“It’s messy!” Suranne Jones talks Doctor Foster season 2 in our BTS BAFTA interview
She’s arguably the most beloved TV actress in the country right now, so it was really no surprise that Scott and Bailey star Suranne Jones would win the BAFTA TV Award for Best Leading Actress for her work in the remarkable BBC One drama, Doctor Foster. We had the pleasure of speaking to the jubilant Suranne as she came off the stage with her shiny new trophy. Here’s what she had to tell us about Doctor Foster‘s success, what we can expect from season two, and whether we might be seeing her on the West End stage any time soon.
Were you aware when you first signed on to Doctor Foster that it would become such a phenomenon?
Suranne Jones: “Well Mike Bartlett was attached, so I thought it might be special, and then I went to speak to Drama Republic and Mike about what I felt about the script, and immediately I thought: ‘Oh, you’re a real collaborative team! You want to know what my feelings are as the woman that’s going to play the character’. Mike wanted to meet someone before he started to write for them, and then we struck up a great relationship. He met with me, talked about the episodes, and then he would do rewrites after our meetings, which doesn’t [usually] happen! So I felt very much a part of the team.
“I didn’t know whether an audience would come to a drama about affairs, and I just felt like it might be a niche programme that people wouldn’t get behind. Well, now I see that it’s a fascinating programme, but at the time I didn’t think that people wouldn’t come to it. And they did, in droves!”
So when did you become aware that you had such a big hit on your hands?
“It was a slow burner, so by episode three people were stopping me on the street, and people were telling me that it was ‘trending’. I’m so rubbish with technology that it was my husband who had to tell me about Twitter, because I’m not on it. Then I really started to think ‘Wow, this is something big’! By the time the finale came, I started to watch it in a different way. I don’t like to watch my things, but by the end of the finale I got behind the characters in a [more] removed way than I was before. That was quite exciting, because I don’t watch my programmes like that. But because everyone else got behind it, I did.”
Suranne plays Gemma Foster, a GP whose life is torn apart when she learns of her husband’s affair.
What stage is season two of Doctor Foster at right now?
“I’m associate producing this time, so I’m very much a part of it, and I think that because we were a great team the first time around, they’ve allowed me to do that, which is wonderful. Again, that doesn’t really happen for actors, so I thank Drama Republic and the BBC for that. I’ve read episode one, and I’m due episode two and three this week coming! At first I didn’t know whether there should be a series two, but Mike always wanted to write the aftermath of a divorce, which I think is never shown on TV in drama, because people break up, have a divorce, and then that’s the end of the show. Now, we get to look at what actually happens when two people have to live with each other, and parent a child. It’s messy!”
“I’m quite emotional, because I’ve just had a child, so that doesn’t really help! But I’m absolutely thrilled, and still in shock” – Suranne Jones
How has having a child influenced your approach to acting?
“I think I’ll find out! Me and my husband were watching Ruth Madeley’s clip [from Don’t Take My Baby], and we both started to tear up, because I guess things do affect you in a different way. What’s wonderful about taking some time off with my family is that I get to have a new life experience, which I think actors should have all the time. Working solidly, you don’t get those. So I’ll find out what all this new ‘mummyness’ will bring to my role!”
Will we be seeing you back on the West End stage any time soon?
“Actually, a brilliant company had a conversation and asked me what I would like to do, so we’re actually just checking out some other actresses for something next year, hopefully. Fingers crossed!”
Watch the full interview with Suranne Jones below: