Monday the 12th of March will be a night of quiet celebration in my household. No its not the dog’s birthday and no its not the day I’ll have my electronic tag removed (that was purely for comedic effect and doesn’t bare any place in reality). The celebration will centre around the more than welcome return of one of my favouirte dramas. Yes I realise the picture at the top there may’ve been a bit of a giveaway but I felt the built up worth it. Scott and Bailey is back! In case you somehow managed to miss this wonderful crime drama which debuted in May last year all you need to know is its fantastic. The perfect combination of razor sharp scripts from the always reliable Sally Wainwright coupled with the absolutely perfectly suited double act of Lesley Sharp and Surrane Jones in the lead roles and that’s before I drone on about the great supporting cast mainly Amelia Bulmore who lights up every scene as feisty D.C.I. Gill Murray.
Although I can’t praise this series enough my words don’t really do it justice but luckily the viewing figures last year did. With huge figures of 9.4million it became the highest rated new British drama of 2011 proving once again that audiences are still drawn by crime drama, a good down to earth cast and believable storytelling.
A second series extended to eight episodes brought fresh challenges for the Huddersfield-born writer Sally Wainwright “ITV wanted more, they wanted it sooner and they wanted to transmit it earlier. Which is great. It spurs you on. And a second series fills you with such confidence and joy that you’re just dying to do it anyway.
“Everybody feels that bit more confident about what they’re doing. You feel comfortable with both the characters and that you’re telling the right kind of stories. You just hope that people will enjoy it the second time as much as they did the first.
“The ambition for this series was to tell some really cracking stories again and make it a bit bigger. We’ve kicked off with a two-parter, which I think is probably one of the darkest stories we’ve ever told.
Wainwright’s scripts are always showcase that uniquely British mix of humour and realism and that’s got to be what made Scott & Bailey strike such a chord with 9.4 million viewers last spring.
Sally has written seven of the new episodes with one episode by Amelia Bullmore, who plays D.C.I. Gill Murray. “I’m a big fan of Amelia’s writing. I think she’s really clever and, of course, she knows the show backwards.”
Scott & Bailey was originally devised by Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay, who guest stars again as Rachel’s sister Alison. “When Sally and I were talking about the characters before the series was green lit, we saw that Rachel is a flawed and complicated woman. She’s got amazing potential, passion and natural talent but also massive insecurities.” “It’s a step up from the first series, which is as it should be. The crimes are darker and superior and you get to know the characters more. The locations are also brilliant. They all look beautiful, dark and gritty and very dramatic and bleak, which is fantastic to go with our murders.”
The other huge contributing factor to the success of Scott & Bailey has to be the perfect on-screen partnership of Lesley Sharp and Surrane Jones who you believe have worked together and known each other all their lives. They’re off the job lives are just as fascinating and drama filled as their work on the force and as I’ve come to expect with Sally’s writing they’re completely believable and well drawn out characters.
Manchester-born Lesley is acknowledged as one of the leading actresses of her generation. Her previous TV credits include: Clocking Off; The Second Coming; Bob & Rose; Afterlife and The Shadow Line.
“We were all absolutely delighted by the success of the first series of Scott & Bailey. It was really satisfying that the majority of people who watched it got what we were trying to do and there seemed to be this appetite for these strong female characters, which is brilliant.
“We attempted to show the police in as real a light as we possibly could. That’s largely down to the advice of Diane Taylor, a retired detective inspector. We all pay meticulous attention to the detail in police procedure, which I think was one of the reasons why maybe people found it so compelling. The way police go about interviewing criminals, for example.
Not to sound too much like a stuck record or a Jive Bunny mix (didn’t expect to mention Jive Bunny in a TV review that’s a plus) but Scott and Bailey is one of those uniquely British dramas that effortlessly mixes humour, emotion and crime without overloading the viewer. Its the sort of drama I crave and proof that ITV can still produce top notch drama alongside celebrity ice skaters and fat people billing yelled at. I honestly wish I was more eloquent to praise it further.
Scott & Bailey returns Monday 12th March at 9pm on ITV1