Grantchester’s Tessa Peake-Jones on the Inspiration Behind Mrs. Maguire



Grantchester - Tessa Peake-Jones

On “Grantchester,” veteran actress Tessa Peake-Jones doesn’t exactly play the most personable of people. As Mrs. Maguire, Peake-Jones’ character serves as Sidney’s housekeeper and occasionally unwelcomed advisor. It’s a tough gig.
In this role, Peake-Jones delivers a complex character whose big heart is often masked by her belief in traditions, manners, and a serious – dare we say strict – approach to life and all its nuances.
Admittedly though, Peake-Jones didn’t accidentally stumble upon the tendencies that make Mrs. Maguire who she is. Rather, Peake-Jones previously spent much time in the presence of such a figure.

Grantchester - Tessa Peake-Jones

“When I was 16, I worked for the gas board answering the phones to all the customers’ complaints and there was a woman who was the [personal assistant] to the boss,” explained Peake-Jones in an interview with What’s On TV. “She wore very high heels, her hair pulled back in a Forties’ style and very prominent lipstick – so nothing like Mrs. M. dress-wise – but she had a very fierce demeanor and hardly ever smiled. She was actually very kind to me but, on the outside, she was really tough – I was terrified of her!”
Even though the Mrs. Maguire character is a rather stern one, that doesn’t deter people from approaching Peake-Jones in public.

Grantchester - Tessa Peake-Jones

“They do but if I wear my glasses, it throws them off the scent a bit,” said Jones when asked about whether or not she gets recognized for her ‘Grantchester’ role, when in public.”
She continued: “I got chatting to a woman on the bus once and she said to me: ‘Ooh, I love ‘Grantchester’ but how do they make you look so old and ugly?’ to which I replied: ‘Well, I’m not wearing any make-up in it’. As she kept on, though, about how old and ugly I looked in it, it was beginning not to feel like the compliment I’m sure she’d intended it to be!”
-Adam Grant

Grantchester - Season 2

This week on “Grantchester” (Wednesday, March 28 at 10pm ET/7pm PT): When a man dies in a police cell on Geordie’s watch, Sidney seems to be his only ally – but the vicar’s mind is elsewhere as one of his flock faces the gallows.

Vision NewsLetter

Sign up to get the latest news on your favorite shows exclusive content and more.