It’s hard to believe that, after only three series, Scott & Bailey was one of the early adopters of the concept of featuring strong female police officers. The series was pretty much the lone-wolf on the telly when it came to showcasing strong female characters in roles that were more complicated and had substance. It now seems to be much more commonplace given the recent performances of Keeley Hawes and Vicky McClure in Line of Duty, Gillian Anderson in The Fall and Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley. Based on an original idea by Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay, who plays Rachel’s sister Alison in the drama, Scott & Bailey follows two female detectives who are part of the Major Incident Team (i.e. murder investigation, etc.) in Manchester.
Jones and Lesley Sharp will reprise their roles as Rachel Bailey and Janet Scott in series 4 with the always brilliant Amelia Bullmore not only returning as DCI Gill Murray but, given co-creator Sally Wainwright’s increased workload (Last Tango in Halifax, Happy Valley), will also take over lead writer duties for series four. Bullmore admits to having taken a deep intake of breath when she watched series one of Wainwright’s other creation, Happy Valley.
“I watched it and thought, ‘God, look at that! Are we just sort of trotting around the car park here with Scott & Bailey?’” says Bullmore. “It was so intense and extreme. It was like Mummy suddenly had a Latin lover! But you have to hold your nerve. They are very different shows and Sally Wainwright made some really sound choices when she gave birth to Scott & Bailey all those years ago. So you just have to hang on to your hat.”
While cast and crew remain tight-lipped about what will transpire following the rocky end to series 3 and the relationship between the two main characters, Sharp did reveal that while her character Janet Scott will be in competition with colleague Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones) for a sergeant’s post, “…the competitiveness will not lead to a fresh bust-up”. Scott & Bailey returns on Wednesday, September 10 at 9:00pm on ITV. The series will return in early 2015 on public television stations in the States.