Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 649

13 25 MAY 2023 a passion,” says Suranne. “I can only honour themby continuing to be a friend and an ally.” She’s also thankful, she adds, for the way in which the show has helped restore Anne – who’d previously been somewhat erased fromhistory – to prominence, including a festival and a statue (unveiled by Suranne) in her hometown of Halifax. At 44, Suranne is enjoying being captain of her own ship. She has her own production company, TeamAkers, with her husband Laurence Akers (who shemet at Sally Lindsay’s wedding). “In a way, I’ve been doing it for 20 years,” she says. “That’s when Sally and I came up with the idea of Scott & Bailey. So it felt like a natural progression to want to develop my own ideas withmy husband. I’mmore of a creativemind, whereas he puts together… all the bits I can’t do!” She’s also acquired enough industry clout to be able to turn down work if it clashes with her seven-year-old son’s school holidays. “That’s really important,” she says. “As amother who goes away a lot to work, knowing that I can then givemy child the whole of the summer is a gift for both of us.” What’s a famous Oldham delicacy? Everyone from Oldham will know Pizza & Potato Factory [takeaway]. When I was at the Theatre Workshop, me, Antony Cotton, Lisa Riley, Jane Danson and Andrew Whyment would go down there, and it’s what it says on the tin – it’s a pizza or a jacket potato. It was delicious. What are you having for your tea? I’ve bought some pasta and prawns, so I’ll do a prawn pasta (right). I’ll probably put a bit of Philadelphia in as well. F O O D B I T E S Are you a good cook? My husband says I’m an… interesting cook. When we rst met, I used to make sandwiches for him to take to work, and his mates would all be like: ‘What’s she put in it there today?’ I tended to add things that didn’t really go with the rest of the sandwich. But you couldn’t knock my enthusiasm. ‘I didn’t go to drama school, so Corrie was part of how I learned everything – by being chucked in the deep end. I had a great time’ HAPPY TIMES Suranne (above) and with husband Laurence Akers (left), with whom she runs a production company At Christmas, she starred as amodern-day Scrooge in Sky’s family comedy Christmas Carole, partly so her son could actually watch her in something (though he had seen her read the CBeebies Bedtime Story and play the TARDIS – it’s complicated – in DoctorWho). But most of her roles tend to be “intense” – nonemore so than 2021’s Channel 4 drama I AmVictoria, a very personal collaboration with writerdirector Dominic Savage with its roots in what Suranne has called “a small nervous breakdown” she su ered in 2018. Looking back, she’s said it was probably a combination of unprocessed grief fromher mother’s death and her role in the harrowingWest End play Frozen, in which she played themother of amurdered child (and fromwhich she was forced to withdraw before the final few performances). “I wanted to put on screen what I’d been through,” she says. “And I was very lucky to have Dominic guideme in that. Some people have podcasts, but mymedium is drama, so I love to share through that.” It isn’t her only outlet, though – Suranne is a great advocate for therapy, which she first started to help her cope with the attention that came with Corrie. “I’ve been having talking therapy for years and it’s been very important for me,” she says. “It’s important we talk about mental health issues.” Maryland – which has an all-female exec team– is “a di erent way of looking at women’s issues,” she says. “It’s not as focused as something like I AmVictoria, but I think women will identify with issues of caring for someone, or feeling premenopausal or menopausal, or being dissatisfied or aggrieved with issues that haven’t been resolved.” That said, she hopes – to use TonyWarren’s phrase – both ‘women and their menfolk’ will get a lot from it. “It’s a female show that’s predominantly froma female perspective,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean it’s just for girls.” Maryland is streaming on ITVX now