Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 649

1 1 25 MAY 2023 It’s nearly two years since DCI Amy Silva narrowly escaped a watery grave aboardHMS Vigil. But when Weekend catches up with Suranne Jones at home in north London, she’s back in the belly of the beast (metaphorically speaking), submerged beneath scripts for the hit conspiracy thriller’s second series. “I’m trying to get through them, andmy attention is all over the place,” she admits, cheerfully. “I find it really hard, just before I’mabout to do a job, and I’ve a lot of episodes to get intomy head. But it’s all good.” With an audience of more than 13million, Vigil – which saw the troubled inspector Silva conducting amurder investigation in the claustrophobic confines of a nuclear submarine running deep o the Scottish coast – was the UK’s most-watched new drama launch for three years. “I loved the way people were invested in it,” Suranne says. “I think, after lockdown, people just needed that sort of heightened drama. And the fact it was weekly – it wasn’t all there for us, so it became a real talking point as each episode went out.” That said, it was such a – literally – self-contained story, even its biggest fans (of which I’d count myself one) could be forgiven for being sceptical about how a second series might possibly work. And they’re not the only ones. “I needed convincing, for sure,” says Suranne. “Because Vigil was the submarine, and… it’s not on a submarine, is the short answer.” Are they putting you on a space shuttle or something this time? “Er, that would be interesting. But no.” In fact, the BBC has revealed that the next series will see Amy and her colleague-lover, Rose Leslie’s DI Kirsten Longacre, investigating “the hostile and closed ranks of the RAF”. Before that, though, we’ll see Suranne in a very di erent proposition, as the star and cocreator of new ITVX drama Maryland. The series, written by Anne-Marie O’Connor, begins with a woman’s body being discovered on a beach on the Isle of Man, which proves to be a double shock for her daughters – down-to-earthmother of two Becca (Suranne) and her high-flying sister Rosaline (Eve Best) – who had no idea their mother had been leading a secret double life on the island for years. If that sounds like the premise for your standard schlocky ‘psychological thriller’, then the good news is Maryland eschews the usual ‘twisted web of secrets and lies’ clichés in favour of somethingmore real and honest. If Vigil was ‘heightened drama’, this is muchmore grounded, in both senses of the word. “We just felt we wanted tomake a kind of old-fashioned drama that concentrated on a family,” explains Suranne. “We didn’t want any extra bells and whistles that weren’t needed. That’s howwemanaged to get [Line of Duty director] Sue Tully on board. She said: ‘When I read it, I kept expecting it to be something else, and it wasn’t. It’s just about what it’s about.’ We wanted tomake it a sensational story, but froma very ordinary perspective. “When you pull back the curtain onmost families, there are stories like this,” she adds. “It’s a universal thing – the way