Interview extra

Suranne Jones, Scott & BaileyMay 19, 2011

Suranne Jones plays a brilliant but troubled detective in Scott & Bailey, a six-part series she helped to create. Here, she tells TV Choice more about the show, and reveals her ambitions to become a writer…

You and fellow actress Sally Lindsay came up with the idea for Scott & Bailey. Can you explain how it came to fruition?
We took the idea to a couple of people. We’d just done the treatment, and come up with the characters. We went to [executive producer] Nicola Shindler, and she put us onto [writer] Sally Wainwright. Sally wrote an episode and we loved it and we thought she’s absolutely the type of person we want to have on board.

That was six years ago, and then the idea kind of got a bit lost, as things do. Then ITV knew about it and they wanted Sally to look at it again and do a rewrite. Sally also met [co-creator and retired Detective Inspector] Diane Taylor, and Di’s been a brilliant source of information for keeping it real.

Is this the first time you’ve worked with Lesley Sharp?
Yes and no. We did a radio series called Pick Ups written by Ian Kershaw, who’s [Coronation Street actress] Julie Hesmondhalgh’s husband and I played a very special girl, who just wanted to get married. But I didn’t have scenes with Lesley, so we’d just pass each other in the corridor and say hi. So I was really excited on the day of the read-through. It was like a wedding, because I was just waiting for Lesley to come through the door, and I was saying, ‘Oh, where is she?’ But we got on really well, so it was brilliant.

How would you sum up your character, Bailey?
She goes on a journey through the six episodes. You see how good she is at her job and what a great professional demeanour she puts on within the dark world that she works in – although we don’t make it too dark. We just show it as it is, which was the beauty of working with Di, she’s given us a real insight.

What’s the dynamic like between Scott, played by Lesley Sharp, and Bailey?
DCI Gill Murray, played by Amelia Bullmore, has put them together so that Scott can reign Bailey in. But they’ve become very close personally as well, because Bailey has got no family around her. So Scott is therefore Bailey’s family unit in work, and out of work. They’ve got a really good personal and professional relationship going, but Scott’s in charge, pretty much.

Are the stories pretty equally balanced between her home life and her work life?
Yes. In my scripts, I use little tags that are blue and pink. So a blue will refer to a work day, and the pink is when it’s a personal scene. In this, there are as many blue marks as there are pink marks, so it really shows it’s that mix of personal and professional.

Considering you helped to create this show, would you like to become a writer? Are you working on your own scripts?
I am actually — well I’ve just submitted the first draft of something. So once I’ve done this, I’m going to get a second draft, so touch wood, yes, hopefully. I didn’t think I could do it. I just thought, ‘Oh I’ll come up with the ideas and someone else can do it,’ but I’m giving it a go, so we’ll see.

Would you be happy to tell us what the story is about?
No, because it might never see the light of day, but who knows.

Would you star in it?
Yes, my agent read the first draft and she said, ‘This is great, this is really good. Is it for you?’ and so I said, ‘Yes.’

So did you write it with yourself in mind?
Yes, I’m not daft. Again, it’s a character that I’d really like to play, it’s a strong female character. But I’m also trying to audition and read scripts and still get out there.

David Collins

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