Regular readers of pauseliveaction may recall our love for Scott and Bailey and our excitement at its return. Turns out, it’s back slightly earlier than expected. Who knew that ITV knew a good thing when they saw it?
For newcomers, Scott and Bailey is a series based around the activities of the Major Incident Team (which, as one character points out, seems to deal almost exclusively in murders) of a Manchester-based police force. Its particular focus is on two of its officers; Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) and Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones). At first glance you’d think it was the archetypal chalk/cheese pairing with a healthy dollop of Wimmins Ishoos. It’s true that the younger Bailey is at times the hotheaded counterfoil to the more centred and professional Scott and that we see much of their respective personal lives. But both characters are portrayed as rounded individuals, capable of the same flaws and talents as, well, anybody. Tribute must be paid to both the terrific acting of Sharp and Jones and also to the perfect casting. Sharp’s enigmatic stillness and Jones’ nervy, emotional intensity are perfect both for their individual roles and for each other. They are perfectly balanced and entirely believable as a partnership.
It also says much for the acting and writing that other characters get a chance to shine alongside such a strong central relationship. Amelia Bullmore is terrific as Scott and Bailey’s boss Jill Murray and again the fact that the senior figure is a woman is perfectly done in that it is believable but not overplayed. The episode begins in the toilets with Scott and Bailey psyching up Murray before she goes into front of the TV cameras. But at the same time you feel that the only relevance of their gender to this scene is that they are all the same so can be in the same toilet. No jokes are made about women in charge by the respectful, professional men around them. However, the minute this is hinted at, this is slapped down. A special mention must also go to Pippa Haywood as the head of another police syndicate, whose outrageous banter with Murray is almost worth the asking price alone. Continue reading
Regular viewers of pauseliveaction (hi Mum!) may remember our love of Scott and Bailey during its run of six episodes earlier this year. We were thrilled by its excellent stars Suranne Jones, Lesley Sharp and the terrific Amelia Bullmore, captivated by the intricate twists and turn and above all pleased as punch that such a realistic, level-headed portrayal of women in the workplace, their capabilities and how they relate to each other had somehow found its way onto primetime ITV.
"For when shall we three meet again?!" "October 2011, actually - don't be late."
Others agreed, with the programme averaging viewing figures somewhere between 6 and 7 million. This is no mean feat for a Sunday night, particularly as it regularly beat much-trumpeted BBC productions such as Case Histories and Stolen. And thankfully, ITV have now shown that they feel the same by announcing that Scott and Bailey will be returning to our screens for an extended run of eight further episodes. The same cast will feature, with the intriguing prospect of Amelia Bullmore contributing more to the writing.
Production will begin in October, with transmission due sometime in 2012.
ITV have also announced that Vera and Monroe will also be returning to our screens. When added to recent high-quality BBC productions such as The Hour, The Night Watch, The Crimson Petal and the White and The Shadow Line, it certainly seems to be a very encouraging time indeed for good television drama and fans of it. Long may it continue.
Posted by Velocity Girl
When I saw the previews of Scott and Bailey on ITV, my expectations weren’t high. Sure, it would be decent enough Sunday night telly, but probably leave you with that sense of slight disappointment that formulaic detective dramas often do. I was wrong. This is good stuff.
Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) and Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones) are believable characters played with immense sensitivity. Either of these actors brings something classy to a TV drama. Together, they make for compulsive viewing.
Lesley Sharp’s portrayal of Scott informing a husband that his missing wife was almost certainly the woman they had found raped and murdered in the boot of her car, was a revelation. It should be used for police training purposes demonstrating how to convey devastating news with honesty and compassion.
Suranne Jones plays Bailey, duped and dumped by her boyfriend of two years (Rupert Graves), with a mixture of scary anger and touching vulnerability. The scene mentioned above was enhanced by her sideways glances at the murdered woman’s grieving son as he sobbed on the sofa. It was a simple thing, but beautifully observed.
I’m no police officer but this seems more believable than many crime dramas. They work in a team, there are resentments and tensions, but also humour evident, and the dialogue is convincing. Continue reading