Paul Marquess

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Paul Marquess
Born 23 June 1964 (1964-06-23) (age 50)
Belfast, Northern Ireland,
United Kingdom
Nationality British
Ethnicity White British
Occupation TV Producer
Years active 1997-present
Television Hollyoaks
The Bill
Family Affairs
Footballers' Wives
Suspects (TV series)

Paul Marquess (born 23 June 1964) is a Northern Irish-born British television producer.


Paul Marquess is a British television drama producer, whose credits include Brookside, The Bill, Family Affairs, Hollyoaks, Crime Stories (UK TV Series) and more recently Suspects (TV series) for Channel 5. He also originated the idea for the series Footballers' Wives. He currently holds the post of managing director of Newman Street, a label of Fremantlemedia.

Early TV Career[edit]

Paul Marquess began his career in 1996 as a storyliner on Coronation Street before developing and producing various drama for Granada television. He then landed a job as series producer on Brookside, working alongside Phil Redmond. It was during this time that Marquess conceived the idea for Footballers' Wives; originally entitled 'Cheshire Wives', Marquess felt it lacked a hook until he saw Victoria Beckham on TV.[1]

The Bill[edit]

In 2002, Paul Marquess took over as executive producer of The Bill with a clear brief from network bosses at ITV to shift the series away from stand-alone episodes to a more serialised format in an attempt to attract a younger demographic. The move caused controversy amongst many die-hard fans after Marquess fired a number of veteran characters and introduced more sensational storylines that explored issues such as serial murder, gang rape and domestic violence.[2][3]

For the first time, the show also focused on the regulars’ private lives, including the contentious screening of a gay kiss between two uniformed officers,[4] drug addiction and corruption within the police service. However, Paul also remained true to the spirit of The Bill’s original 1983 pilot “Wooden Top”, returning to an over-the-shoulder shooting style. Ratings climbed from 5 million to a regular audience of 8 million, and earned the show a Television Bafta and Rose d’Or nomination in 2003.[5][6]

In 2005, the show’s consistently high ratings led to commercial interest from Channel 5, prompting ITV to offer an unprecedented 5 year re-commission until 2010, guaranteeing its place in the TV schedules long after Paul had departed TalkBackThames.[7] It was also during this time that Paul created The Bill spin-off series MIT: Murder Investigation Team, which ran for two series.[8]

Family Affairs[edit]

In 2003, Paul was promoted to Head of Drama at TalkbackThames and took over as Executive producer of Channel 5’s tea-time soap, Family Affairs. The show won best storyline at The British Soap Awards in 2005 for the sexual abuse of Chloe Costello by a young family friend and best dramatic performance for Kazia Pelka.[9] However, despite maintaining a loyal audience of 1 million viewers, Channel 5 axed the show shortly after Paul Marquess left TalkbackThames, saying that the soap had come to the end of its natural lifespan.[10]


In 2010, after a period developing new projects for Endemol and BBC Worldwide,[11][12] Paul succeeded Lucy Allan as series producer on Channel 4’s ailing teen soap.[13] Paul inevitably cemented his reputation as an “axeman” after culling 11 cast members as part of a major revamp,.[14] However, Paul also introduced a raft of new characters, including the show’s first mixed-race family.[15] Paul also hired Emmett J. Scanlan to play anti-hero Brendan Brady, who proved an immediate hit with the “Hollyoaks” audience. Emmett went on to win Best Villain and Best Newcomer at The British Soap Awards the following year [16]

In 2011, Paul stood down from “Hollyoaks” but stayed on at Lime Pictures to storyline the second series of The Only Way is Essex for ITV2. It was this experience that inspired Paul to combine the structured reality production model with more traditional drama narrative techniques.

Crime Stories[edit]

In 2012, Paul Marquess co-created police procedural, “Crime Stories” (initially entitled "True Crime") with writers Steve Hughes and Darren Fairhurst,.[17] The 20 x 1 hour series was made by Paul’s new production company, Newman Street, and was radical in its approach: although heavily storylined, each episode was entirely unscripted, allowing the actors to improvise the dialogue, giving the show a hyper-naturalistic feel. Set almost entirely in a police station, “Crime Stories” was filmed as though a documentary crew were following two CID officers as they investigated a standalone case each week. The show was all the more remarkable for its regular cast: Paul hired Jane Antrobus, a recently retired Detective Chief Superintendent from the Greater Manchester Police, in her first screen role to play Detective Inspector Jane Preston alongside soap actor Ben Hull as sidekick DS Ben Shaw.[18]

Whilst the series received mixed reviews, ratings were consistent at 900,000 viewers per episode, holding well against BBC1 daytime soap, Doctors.[19] ITV failed to commission a second series, citing daytime budget constraints.


The following year, Channel 5 commissioned Newman Street to produce a police procedural, the broadcaster’s first original drama for eight years.[20] Building on the drama/documentary hybrid format, "Suspects" was filmed in a less obtrusive fly-on-the wall documentary style than "Crime Stories", but still relied on the actors to improvise the dialogue based on a tightly plotted storylines.

The show was shot entirely on location in East London, starring Fay Ripley, Damien Molony and Clare-Hope Ashitey. The first series premiered in February 2014 to wide ranging critical acclaim,.[21][22][23][24]

Series 2 is due for transmission in August 2014, whilst Series 3 will be aired in early 2015 [25]


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External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Lucy Allan
Series producer of Hollyoaks
Succeeded by
Gareth Phillips