Martine McCutcheon: This is her moment. Her “Perfect Moment”
TV actress Martine McCutcheon (born Martine Ponting in 1976) made her debut at the age of 12 in a drink’s commercial and at the age of 13, appeared in the series Bluebirds with Dame Barbara Windsor, with whom she would co-star alongside in the soap opera Eastenders from 1994. But after four years, Martine was getting restless of TV stardom and dreamed of pursuing her preferred career as a singer. This came in 1999 when she released her debut single, “Perfect Moment”, which went straight to the top of the UK chart and launched her into the 21st century. But after such a fortuitous beginning, what happened next and why do we not hear so much of her these days?
After TV appearances in the late 1980’s, Martine took to the stage at the beginning of the 1990’s appearing at the Churchill Theatre and the West End Lyric Theatre in London. Her first taster of the music industry came when she appeared in the video to Enya‘s 1991 hit “Caribbean Blue”. The following year, she joined music school friends in the girl group Milan. They released three singles including a cover of Rose Royce’s “Is It Love You’re After?”, but none of them charted and they were dropped by their record company. Following appearances in the TV drama The Bill, Martine was signed by the BBC for the part of Tiffany Raymond in Eastenders. During her four year stay with the soap, Martine won a National Television Award in 1997 and for the final episode in which her character was killed off, 22 million people tuned into the special on New Year’s Eve 1998.
Martine was now free to restart her music career, this time as a solo performer and selected for her debut single, a 1997 hit from Polish singer Edyta Górniak, “Perfect Moment”. The song was fashioned as a show tune as well as a contemporary pop ballad and upon release, went straight to No.1 on the UK singles chart, eventually earning a Platinum disc for sales of more than 600,000 copies. There was no stopping Martine now as she followed this up with “I’ve Got You”, which reached No.6 and preceded her debut album, “You, Me And Us” in September that year. The album peaked at No.2 and received a Platinum certification at home and shifting over 800,000 copies worldwide. One further release came from the album, a double A sider of “Talking In Your Sleep” and “Love Me”, which also peaked at No.6.
Martine’s second album came just a year later and was heralded by the lead single, “I’m Over You”, which made No.2. The album, “Wishing”, fared less well, only staggering to No.25, although it went on to sell over 100,000 copies in the UK and received a Gold disc. Just one further single came from the album, a cover of Donna Summer‘s 1979 classic “On The Radio”, which made No.7 and gave Martine her fifth consecutive top ten hit from five singles released. Martine went back to her stage heritage with her next album, “Musicality”, in 2002, a collection of sixteen show tunes that allowed her to exercise her vocal chords. The album peaked at No.55 in the UK. Soon after this, Martine auditioned for and won the part of Natalie in the film ‘Love Actually’ alongside Hugh Grant. The film was a success and Martine largely abandoned her music career to focus on the big screen as well as some guest roles in one off TV dramas.
Martine gained some notoriety in 2002 when she was cast as Eliza Doolittle in the West End production of My Fair Lady, famously missing performances and ultimately withdrawing from the production completely. nevertheless, she won an Olivier Award for her role. She has largely remained on television ever since with a few film roles, most recently in ‘The Bromley Boys’ in 2018 and as a presenter on the daytime talk show Loose Women from 2016 to 2017. She returned to music that year when she released her fourth album, “Lost And Found”, fifteen years since the release of “Musicality”. It was a minor hit when it reached No.17 on the UK album chart, her best performance there since her debut, eighteen years earlier. The album featured the singles “Say I’m Not Alone, “Any Sign Of Life” and “Maybe I Should Run?”. In between this, Martine has written novels and also made a fitness DVD!
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