In the world of TV, there are a group of actors that command our attention – and require us to watch anything they’re in immediately – in a way that only superb acting talent can.
From Ozark’s Julia Garner, Landscapers’ Olivia Colman and The Split’s Nicola Walker, women taking the helm of some of our most beloved series is what we love to see. Another standout actor to add to our ever-growing list is Suranne Jones, who has long been one of our on-screen favourites.
Rising to prominence in beloved ITV soap opera Coronation Street, the recent Remarkable Women Award winner has continued to wow us in a variety of different roles – all thought-provoking performances that have cemented her as one of the nation’s favourite actors.
As of now, we’re waiting eagerly for news on the second season of BBC One’s Vigil but have been thoroughly enjoying Jones’ return in Gentleman Jack. As we make our way through the new series, now’s the best time look back at the other roles we’ve come to know Jones for.
If you’re a long-time fan of Jones or perhaps aren’t as familiar with her repertoire, have no fear as our handy guide to her best performances is just a scroll away. Enjoy.
For many of us, this 2015 drama remains one of our favourite psychological thrillers – and for good reason. The BBC One drama saw Jones star as the titular Doctor Gemma Foster who suspects that her husband (Bertie Carvel) is having an affair. It’s the stuff of relationship nightmares but Foster turns into quite the detective – despite her husband’s continuous gaslighting – and uncovers the truth: that her husband has been having a two-year-long affair with his friend’s 20-something year old daughter Kate (played by Jodie Comer).
What ensues is a lot of drama, a fair share of revenge and pettiness that we can only sit back in awe of. While we’re sad that the series has no plans to make a comeback after its two season run, you can watch Life on BBC iPlayer (which doesn’t star Jones) for an equally engaging spin-off.
Doctor Foster is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video now.
The high-octane crime drama that swept over the nation last year still remains at the top of our list of favourite recent dramas. It was also BBC’s most-watched drama of 2021 so there’s no wonder it’s been renewed for a second season.
The submarine-based series followed DCI Amy Silva (Jones) as she tries to investigate the mysterious murder of a crew member aboard HMS Vigil. The nuclear submarine must remain on patrol as part of its highly important mission so Silva is forced to join the submarine to conduct her enquiries.
As well as being met with closed doors and a crew that doesn’t want to co-operate, Silva must also navigate past trauma and a fledgling relationship with fellow police officer Kirsten (played by Game Of Thrones’ Rose Leslie). If you like your crime dramas tense, dramatic and a little claustrophobic, this one’s for you.
Vigil is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.
I Am Victoria
The acclaimed Channel 4 anthology series may have just confirmed that Kate Winslet (and her daughter) will be starring in its next series but Jones’ episode was a standout for a multitude of reasons when it first aired last year.
Each episode is created, written and directed by Bafta award-winning filmmaker Dominic Savage alongside the lead actor – and explores the experiences of women in situations that are “emotionally raw, thought-provoking and personal”.
Jones’ episode – entitled I Am Victoria – tells the story of a woman who appears to have the perfect family, job and home. But beneath the veneer of happiness, something is wrong. It’s a role that saw Jones get lots of critical acclaim (and also starred Top Boy’s Ashley Walters) but was also a deeply moving portrayal of teetering on the edge of a breakdown that many can empathise with.
I Am Victoria is available to stream on All4 now.
As previously mentioned, the second series of the period drama is back and we couldn’t be more excited to see what’s in store for lesbian landowner Anne Lister (Jones).
Gentleman Jack series one was a hit for BBC One and iPlayer and averaged 6.8 million viewers across its eight-episode run. It also won the RTS Drama Series award and received Bafta nominations in the drama series category, as well as the leading actress category for Jones’ stellar performance as Lister.
This series continues to follow Anne and her partner Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle) as they set up home together at Shibden Hall as wife and wife, determined to combine their estates and become a power couple. Anne’s entrepreneurial spirit frightens the locals as much as her unconventional love life and, with Halifax on the brink of revolution, her refusal to keep a low profile becomes provocative and dangerous.
Gentleman Jack series two airs on Sundays at 9pm, with episodes available to stream on BBC iPlayer now.
Save Me and Save Me Too
Lennie James (of Line Of Duty series one fame, if you cast your mind back) wrote, created and starred in this 2018 Sky Atlantic drama which follows the disappearance of his character’s estranged child Jody.
Jones stars as former lover and Jody’s mother, Claire McGory, who helps the mysterious investigation but really, it’s her performance as a grief-stricken mother that truly stands out in this series.
While we know Jones can act her heart out when it comes to delivering big emotions, in this series she plays a middle-class mother in affluent surroundings. But it’s her more subtle approach to loss and heartbreak that makes this one of our favourite performances from Jones.
Save Me and Save Me Too are available to stream on Sky Go now.
Scott & Bailey
For many of us, we grew used to seeing Jones on our screen as Detective Rachel Bailey in this popular ITV drama before her more recent roles.
The long-running series followed Bailey and Detective Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) and their personal and professional lives working in the Syndicate Nine Major Incident Team (MIT) of the fictional Manchester Metropolitan Police. If you like Happy Valley, chances are that you’ll love Scott & Bailey as both female-led police dramas are written by Sally Wainwright.
Scott & Bailey is available to purchase or rent via YouTube, Google and Amazon Prime Video.
It’s a little unsettling to think that this standout drama aired all the way back in 2010 but it was a hit at the time and not only has Jones in it, but also David Tennant. What more could you want from a BBC drama?
The four-episode series follows Dave (Tennant) who is navigating life as a single father after the tragic death of his partner Rita (The Pact’s Laura Fraser). He’s a fledgling photographer who has to look after his children by himself but is also comforted by Rita’s best friend, Sarah (Jones). What ensues is a complicated romance between the two and a lot of family drama.
Single Father is available to purchase via Apple TV or Amazon Prime Video.
In the second series of this BBC drama, Jones plays the role of yet another police officer. This time round, though, she finds herself in a series of unfortunate events.
What appears to be a suicidal train jumper case is a lot more than it seems and as DC Laurie Franklin (Jones) tries to tie up loose ends, she finds herself embroiled in a case of gangland activities, Islamophobia and a workplace romance with DI Mal Craig (David Morrissey).
If there’s one thing that Jones does superbly, it’s bringing tension and drama to each scene which makes this 2010 drama one that’s easy to lap up.
Five Days is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
The Crimson Field
This period drama sees Jones take on a different kind of role and in this series, she stars as Sister Joan Livesey, one of the Voluntary Aid Detachments (VAD) on the French front during the first world war.
While the French field hospital of the series is fictional, this series is actually based on a true story – just with fictional characters. Jones’ character is lively, political, a suffragist and, more than anything, doesn’t mind rocking the boat with her hopes of modernising medicine as a VAD.
This series was actually Jones’ first foray into the world of period drama and speaking to the BBC about her role, she said: “I don’t know why I’ve never done a period drama before. I’ve been filming now for 15 or 16 years – it’s just the script I guess. The right script and the right time.”
Notable mention: Maryland
We may be slightly cheating with this inclusion but we couldn’t ignore ITV’s Maryland when speaking about Jones.
The recently commissioned relationship drama will not only star Jones but she is also producing it. It’s set to be a moving three-part series which will explore the dynamic of two sisters, Becca and Rosaline, who have grown apart over the years because of “complex family dynamics”, according to the synopsis. The pair have become estranged, wrapped up in their own lives but “through tragic events learn to love and respect one another all over again”.
The sisters have grown distant “through time and circumstance” but “when the body of an older woman is discovered at sunrise on Laxey Beach in the Isle of Man, it brings devastating news for the sisters”.
It’s set to be raw, emotional and a highly relatable subject matter for many and we may need the tissues but we can’t wait to watch. With filming due to commence soon, we’re sure it’s just a matter of time before we know when it’ll be coming to our screens.
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