Suranne Jones (‘Scott & Bailey’) interview

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Coming to ITV1 later this month, Scott & Bailey is a new six-part crime drama series that explores the personal and professional lives of Detective Constable Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones) and Detective Constable Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp), two members of Manchester Metropolitan Police’s Major Incident Team, whose task is to track down killers.

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Watch the trailer…

CultBox caught up with star Suranne Jones to find out more…

Scott & Bailey is based on an original idea by you and your former Coronation Street co-star Sally Lindsay – where did idea come from?

“Well, in the pub, with a couple of glasses of wine! We were talking about how it’d be great to have a female-led programme that wasn’t wife-of, sidekick-to, mother-of, mistress-to… all that kind of stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if the scripts are brilliant, but I guess there was nothing around at that time. Sally’s a big fan of Cagney And Lacey and we thought it’d be great to do a cop show as people are always interested in crime drama. So we wanted to mix a good character-based show with the plot-driven stuff.

“So we took the idea to Red [production company] and then Sally Wainwright wrote a script, we loved it and it went from there. Sally [Wainwright] teamed up with Di [co-creator Diane Taylor, retired Detective Inspector from the Greater Manchester Police Force’s Major Incident Team] and the treatment veered away from mine and Sally [Lindsay]’s original idea, but the original idea of wanting to play Rachel Bailey as a female who’s a bit maverick and a bit out there stayed.”

Had you always envisaged Scott & Bailey as something you’d star in yourself too?

“Yeah, and Sally [Lindsay] too at the time, but she got pregnant with her beautiful twin boys, so when it came round to casting, we heard that Lesley Sharp had read the script and Sally [Lindsay] said that was fine. Having twins then being involved in another big series would’ve been tough, so she’s in Episode 2 very briefly.”

How did writer Sally Wainwright (At Home With The Braithwaites) get involved?

“Red found her I guess, I’ve been involved in two of her projects before this one and this is my third time working with Red, so I think we’re a good team.”

How is Scott & Bailey different from other crime shows?

“I think there’s a lot of crime drama around and people do really love it. It’s not just here, with shows like The Wire and The Killing, people are really getting into these fantastic exports. This one has been done differently in that you see them at work then you shut that professional door then you see them outside of that.”

Episode 1 sees the viewer jump right in with Rachel’s break-up – was this deliberately to set up that the show is going to focus on the personal lives as well as the cases?

“I just think it gives you a chance to be right with the characters from the start. You don’t feel like you’re dragging your heels going “who’s that and who’s that?” – you’re dumped right in so you’re in there with them.”

Are you hopeful for a second series?

“I never do anything with the hope for a second series because life’s changeable, TV companies are changeable, people might not be available… But if people like it then a second series should come about, yeah.”

Would you like to get more into the creative side of TV production?

“I think to be forward thinking and pro-active is great. I’ve been in the spotlight for 11 years now with Corrie and other theatre and TV productions, so I feel now that there’s no harm in trying to get my own ideas made. The worst that can happen is that someone goes ‘no, I don’t fancy that’, so I just think it’s about having the balls to say ‘what about this?’. Who knows, I could be hear talking to you in a couple of years time about another project – why not give it a go, that’s what I say.”

Would you like to write an actual script yourself perhaps?

“Maybe, finding the time to write a script is really tough. I’ve written bits and pieces, but luckily I keep getting employed! I have a charity that I’ve worked with for about 9 years in Ireland where I teach and I direct the kids in shows, so the creative side is very interesting to me. The work might not always be here in front of the camera so I think it’s good to stretch my wings, you know.”

Did you enjoy filming Scott & Bailey’s action scenes?

“Yeah, it was fun, although on the very last day of filming it was all about Rachel chasing a criminal. So everyone had finished, everyone had gone home or was getting prepared for the party. Lesley Sharp was off getting a massage and a facial! Then I picked her up after work and opened some champagne, but because I was knackered the pair of us were in bed by half 12 at the wrap party. So yeah, it was fun but me trying to do running spoilt my wrap party! Suranne does not do much running.”

Episode 1 airs at 9pm on Sunday 29th May 2011 on ITV1.

> Order the DVD on Amazon.