Maxine Peake leads Rules of the Game cast in gripping BBC series

Rules of the Game, a female-led murder mystery series, premiered on BBC One on Tuesday evening

Maxine Peake leads Rules of the Game cast in new BBC series
(Image credit: BBC)

Rules of the Game premiered on BBC One on Tuesday evening and let's just say, it hasn't disappointed with its cast. 

If you're looking for a gripping thriller series to pass away those gloomy January evenings (or you need a palate-cleanser after binge-watching all the best Christmas movies on Amazon Prime), you might want to check this latest release out. 

Rules of the Game, which is now available to watch in total on BBC iPlayer, follows the story of Sam (Maxine Peake), the COO of a family-run sportswear company in the northwest of England, as she seeks to discover the truth behind a brutal death at her office building. 

The ambitious manager finds her nemesis in newly-hired HR director, Maya (Rakhee Thakrar), who, over the course of the four episodes, embarks on a mission to combat the misogynistic work culture of the business. As the investigation unfolds, the two women begin to connect over their mutual pursuit to uncover 'the dark secrets' buried in the company's past. 

Written by journalist Ruth Fowler and inspired by the #MeToo movement, Rules of the Game tackles head-on the issue of sexual politics in the office—all while maintaining a much-needed dose of that classicly British dry humor. 

It's been particularly commended for its predominantly female cast—something you rarely see in murder mystery TV shows and films. The series features a stellar line-up of talented actresses, many of whom you've likely spotted on the small screen before. 

Rules of the Game cast

Maxine Peake, who's best known for her roles as Twinkle in dinnerladies, and Veronica Ball in Shameless, has revealed she accepted the part in Rules of the Game because she was so impressed by its 'complex' characters. 

"I just felt that they were really well-drawn female characters, which I sometimes find [with] dramas, there’ll be a female lead but you can’t quite work out the character. It’s a bit of an every person…and I just felt that I knew all these people from the first episode," the BAFTA award-winner said. 

“They were complex and they were funny—there’s a seam of dark humor I think that runs through it which really appeals to my sense of humor." 

Maxine is joined by Rakhee Thakrar, who also brings a bounty of experience to the series. Having proven her talent to the public with her portrayal of Shabnam in Eastenders, the English actor became a bonafide star when she was cast alongside Gillian Anderson in the hugely popular Netflix show, Sex Education. 

Rules of the Game cast

Maxine Peake and Rakhee Thakrar are co-stars in Rules of the Game

(Image credit: Getty)

Meanwhile, Eve Preston, the detective inspector who questions Sam over the dead body, is played by Susan Wokoma. The British actor is no stranger to performing on screen, having previously starred in Misfits, Chewing Gum, and Crashing—just to name a few.

Tess Jones, a longstanding employee at the business, is played by Callie Cooke of Spirit, Britannia, and Adult Material, while Anita, the matriarch of the company, is portrayed by Alison Steadman. The BAFTA-nominated actor has built an impressive career for herself in British TV and film, boasting roles in the likes of Pride and Prejudice and Gavin & Stacey over the decades. 

Coronation Street's Katherine Pearce, who plays Lolly on the long-running soap, also appears in the series, along with Zoe Tapper of Foyle’s War and Survivors. 

Where was Rules of the Game filmed? 

Rules of the Game was filmed in Manchester and nearby locations around the northwest of England. Sam's house is situated on a leafy street of 1930s buildings in Eccles, Salford—conveniently nearby Maxine's own real-life home. 

"It's great being up North because I live in Salford, I'm from Bolton originally and then I lived in London for about 12 years and then I came home – I call Salford home," she said. 

Emma Dooney
Emma Dooney

Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.