As she returns in her award-winning role of Dr Foster, Suranne Jones is juggling acting with a much happier home life than her alter ego!
“They are in such an uncomfortable position that something has to give”
She won a prestigious BAFTA Best Actress award for the gripping TV drama series, Doctor Foster, playing GP Gemma Foster, who becomes increasingly unstable after discovering her husband is having an affair with a younger woman. But Suranne Jones tells us that she had to be persuaded to return to do a second series.
“I wasn’t sure about doing it,” she admits, “but the writer, Mike Bartlett, explained to me that he wanted it to be a different story about what happens to the couple after their divorce and having to look after a child together. He said this kind of follow-up was seldom seen on TV, and I thought that was intriguing.
“The first series was about her breakdown, being manipulative and out of control. Two years have passed and there are no secrets to unfold but there is a lot of anger, bitterness and hatred. Emotions are so tightly wound because there is a child involved and so they have been keeping things in. They want to be seen to be dealing well with their divorce but underneath is this horrendous turning of a screw.
“By the final episode, they are in such an uncomfortable position that something has to give.”
The first series was a big hit with viewers even though Suranne says she was worried that it wouldn’t have mass appeal.
“At that time, family and relationship dramas were not very popular when it came to getting commissioned for TV. It was more about cop shows, thrillers, murders. But although Gemma is an ‘everywoman’ Doctor Foster had an element of the investigative thing going through it and I think that is why it was commissioned.”
Might she be back for a third?
“Personally, no. I am booked up with work until September 2018. I am doing a film for TV at the end of the year, then theatre until May and then on television until December and after that I am taking a break to spend some time with my son.
“I feel like Gemma, Simon and Tom’s story will have been told by the end of this. It’s good for people to wonder what happens next but I don’t think you then have to tell that story.”
Suranne, 39, gave birth to her first child with husband Laurence Akers in March 2016. Just two months later she attended the BAFTA awards and admits that it was all a little too much.
“I had an eight week old baby boy but I wanted to go because I’d been nominated and it was the highlight of my career,” she says.
“The day of the award was very hot and I had been taking my baby with me to various dress fittings, feeding him in between and it was all just crazy.
“I had practised a speech in case I won but when my name was called out and Tom Hiddleston handed me the award I was all over the
place and said, ‘I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve just had a baby!’
“The following morning I put my husband’s bow-tie on our son’s baby-grow, placed the BAFTA award by his side and took a photograph and it is just the best picture because it says it all for me. What was really going on in my life was that I was a mum and the BAFTA at any other time would have been a wonder ful moment, but it was too much to cope with.”
Suranne, who came to prominence as Karen MacDonald in Coronation Street, is known for playing gritty, emotional characters including DC Rachel Bailey in Scott & Bailey and Ruth Slater in Unforgiven but she says that this is per fectly balanced by the lighter side of being a mum.
“I spend a lot of time running around playparks and being a Tellytubby or doing Peppa Pig impressions!” she laughs. “So, there is a lot of
lightness in my life and you will find me and my husband are very good at kids’ songs WindtheBobbinUp and Hop Little Bunny, Hop, Hop, Hop.
“We have a trampoline in the garden and our son loves us taking him on it but us two oldies are like, ‘Oh no. We’ve been on it for half an hour. Please stop!’”
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