. She got plenty of acting parts during this time, including a part in the Bill by the time she was fifteen. She was receiving more parts than she could legally take part in, due to the nature of the laws protecting children. By the time she was sixteen and seventeen, she was part of the band Milan, however their success was short-lived. This was an exhausting schedule, playing in backstreet pubs and clubs, for very little money. The book is full of glossy colour photographs of Martine throughout her childhood and in her early twenties. She also talks about her first love, who she was engaged too. Unfortunately after they split up due to pressure of her job (Eastenders) he betrayed her to the media. Martine presents herself as a shy individual, who got into boys quite late on, and she also rarely drank a great deal. She found this betrayal very difficult to deal with, and went through a period of depression as a result. She landed her part in Eastenders in 1995, and the book describes how her career launched from an unknown actress with a small part, to an actress who grabbed much of the country?s attention, following her relationship with Grant Mitchell. She goes on to describe her friendships with other celebrities, including Mick Hucknall and Bros. She also had a stalker, who was calling the BBC hundreds of times a day! Despite her earnings from Eastenders, Martine had an unfortunate incident with
her agent, which ultimately resulted in a prosecution. He had been siphoning off large amounts of her earnings, until she dropped him. Martine learned a lesson here the hard way. Her punishing schedule was starting to take its toll on her, and she became sick with pneumonia, which meant she had to take some time off. Despite this, she won an award at the Soap Awards that year, and was well enough to collect it, with the blessing of the show. When Martine was eventually killed off, this again proved to be a challenging time for her. She first heard about it on the radio, and felt that this had not been appropriately handled. She describes events that appeared to be quite political; however she put this behind her to embark on her singing career, for the second time effectively, and became a massive hit in New York and the USA. Her book ends as we approach the Year 2000. Events have moved on for her dramatically in a short space of time. She had a new love in her life, as did her Mother, who by now had divorced her Stepfather and remarried. Following an eventful act in Chelsea, Martine was spotted by the individual who was to offer her the part in My Fair Lady. Her focus from this point on is on her health, her relationship with her partner, and very much her career too. All in all, I found this an enjoyable book to read, and one that you could read in a couple of days or so. I don?t think it is a real best seller or a classic, given that Martine is still so young, but it is an encouraging story of beating the odds by a young and feisty lady. Well done Martine!
If you only read a few books this year then make this one of them! I don't know why I decided to read this book, as I am not particularly a huge fan of Martine McCutcheon, but I am glad I did. Admittidly she is quite young to write an autobiography, so you would think that she doesn't really have much experience on lif or her career at the moment - Well you'd be wrong. The book is written in such a way that you culd actually imagine Martine speaking and telling you her story, she is so down to earth and it gives you some insight into her life form growing up as a child to the present day. There are also a number of photos included from various points in her life. Martine tells the story from when she was born. She was born into one of the least promising backgrounds and spent most of her childhood with her mum on the run from her father. From an early age she longed to be a star and was determined no matter how difficult. She describes in detail her early memories of her mother being beaten by her father, and how he held her head first over a balcony. She tells of her feelings and how it felt for her to be bullied at school. Somehow, her and her mother scraped together enough money for her to attend saturday classes and eventually a stage school. She tells of her friendships and relationships, how she danced with Michael Douglas and was sick in Mick Hucknells hair and also how she really came to leave Eastenders. Martine McCutcheon is just like anyother person on the street, down to earth and too the point, and she makes you relalise that if you want something bad enough then you will eventually get what you want no matter what you have to go through. There was a lot more to this book than I first thought. I couldn't put it down once I had started to read it.
I dedicate this book review to my good Dooyoo friend Jan Harper. My saddest childhood memory has to be my mum and dad splitting up a week before I went to senior school. I can always remember getting dressed up in my posh new school outfit and thinking that my dad would never see me in it as he would only come and visit at the weekends. After reading Martine McCutcheon’s autobiography on her childhood I am only too grateful as to that is the saddest childhood memory that I could think of. When this book was written she was only 24 years of age and I was staggered to read such an interesting and varied lifestyle that she had led. She was born on 14th May 1976 in a dingy delivery room at the salvation Army Mothers’ hospital in Clapton, in the heart of the East End of London. She was named Martine Kimberley Sherrie. Her mother had, had a difficult childhood and moved out of home at the tender age of Sixteen. Martine describes her mother as a feisty sort and a very determined lady. Martine’s father is a brute called Thomas Hemmings, I say brute because what he put his own wife and child through is pretty unbelievable really. Most of Martine’s young life was spent moving from pillar to post in order to hide from her own father, but unfortunately he always managed to find them. At the start of their relationship he was nice but a bit possessive and than in turn changed to bullying and then beating. The events that are described in the book are pretty horrific. Once he found out where they lived in would come round to their house late at night, drunk and break his way in and on one occasion Martine witnessed her mother’s head being continually hit on the bathroom sink until she was unconscious. He did not even care that she witnessed such a severe beating. He also raped her mother and did other nasty acts to her. These are all described fully in the book. After some time of this the pol
ice finally helped out by putting an emergency call button in their house but usually by the time they had arrived he had done what he had set out to do and then had left. He once held his own daughter thirty feet above the ground from her ankles and threatened to drop her if the mother did not do as he had asked. Right from an early age Martine had a desire to be famous and loved being the centre of attention. Whilst young she loved to act in the school plays and also did some modelling work. When she was a baby she was on posters that were used to promote the Labour party at the time. However modelling jobs had to be chosen carefully, as too much publicity would mean the dad would be able to find them. Most of her school years were taken up by concentrating on her acting and dancing and after a long hard struggle her mother managed to get a charity called Reeves Foundation to pay to enrol her at the Italia Conti school and fees which at that time were £1,260 a term. The school managed to get the children some acting work or getting them work in commercials. All was going well and they had even managed to cut ties with her father. He had previously took her mother to court to get custody of Martine, but obviously lost and also managed to be told they he was not to go near them again. At the age of fourteen Martine spotted an ad in the “Stage and Television Today” it’s a weekly show-business newspaper. It was a music company wanting a solo singer aged sixteen. She was not old enough and managed to persuade her three older friends to go along for an audition together. After one girl dropping out of their group they became a band called “Milan”. They travelled around a lot of rough venues and produced a couple of singles and supported other groups on their tours such as East 17. Eventually the group decided to give up, as it was not all they had imagined it would be. Her Mothers life was
looking up as she had met a lovely man called John who she later had a son with called Laurence. Martine was sixteen by now and was just about to take her GCSE’S. With her home life more settled she did well and passed nine exams. Her first proper love was a DJ called Gareth Cooke whom she met when she was seventeen. Without any acting work and Milan had folded she was forced into working at Knickerbox of which she really hated. She decided to get herself an agent called Mark Devene and after four months he rang up telling her about the part in Eastenders. She started work just before New Year’s Day 1995 and was a nervous wreck. By what I have read she was not that happy there for quite some time, although eventually got into the stride of things. With her work life going great her love life was not so good and eventually she broke up with Gareth as he could not cope with her new found fame. He was later to write a kiss and tell story on her. When she talks about Eastenders she explains who she gets on with and how they have supported her. There is one person however that she did not get along with but unfortunately she would not let on who it was and I am still curious. Martine never wanted Tiffany killed off but she fell out with the producers once she found out that some other cast members were on a lot more money than she was, so they decided to kill Tiffany off. Luckily her singing career had begun to take off and she sung at the Royal Albert Hall and eventually a more professional contract was set in place. Unlike her Milan days she was wiser and knew exactly what she wanted. Her first single was “Perfect Moment” and I remember buying it along with many others as it was at the number one spot for two weeks. Her music took her to many places and she met up with many a famous face of which she tells you in her book. She is great friends with Matt Goss from Bros. Do you remember them, b
oy were they good looking? Her next serious relationship was with Johnthan Barnham who in the book she describes with great love and affection. Unfortunately we all know now that he did in fact become a two timing pig in the end. It appears to me that all men so far have let this pretty young girl down quite badly really. Lets hope she does meet the love of her life quite soon. To finish off, her mother ended up marrying a man called Alan in January 2000 and luckily Martine has never seen her dad ever since. Martine is now playing the part of Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady at the West End and I must go and see that some time as I hear its really good. I did actually forget to mention previously about her health. The book goes into details about her health and she really has been quite poorly at times. I think she does push herself maybe a bit too hard and her body suffers. Recently in the papers she was plagued with illness again and unfortunately she does seem to get a lot of stick about it. She also gives an insight into been stalked as it has happened to her a few times and it sounded really frightening. In the book she makes a point of telling you how frightening it can be when fans chase her around as she does not know them and how they may react. She quotes “Don’t wind people like me up by following us. It’s dangerous. Right. Enough said”. I know I have gone into details about this book but don’t let it put you off buying it now, as they are many areas that I have skipped especially which famous people she is great friends with and the places they hang out. ENJOY
Curiousity led me to ask for this book at Christmas, afterall Martine McCutcheon is only in her late- twenties and she is writing her autobiography...... I am not one to read lots of showbiz gossip but I do like a good book.... This book did not let me down. It is written in such a way that you can almost hear Martine speaking to you. Like any showbiz story, at times this book is a mass of name dropping. Whether it is dancing with Michael Douglas, behind the scenes on Eastenders or being sick in Mic Hucknell's hair - there are plenty of juicy stories for those who like the gossip and the glamour. Whilst for me those things are interesting - to a point, I admired the book more for the being honest and outspoken about Martine's personal trials. Martine's childhood was far from idealic. Her father was somewhat of a psycopath, who was involved in drink and drugs. Martine speaks frankly about her memories of her father holding her by her feet, over a balcony.... and the numerous violent attacks that her mother endured, at a time when domestic violence was not a high priority. Martine also takes the opportunity to speak out about how hurtful bullying can be to a child. Alot of her childhood was on the run from her father but even at a young age she wanted to be in the limelight. (a stripper.) After some time her mum began to see that Martine was determined to be a star and that Martine's desire was more than a passing phase.... Somehow they managed to scrape money up for Martine to go to Saturday classes...... then the break they wanted, a place at Italia Conti. One snag no money for fees....... After applying to numerous trusts, they got financial backing. Even as an adult and she has the big break at Eastenders, life is not simple. There is kiss and tell stories, an agent who creams off more than his fair share, stalkers and health problems. This book could be seen as a rags to
riches story but I was also conscious of the elite nature of british showbiz personalities...... There are so many stars of today that Martine knew either at her stage school or a rival london ones. The question therefore could be asked "Would stardom have occurred for Martine, if she had not got into Italia Conti?" Although some of the content is graphic at times, I found this was a book I found hard to put down.
Through childhood, Eastenders fame and singing career, 24-year old Martine McCutcheon tells her story in her own words.