Ahead of her appearance on Who Do You Think You Are? on Thursday 23 June, here's five things you might not know about acclaimed actor Anna Maxwell Martin

1. History buff

Although Anna's parents were scientists, she fell in love with acting when she was at school. However, she did a degree in history at Liverpool University, focusing on the First World War, before studying drama at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA).

2. The name game

Anna's birth name was Anna Charlotte Martin. Unfortunately for the family historians of the future, she added her grandfather's name 'Maxwell' to her surname when she joined the actors' union Equity because there was already an actor named Anna Martin.

3. Young for her age

Anna played the main role of Lyra Belacqua in His Dark Materials (2003–2004), the National Theatre's hugely ambitious two-part adaptation of Philip Pullman's classic fantasy trilogy. Anna was 26 at the time, although Lyra matures from a child to an adolescent during the story.

4. BAFTA glory

Anna won her first 'Best Actress' BAFTA for playing Esther Summerson in BBC One's 2005 adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House. She won her second BAFTA three years later for another dramatisation – she played 'N' in Poppy Shakespeare, Channel 4's film of Clare Allan's novel about patients at a mental health hospital.

5. Art reflects life

Like the endlessly harassed Julia, her character in BBC Two's award-winning sitcom Motherland (2016–2021), Anna has two children, albeit two daughters rather than a boy and a girl. Their father was her late husband Roger Michell (1956–2021), who directed such films as Notting Hill (1999) and Enduring Love (2004).