Here at Felix we love our TV dramas and in particular the beautiful leading ladies of British TV. So let’s have a look at some of the actresses who have graced the small screen in recent years.
British TV has always done gritty drama well but historically the main characters were always male, especially in crime drama. Think The Sweeney, The Professionals and of course Bergerac.
This all changed in the early 1990s, when Prime Suspect was launched, starring the glamorous Helen Mirren. Playing a role that dealt with not only criminal cases but also the issues surrounding women in the police force, she was a fantastic standard-bearer for the determined career woman.
Mirren was tailor-made for the role and her brilliance had a lot to do with how well the show handled hot topics such as prostitution, paedophilia and child abuse. She has gone on to great fame and fortune in films but we will always remember her role as the no-nonsense Detective Superintendent Jane Tennison. She spawned a long line of leading ladies with power and purpose.
Soap opera has been launching careers for a long time and one of our favourite actresses did her time on the cobbles of Weatherfield in Coronation Street. Suranne Jones, as Karen McDonald, made a real impact on the Street and her feisty, gutsy performances set her up well for more dramatic roles. In 2009 she spent time in the ITV three-part drama “Unforgiven”. Jones played Ruth Slater, who had been convicted of murder as a teenager and is now out of prison and looking to put her life back together.
Two years later Jones’s big break came as she landed the role of Rachel Bailey in the police drama “Scott and Bailey”, alongside Lesley Sharp. Jones was one of the creators and she was tremendous. Her aim was to create more roles for women beyond being a “wife-of”, “mother-of” or “mistress-to”.
Her performance as a talented but temperamentally flawed police officer brought many accolades and the show was extremely popular. Bailey and fellow Detective Janet Scott, played by Sharp – another great lady of TV Drama – lurch through a number of challenging cases while negotiating a rising level of chaos in their personal lives.
From Scott & Bailey, Suranne Jones went onto land more challenging roles, including another character which mental health problems, Doctor Foster. Dr Gemma Foster takes the idea of a mentally borderline professional woman to a whole new level, as she struggles with her husband’s infidelity and shady business dealings, as well as her own abrasive bedside manner. This all comes to a spectacular head when she spins out of control.
Suranne Jones was completely believable and the viewing figures of about 9.5 million per episode were evidence of her achievement.
Doctor Foster returns later in 2017 and we can’t wait to see Suranne Jones in action again.