Words by Bethany McLean for Female First
Suranne Jones has revealed her life changed when she became a mother, as she admits she feels fortunate to have a job where she can take time off to spend time with her son.
The BAFTA award-winning actress has enjoyed a stunningly successful career that included her command performance in the hit BBC drama Doctor Foster and now she is back on our screens for season two of Save Me on Sky Atlantic.
“I know how lucky I am to be able to say when I want time off, but when you get a script like this in Save Me, you want to take it and do your best work," said the former Coronation Street star. "I take time out and have good breaks where I get to be Mum and nothing else. Afterwards, I go back to doing some work. It’s a luxury, I know that.
"It’s easier now I am a Mum because as soon as you walk through the door, you have duties and you want to be switched on completely for them. I am very grateful for the opportunities I have. My philosophy has always been to put 100% in.
"Whenever I feel like I’m getting fed up I ask myself, what would my 16-year-old self-feel like? Well, she’d feel so grateful. She’d be like: 'Wow, you did so well'.
"So that keeps me grounded. I’m in and very fortunate position in my career and always keep that in mind. I have a chance in my career to pick and choose the roles I take.
"You read a script and you know if you need to do it or not. Everything starts with the writing. I just look for really good stories."
Written by her co-star and Line Of Duty veteran Lennie James, Save Me Too continues the story of the search for the couple's daughter Jody after she is snatched by sex traffickers, with the twists and turns in the second instalment of the gritty London-based drama producing a big ratings winner for Sky Atlantic after the show was released during the coronavirus lockdown.
"Lennie had said that he felt this was always the story and the first one was the set-up," continued Jones. "He had to write Save Me to then write this one. We were all very aware of that. We were like, ‘Oh, so what’s the story you want to write?’ He didn’t really tell us. So none of us knew but we all signed up to do it again.
"You look around at the cast. They’re just so great. I’ve been watching what they’re all doing away from here and they’re all really up-and-coming. So why wouldn’t you sign on to do it?
"You always wonder, ‘I hope the ending’s good.’ You don’t want to invest in something and that not be the case but he’s written a really brilliant ending. It’s intriguing and interesting and a bit shocking. All the things that you want.
"For me, I was like ok I’ve signed onto this because I want the outcome but I’m playing a grieving mother again so what is he going to do with that for me? Interestingly the end of season one left Claire and Nelly together holding hands in the car. Really that’s what they’d like to be – together. I do think they love each other quite deeply, but they don’t belong together."
The hunt for Jody in Save Me Too takes Suranne's character into dark places and as a mother, she admits the subject matter is close to her heart.
"It is upsetting because Lennie doesn’t pull any punches," she adds. "The way he writes is quite brutal. Honestly brutal, but I think that’s great. I think it should be. For me, it was just nice to come back to this crowd and to finish the story off.
"I made the TV series The Secret of Crickley Hall where my character lost a child so I did a lot with grief counsellors then.
"Then when I did Frozen in the West End I did a lot with mothers with missing children. More than I would have liked to have really. So I think I’ve done my fair share. Also the first series of this we did look into what it’s like when you lose a child and there is reported child abuse because Claire hears the tape from the police of Jody’s phone call to them saying to someone, ‘Don’t hurt me.’ Claire is desperate now.
"So it’s kind of good if I go in not knowing what the outcome will be. I’m taking the character from last year who is stuck in time. Everyone else has kind of moved on a bit but I’ve not. I’m just doing stuff that the script is telling me to do. Even as an actor if you’d normally go, ‘Really? She does this?’ I’ve not questioned anything. She just does. That’s what she’s doing. And then the last three episodes of Save Me Too are very different because big things happen."
Both Save Me and Save Me Too are available to download on Sky now.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: Lennie James discusses the first season of Save Me
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