BBC Mastermind: Maria McErlane’s life from being Graham Norton’s ‘wife’ to forgotten EastEnders and The Bill roles


Maria McErlane has been acting across the UK’s stages and screens for nearly 40 years now, having made her showbiz bow all the way back in 1984. Since then she’s appeared in numerous different small screen classics from comedy shows like The Fast Show in the 90s to Holby City. Marie, 64, even once had a small role in iconic soap EastEnders.

Along the way in her storied career Maria has made some very famous friends too, counting the likes of food TV royalty Nigella Lawson among her closest and appeared alongside Lawson 16 times on her eponymous chat-show Nigella.

But Maria has an even more well-connected friend in Irish chat-show host Graham Norton. She first co-presented a sex-based quiz show with her friend Graham in the 1990s named Carnal Knowledge, which showed off the pair’s wicked sense of humour. Since then they’ve shared an agony aunt feature on Graham’s BBC Radio 2 and they now co-present together on Virgin Radio UK.

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Maria played a reporter named Claudia Maskry in the 2010 EastEnders episode

So joined at the hip are the two stars, that Maria has even jokingly referred to herself as Graham’s wife frequently over the years, even writing it in her BBC profile.

But Graham has never been married and Maria’s relationship status is not clear, one thing that’s for sure though is that the two aren’t married, despite the jokes.

Aside from her playful friendship with Graham Norton though, you might also recognise Maria from a short stint she spent in Albert Square as well as classic cop drama The Bill.

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Appearing in a 2010 episode of ‘Enders as the character Claudia Maskry, a reporter who visits Walford. She also appeared in a 2002 episode of The Bill as Mrs Walters.

Since then Maria has appeared in some even bigger titles, including the Oscar nominated film Children of Men in 2006, alongside Michael Caine as Shirley, as well as in the recent Killing Eve series in 2020 as Diane.

You can catch Maria on Celebrity Mastermind on BBC One at 6.30pm today (Saturday, March 5).

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