Female detectives have problems too

Female detectives can have drinking problems, affairs and a partner waiting at home to save them, so why should men get all the good roles?

That was the reasoning behind British actresses Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay pitching the UKTV series Scott & Bailey.

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The pair believed it was time to start exploring the personal and professional lives of female detectives and that’s what they’ve done in a riveting and gritty police drama.

Jones plays detective constable Rachel Bailey and the other lead role is held by Lesley Sharp who plays detective constable Janet Scott.

Lindsay is Alison Bailey, the sister of Rachel, who is married with children and is constantly concerned about the welfare of their brother who is in jail for armed robbery.

The series has been a hit in the UK with some seven million viewers tuning in per episode and the second season of Scott & Bailey starts on Foxtel’s UKTV on February 15.

Jones says the series has lived up to her and Lindsay’s expectations although the pair has taken a secondary role when it comes to writing the series.

“I felt we needed three dimensional characters, professional women who had some male traits because a lot of the parts are great for men,” Jones told AAP from Manchester where the series is filmed.

“The great (TV) detectives have drink issues, they have affairs, they’re dark and forbodden there’s usually a wife in their home life who puts them together.

“I felt it would be interesting to have young professionals women who had all those traits and had a life on the outside as well.

“That’s why when we did this we had to see them at home and see how, working in a male and dark environment, what that is like to take it home.”

There were only six episodes in the first season, which launched with more than nine million viewers in the UK in 2011, although that has since been bumped up to eight episodes a season.

Jones said the smaller number of episodes allows the writers to evenly balance the story arc between home and work life.

She said if they took a conventional Hollywood approach and made more than a dozen per season, the series would not have a big impact or delve as deeply into their personal lives.

“Ours is a mix of professional and home life and it’s good to get short snippets and then come back to it a year later when we have moved on a little bit,” Jones said.

“I don’t know how 13 episodes or more would sustain a home life and a professional life because you had have to do a story of the week and then an arc of a big murder.”

Jones said even if she wanted to be heavily involved in the production and writing for the series she just wouldn’t have the time.

She’s rehearsing for a play in the UK, having just come off filming two different TV series, and she heads back into production for the fourth season of Scott & Bailey in April.

“There isn’t much time to get too involved in that,” Jones said,]

“At the end of each season we get asked what we think, if we want to do another season and where the characters are going.

“Amelia (Bullmore) who plays Gill Murray in the series is now writing and they know the characters well, so it’s exciting to go back after seven months and see what they’ve come up with.”

* Scott & Bailey (season two) starts on Saturday, February 15 at 8.30pm on UKTV.

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