Scott And Bailey, ITV, Wednesday

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Scott and Bailey returns to ITV tonight, for the first of eight new episodes.

A few months into her marriage, Rachel (Suranne Jones) is already struggling with the relentless proximity of living with Sean (Sean Maguire). Knowing that she is the one at fault, she would rather try and keep out of the way than confront the problem. Cheerful and sexy as ever, Sean is happy to embrace every facet of his new wife, including the door-slamming grump who comes through the door at the end of the day.

Delighted with being back in her daughter’s life, Rachel’s mum Sharon (Tracie Bennett) starts to display the sort of behaviour that reminds Rachel why she was right to have kept her at arm’s length all these years.

Janet’s (Lesley Sharp) home life isn’t plain sailing either. Having acknowledged that their marriage really is over, she and Ade (Tony Pitts) decide to put their house on the market, and stay living together until it sells. But even though Janet knows she doesn’t want Ade, she can’t help wanting a bit of what he’s got – a new love interest who’s putting a smile on his face. And the demands of her new role as ‘acting sergeant’ mean that juggling child-care has just got even harder.

As you can tell from the synopsis, Scott and Bailey’s success – it’s now on its third series – has always been down to the strong emphasis Sally Wainwright places on the private lives of the women alongside the crime element.

Scott and Bailey wasn’t actually Wainwright’s idea. The series was mooted by Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay, both formerly of Coronation Street, who were fed up with the lack of opportunity for leading roles for women. Lindsay was originally due to play Scott until she became pregnant, and Lesley Sharp stepped in.

And if three powerhouse actresses aren’t enough for this series – Jones, Sharp and Amelia Bullmore as their DCI – Nicola Walker has joined the case as a murder suspect.

Crime writer Cath Staincliffe has also produced two Scott and Bailey novels, which are available now — Dead To Me and most recently, Bleed Like Me, which is available in paperback on May 23.

UPDATE: 

And while we’re on the subject of television, today the BBC announced that it’s taking Shetland to series. Here’s some words from a press release:

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Powerful murder-mystery drama Shetland has been re-commissioned by BBC One for a second series in collaboration with BBC Scotland and produced by ITV Studios.

Following its successful two-part debut last month, Shetland will return for a second run as a bigger six-part series with Douglas Henshall returning to the lead role as Detective Jimmy Perez.

Made by ITV Studios and based on the novels by acclaimed writer Ann Cleeves, the next series will focus on the three of the remaining stories from Ann’s Shetland Series – Raven Black, Dead Water and Blue Lightning – told as three two-part (2 x 60-minute) episodes.

Raven Black will be written by Gaby Chiappe (The Paradise, Vera), Dead Water by David Kane (Rebus, Field Of Blood, This Year’s Love) and Blue Lightning by Richard Davidson (Silent Witness, EastEnders).

Over two nights, the debut series attracted a combined audience of over 12 million viewers. Filming on the second series of ‘Shetland’ will take place in the coming months on Shetland and other Scottish locations.

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