‘Doctor Foster was fun,’ says Corrie ex Suranne
Corrie ex Suranne Jones tells us about the Second Series of her hit drama, doctor foster… and Shares her new love of dangerous driving!
Suranne Jones is currently wowing viewers all over again in the second series of uber-gripping BBC1 drama Doctor Foster. But although she’s playing a driven character, dead-set on getting revenge on her ex-husband, the former Corrie actress, who played Karen Mcdonald, says that having a baby last year in real life has given her fresh insight into Dr Gemma Foster. ‘obviously, you don’t have to be a mum to play one and i played mothers before becoming one myself,’ says suranne. ‘But now i am one, it’s made me realise the gravitas of what happens when a family is falling apart – like in Doctor Foster. after a day’s filming, i’d go home at night and have a baby to put to bed. it’s made me more aware of how, when a couple splits, it’s important they do everything they can not to damage their child. the children should be their priority.’ We couldn’t agree more…
How is life as a working mum?
the work-life balance is hard for everyone and i try to keep my work separate. i’m grateful that while i’ve been lucky enough to do a lot of work, i also have a lot of time off when i finish. i’m off now until christmas, so i’ll be down at the play park till then!
Why do you think people relate to your character, Gemma Foster?
she’s every woman. if you’re not her, you know someone like her. Most people have had relationships that have gone wrong and they know what it feels like to be in
the same room as an ex, especially when he or she has a new relationship.
So you think people connect with her problems?
Yes. Everyone can relate to those thoughts and feelings you have, but they don’t necessarily speak about them. Hopefully, men and women will recognise some of themselves in our story – Simon as well as Gemma. It’s uncomfortable and you keep thinking, ‘Oh my! What are they going to do?’ The drama has a weird, sexy, tense edge to it, too, which is good.
How do you manage to create that sexual tension on screen?
It’s about capturing the energy – but also the anger. What’s really interesting is that while you may hate someone, you’ve forgotten to tell your body about it. Your head says one thing, but your body says another.
Do you speak from personal experience about that?
Like I say, everyone’s had relationships that have gone wrong. Both Bertie Carvel, who plays Gemma’s ex, Simon, and I have had experiences we’ve been able to draw on. But the style of writing means that you’re able to go further with the part.
Are you pals with on-screen ex Bertie off-set?
While we were filming, I was training for a ‘planking’ challenge for charity, so I’d be exercising off-set and Bertie would ‘plank’ with me! It was annoying, as he managed it so easily. The fact you have a great relationship off-set means you’re able to go to some very dark, deep places and do good work together.
Is it a similar story with other cast members? Doctor Foster
Yes. It’s the same with actress Jodie Corner, who plays Gemma’s nemesis and Simon’s new wife, Kate. She’s so great to have around. We’re a very strong team and we love working together. This show is actually made with so much love!
How do you feel about playing Gemma Foster second time around?
I feel very fortunate to be working on a drama written by Mike Bartlett. As actors, we read scripts all the time and Mike’s are brilliant. He pushes characters, feelings and situations, and he takes you on an exciting, bizarre and unusual ride. His scripts make you feel lots of different emotions. Without being rude, there are lots of scripts that don’t inject that same excitement and enthusiasm.
Gemma seems much nastier in this series. Has she got worse?
Betrayal can make people behave badly – and Gemma doesn’t behave well. She’s been channelling anger about Simon’s infidelity and becomes dark and twisted.
Doctor Foster’s mad driving technique is certainly a bit twisted!
I had a lot of fun doing those scenes. I did all the driving myself, too. Sometimes, our director would be crouched down in the back with a monitor hidden under a cover. He got rocked around quite a bit as a result! The stunt people have asked me if I want to spend some time doing stunt driving with them. Maybe that will be me and my husband’s next date night!
Ex Simon and Kate cause further angst for Gemma Suranne as Doctor Foster is left with a bitter taste… Detective work with Lesley Sharp in ITV’S Scott & Bailey
Lady in red Suranne, with husband Laurence Akers
Suranne played Steve Mcdonald’s feisty wife, Karen, in Corrie