Maxine was born in 1974 in Lancashire, in the North of England. She attended Westhoughton High School. She first became interested in acting at age 13, when she joined the Bolton Octagon Theatre's youth club. She graduated form Salford University and she also attended RADA, graduating in 1998.
Maxine's most controversial role was as Myra Hindley, the Moors Murderer, in See No Evil.
Maxine's first visit to the theatre was to see A Streetcar Named Desire starring Susannah Yorke.
(While playing a cleaner in "Fairy Tales", Maxine talks about how much she enjoys cleaning)
Maxine: I love cleaning. I've got an addiction to bleach as well. It's a bit of a joke among my friends who say, 'You stink of bleach!' I think that's how I relax. I think, brilliant, got a day off, get my Marigolds on and you know . . . I think if I ever became rich and could afford a maid, I'd have to clean before she came in.
(on leaving "Shameless")
Maxine: I'm not going back at all. I don't know how they'll explain Kev and Veronica's exit. But I'm sure, in true Shameless fashion, they'll manage it no problem. I could be cutting my nose off to spite my face but that's why I wanted to act - to do as many different projects as possible.
(on reading about herself on the Internet)
Maxine: Just one person can floor me for a fortnight. Some bloke said Anne-Marie Duff was the next Helen Mirren, while I was the slightly less talented version of Barbara Windsor.
(on her role as a female police officer in "Bike Squad", and her sister, who is a police officer)
Maxine: I don't think any profession is easy, but in the police the majority of officers are male and so it's a tough environment for a woman. I know my sister has become of the mindset that you have to take it on the chin and give as good as you get.
(on her big break in "Dinnerladies")
Maxine: Still, a little while before I graduated I remember getting a call for an interview with Victoria Wood for her new sitcom. I just thought, 'oh my god I'm just never going to get it'. But I did. Things just couldn't have worked out better. I was all prepared to leave drama school and go and work in a bar.
(on the satirical "Confessions of a Diary Secretary")
Maxine: I hope it will make people think about the way we've been betrayed by the Government and the way people in power conduct themselves. We place our lives in their hands, and then they behave like this. If you hold a position of power and responsibility, you have to behave accordingly. If you can't keep your trousers on, don't go into that profession. Become an actor or a journalist instead.
(on the success of "Shameless")
Maxine: The success of Shameless really took all of us by surprise because initially we didn't know what we had on our hands. It was a different style of acting and it was made very quickly on a pretty small budget and not like anything I remember seeing on telly.
(on why she stopped going to the Octagan Youth Theatre Club)
Maxine: I thought they were all a bit too good, so I stopped going. I was a lot older than them, and there was a lot of kids there that were really good and really confident, and it made me think, "I don't know if this is for me", because I wasn't really that confident at that time.