|Born||Sarah Anne Jones
27 August 1978
Suranne Jones (born Sarah Anne Jones; 27 August 1978) is an English actress. She first rose to prominence playing the role of Karen McDonald in ITV1's soap opera Coronation Street over a period of four years. In 2004, she left Coronation Street, finding herself looking to experience different roles and present herself as a more capable actress. Upon leaving, Jones took on roles in drama series broadcasts on ITV1, including Vincent, Strictly Confidential and Harley Street.
Jones's role as a woman convicted of the murder of two police officers in Unforgiven garnered her critical acclaim and her subsequent roles in the BBC One dramas Five Days and Single Father were also well received. Since 2011, Jones has starred in Scott & Bailey as DC Rachel Bailey, with the television series being an original idea conceived by Jones herself and fellow actress Sally Lindsay. Jones also received acclaim for her portrayal of a humanoid incarnation of the iconic TARDIS in a 2011 episode of long-running BBC science fiction series Doctor Who. In addition to her television career, Jones is also a stage performer, having acted in productions of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls and Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit among others.
Jones was born Sarah Anne Jones in Chadderton, Oldham, on 27 August 1978, the daughter of Chris and Jenny Jones, an engineer and a secretary, respectively. She also has a sibling, an older brother named Gary. Jones was brought up a Catholic; her priest suggested to her father she be christened Sarah Anne, instead of Suranne, her great-grandmother's name, as Suranne was not "a proper name". Jones grew up in a house on Foxdenton Lane, surrounded by two farms and their fields and commented that one of her earliest memories is of "cows looking in the window as we ate our tea". As a child she was talkative, and later recounted that her priest would say to her: "I'm praying you can concentrate just a bit more". Jones suffers from carpophobia (fear of wrists), which she believes possibly developed from viewing imagery of Christ's crucifixion and stigmata as a child.
Jones was educated at Cardinal Langley Roman Catholic High School. Talking of her childhood, Jones commented that "I think I always wanted to be different and felt very stifled at school". Jones also said: "I was bullied at school and I let that get hold of me and withdrew into myself — I regret letting that happen". She became a member of the Oldham Theatre Workshop, where she befriended Antony Cotton, who now plays Sean Tully on Coronation Street. She completed a BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts, though she felt "that [wasn't] quite the same as drama school".
Jones began acting professionally aged 16. Andrew Billen of The Times, while acknowledging her professional career beginnings at 16, noted that "she took to the stage at 8". Jones later recalled that her first role was at the age of 8, in Wait Until Dark as Gloria. Upon joining the trade union Equity, Jones took on the stage name 'Suranne', as her birth name was already taken, and union rules dictate that each union member must have a different name. Having secured herself an agent aged 15, she soon after began to act in the theatre. Jones's television career began, however, in 1997, where she had a very small role in Coronation Street in April 1997 as Mandy Phillips, a girlfriend of Chris Collins (Matthew Marsden). She was then cast in a television advert for Maltesers, guest starred in episodes of series such as City Central and had a small role in My Wonderful Life. She auditioned for the role of Charity Dingle on the soap opera Emmerdale, becoming one of the final four actors considered for the part, though the role was eventually given to Emma Atkins. She also auditioned for the part of Geena Gregory on Coronation Street, though she felt she knew Jennifer James would win the role—which she did—upon seeing her at the auditions.
In 2000, some weeks after her unsuccessful audition for Geena Gregory, Jones was contacted by Coronation Street bosses, who offered her a part of a new character. Jones took on the role of Karen Phillips (no relation to Mandy), making her first appearance on 21 June. The character, after marrying Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson), took on his surname, and became Karen McDonald. Described as "a bulldog in hoop earrings" and a "Victoria Beckham wannabe", the role garnered Jones public attention, with episodes involving feuds between her and rival Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford) receiving millions of viewers; the episode featuring Karen and Steve's (second) wedding, ruined by Tracy Barlow's revelation that her daughter Amy Barlow was Steve's love child, received 16.3 million viewers. Jones also began modelling for men's magazines such as FHM and Loaded, saying: "I was 21, and within three weeks of me joining Corrie I was in Barbados doing a bikini shoot [...] I was quite impressionable and I'd just say yes to everything because I wanted to keep my job. The press officer is saying: 'Do this and you'll be the new young funky sexy girl.' We were all doing it at that time, but I realised quite quickly that I needed to concentrate on what I was doing".
In May 2004, it was announced that Jones was to leave Coronation Street after four years of playing Karen. She described working on a soap opera as "exhausting", remarking, "I was living and breathing Karen McDonald". She made her last appearance as Karen on Boxing Day 2004. Of her tenure as Karen McDonald on Coronation Street, Jones later remarked: "I just thought, while she's brilliant and I'm enjoying her, I've got to get out".
Jones stated that upon her departure from Coronation Street, that she received numerous offers to appear in reality TV programmes, which she declined, quipping: "lots of money to go off and eat a crocodile's knob, or whatever". Ignoring reality TV offers, in autumn 2005, Jones starred in an ITV's detective drama series Vincent, with Ray Winstone in the title role; this was Jones's first television role since leaving Coronation Street the previous year. In the same year, she starred on the West End stage in A Few Good Men opposite Rob Lowe and John Barrowman, which earned her the Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also appeared in the musical special Celebrate Oliver! which was screened on BBC1. In 2006, she starred as Snow White in the pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the Manchester Opera House alongside Justin Moorhouse and fellow Coronation Street actor John Savident. She also appeared in Kay Mellor's Strictly Confidential in which she played a bisexual sex therapist.
On New Year's Day 2007, Jones starred in a Yorkshire and London based black comedy, Dead Clever with Helen Baxendale and Dean Lennox Kelly on ITV1. In autumn 2007, Jones undertook a national tour in the stage run of the film Terms of Endearment, where she played Emma, opposite Linda Gray and John Bowe. In 2008 she played Martha, one of the female leads, in the ITV medical series Harley Street. Her performance drew mixed reviews, with one critic commenting on a "ludicrous" received pronunciation accent that the character possessed; the programme's tepid critical reception, combined with poor viewer ratings signalled the end of the programme after its first series.
In January 2009, Jones appeared in Unforgiven, a three-part drama on ITV1, where she plays Ruth Slater, a woman released from prison after serving a 15-year prison sentence for the murder of two policemen. Naturally brown-haired, Jones dyed her hair "tobacco yellow" with "big roots"; Jones joked that whilst not filming she "really should have worn a wig". Additionally, the character of Ruth wore no make-up throughout, with Jones stating she was left feeling "quite exposed", but nonetheless saying "Ruth wouldn't have worn any make-up, I don't think". Jones received favourable reviews for her portrayal, with Brian Viner of The Independent writing: "a stunning performance, the stuff of Bafta nominations if ever I saw it. Heck, on the back of it she might even get propelled into the movies, and bring a bit of North Country sense to the Golden Globes". Viner summarised his review of Unforgiven by stating, "Five stars all round, and six for Jones". Jones later stated, "I loved that role. They don't come along that often. It was seen by the broadsheets as well as the tabloids. It gave me a little bit of credibility, I suppose".
Later in the year, in November, she played the role of the Mona Lisa in the two-part episode "Mona Lisa's Revenge" in The Sarah Jane Adventures. In December, Jones starred in the Manchester Royal Exchange's production of Blithe Spirit, by Noël Coward, which ran until late January 2010. Jones was nominated for the Times Breakthrough Award at the 2010 South Bank Show Awards, the last ever ceremony, but lost to David Blandy. When discussing her nomination she said, "You do question 'What am I breaking through?' Am I breaking through the perception of people who just thought I was a screaming banshee in Coronation Street? Is it that I've worked hard and I've got better? Is it that now it's alright to say that I'm alright? I don't know what I was breaking through, but I knew that it was nice to feel included and patted on the back for a lot of hard work". Jones was described by Andrew Billen of The Times as being in a category of "those brave, talented few who earn their wings on a soap and then fly gloriously beyond it". In March 2010 Jones starred in Five Days, a non-connected sequel to the 2007 series of the same name, as the female lead DC Laurie Franklin. Later in the year, she starred as Sarah in Single Father on BBC1, a character who falls in love with a widower, Dave (David Tennant), who was married to her best friend before her death.
In May 2011, Jones played the central character of Idris in the Doctor Who episode "The Doctor's Wife". Jones was cast due to writer Neil Gaiman wanting an actress, in the words of Jones, who is "odd; beautiful but strange-looking, and quite funny" to play the role of Idris. Dan Martin, reviewer for The Guardian, noted that "Suranne Jones arguably sets the standard by which all guest stars must now be judged here [...] Jones was electrifying throughout". Later, Jones played DC Rachel Bailey in ITV's detective series, Scott & Bailey, opposite Lesley Sharp, who plays DC Janet Scott. The series is based upon an original idea by Jones and Sally Lindsay, her former Coronation Street co-star. Scott & Bailey returned in 2012 for a second series. In July 2011, Jones starred as Marlene, a career-woman living in Thatcher's Britain, in the Minerva Theatre's production of Top Girls by Caryl Churchill in Chichester. Michael Billington, reviewer for The Guardian, remarked that "Suranne Jones captures excellently the hidden regrets of the go-getting Marlene". The production was later transferred to the West End's Trafalgar Studios. In August 2011, it was announced that Jones would star alongside John Hannah in a spoof detective drama written by Charlie Brooker and Daniel Maier called A Touch of Cloth. The programme aired in August 2012 on Sky1. Jones plays DC Anne Oldman, the "plucky, no-nonsense sidekick" of DCI Jack Cloth (Hannah). In March 2012, Jones began filming The Secret of Crickley Hall, a BBC1 dramatisation of the 2006 best selling novel by James Herbert. She plays the lead role of Eve Caleigh, a woman who moves to Crickley Hall in an attempt to move on from the loss of her son, only to be haunted by supernatural occurrences. Jones described the series as a "classic haunted house spine-chiller with an emotional family story at its heart."
Jones returned to the London stage in 2013 in a 20th anniversary revival of Jonathan Harvey's play, Beautiful Thing. The play is scheduled to run between 13 April and 25 May at the Arts Theatre, London followed by a short national tour. She is also due to appear in the second series of the television play anthology Playhouse Presents. Jones starred as herself in "Stage Door Johnnies", a comedy mockumentary about obsessive theatre fans. In June, it was announced that Jones is to play a judge "battling to keep her head above water in the murky depths of the justice system in Lawless. Lawless, a pilot episode, was broadcast on Sky1 as part of its Drama Matters pilot season. In August, it was announced that Jones was cast opposite Hermione Norris and Oona Chaplin in The Crimson Field, a BBC drama set in a field hospital in France during the First World War. The drama, which began filming in August and was broadcast in April 2014, marks Jones's first acting appearance in a period drama.
In February 2014, Jones started in Sarah Ruhl's stage adaptation of Virginia Woolf's Orlando at the Royal Exchange in Manchester. The play received generally positive reviews from critics, with Jones's performance being described as "superb" by Matt Trueman in The Guardian, though Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail gave a more mixed review, stating that Jones "perhaps lacks the necessary ethereal quality" for the role.
Jones remains in Manchester and lives in a "150-year-old cottage", though stated in 2010 she was searching for a flat in London too, due to her career requiring that she spend most of the week there. She lives with her Jack Russell Terrier, Baxter. While playing Karen McDonald in Coronation Street, Jones became engaged to Jim Phelan, an IT consultant; however, the couple separated. In 2014, it was reported that Jones had become engaged to magazine editor Laurence Akers after meeting him at a wedding earlier in the year. Politically, Jones describes herself as a Labour Party supporter, though she has expressed doubts over the leadership of Ed Miliband.
Jones has been involved with various charitable organisations. When Jones was a teenager, her mother Jenny was diagnosed with breast cancer, with Jones saying "at the time we did a breast cancer campaign together. I still do a lot of charity runs". Jones also has worked with Christian Aid, travelling to Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo (the latter accompanied by Sally Lindsay), helping with projects concerning HIV, women's rights and child soldiers.
Film and television
|1997||Coronation Street||Mandy Phillips||1 episode|
|1998||City Central||Emma||Episode: "A Quiet Evening In"|
|1999||My Wonderful Life||Linda||5 episodes|
|2000–2004||Coronation Street||Karen McDonald||91 episodes|
|2005||Celebrate "Oliver!"||Nancy||TV film|
|2006||Strictly Confidential||Linda Nelson||6 episodes|
|2007||Dead Clever: The Life and Crimes of Julie Bottomley||Julie Bottomley||TV film|
|2008||Harley Street||Dr Martha Elliot||6 episodes|
|2009||Love and a Long Shot||Sarah||Film|
|Unforgiven||Ruth Slater||3 episodes|
|The Sarah Jane Adventures||Mona Lisa||2 episodes|
|2010||Five Days||DC Laurie Franklin||5 episodes|
|Single Father||Sarah||4 episodes|
|2011||Doctor Who||Idris||Episode: "The Doctor's Wife"|
|2011–present||Scott & Bailey||Sergeant Rachel Bailey||30 episodes|
|2012||A Touch of Cloth||DC Anne Oldman||2 episodes|
|The Secret of Crickley Hall||Eve Caleigh||3 episodes|
|2013||Playhouse Presents||Herself||Episode: "Stage Door Johnnies"|
|A Touch of Cloth II - Undercover Cloth||DI Anne Oldman||2 episodes|
|2014||The Crimson Field||Sister Joan Livesey||6 episodes|
|A Touch of Cloth - Too Cloth for Comfort||DI Anne Oldman||2 episodes|
|2005||A Few Good Men||Joanne Galloway||Haymarket Theatre|
|2006||Snow White and the Seven Dwarves||Snow White||Manchester Opera House|
|2007||Terms of Endearment||Emma Greenway Horton||York Theatre Royal|
|2009||Blithe Spirit||Ruth Condomine||Manchester Royal Exchange|
|2011||Top Girls||Marlene||Minerva Theatre|
|2013||Beautiful Thing||Sandra||Arts Theatre|
|2014||Orlando||Orlando||Manchester Royal Exchange|
Awards and nominations
|2003||Coronation Street||National Television Award for Most Popular Actress||Nominated|
|2004||Coronation Street||British Soap Award for Best Actress||Won|
|Coronation Street||National Television Award for Most Popular Actress||Won|
|2005||Coronation Street||British Soap Award for Best Actress||Won|
|A Few Good Men||Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress||Won|
|2009||Unforgiven||Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor (female)||Nominated|
|Unforgiven||South Bank Show Award for The Times Breakthrough Award||Nominated|
|2010||Five Days||National Television Award for Outstanding Drama Performance||Nominated|
|Five Days||TV Choice Award for Best Actress||Nominated|
|2011||Scott & Bailey||Royal Television Society Award for Best Performance in a Drama||Won|
|2012||Scott & Bailey||National Television Award for Best Female Drama Performance||Nominated|
|2013||Scott & Bailey||National Television Award for Best Female Drama Performance||Nominated|
|Beautiful Thing||WhatsOn Stage Award for Best Actress||Nominated|
- Shimmon, Katie (26 October 2004). "College days". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 18 June 2011.
- Wylie, Ian (14 September 2005). "Suranne prefers home to 'A Few Good Men'". Oldham Advertiser (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 21 December 2008.
- Liz Jones (18 September 2010). "Suranne's brunette ambition: The former Corrie star sets her sights on Broadway". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- Sue Crawford (19 May 2001). "Interview Suranne Jones: Me get married? Don't bet on it". The Mirror (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 27 August 2011.
- "A Piece of my Mind: Suranne Jones, Actress". The Herald (Newsquest). 5 July 2008. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- Torr, Martyn (2014-02-11). "Starstruck by a telly favourite". Oldham Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- Hilton, Beth (16 July 2008). "Ten Things You Never Knew About Suranne Jones". Digital Spy (Hearst Corporation). Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- Greenstreet, Rosanna (24 September 2005). "Q&A: Suranne Jones, actor". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- Thomason, Carmel (8 February 2006). "Showbiz secrets in safe hands". City Life. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
- Walker, Tim (18 August 2011). "Suranne Jones hits back at 'snobs'". The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 27 August 2011.
- Shepard, Anna (20 August 2005). "Not just anybody: Suranne Jones". The Times (News Corporation). Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Billen, Andrew (17 February 2010). "What Suranne Jones did next". The Times (News Corporation). Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- Williams, Andrew (5 August 2011). "Suranne Jones: I was banned after saying 'penis' on stage". Metro (Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- Gilbert, Gerard (31 January 2010). "No more tears: Why Suranne Jones has plenty to smile about". The Independent (Independent Print Limited). Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- Connolly, Lucy (11 December 2010). "Heat on Nick for Corrie's inferno". The Sun (NI Group). Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- Verdier, Hannah (2012-11-16). "Suranne Jones: 'My characters are really strong, miserable or tortured'". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 2014-08-10.
- Lamont, Tom (17 July 2011). "Suranne Jones: 'You have to believe there is life after a soap'". The Observer (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 17 July 2011.
- Saney, Daniel (7 January 2005). "Ex-'Corrie' star in new drama". Digital Spy (Hearst Corporation). Retrieved 6 July 2011.
- Bannister, Rosie (16 November 2012). "Suranne Jones returns to the West End to star in Beautiful Thing". The Stage. The Stage Media Company Limited. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- Wise, Jon (12 November 2006). "I'm an open-minded girl but having sex on the screen with men and women wasn't easy". People.co.uk. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- "Review: Terms of Endearment". BBC. 30 August 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- Rogers, Jon (13 January 2009). "TV Critics 13 January '09". Broadcast. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (10 March 2010). "Suranne reflects on 'Harley St' failure". Digital Spy (Hearst Corporation). Retrieved 27 August 2011.
- "Unforgiven". itv.com. January 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2009.
- Thomas, Rebecca (12 January 2009). "Talking Shop: Suranne Jones". BBC. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Viner, Brian (13 January 2009). "Last Night's Television -Unforgiven, ITV1; Million Dollar Traders, BBC2". The Independent (Independent Print Limited). Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- Thomason, Carmel (16 December 2009). "Excellent cast makes Blithe Spirit sparkle". City Life. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- Hemley, Matthew (26 January 2010). "Donmar Warehouse scoops South Bank Show Award". The Stage (The Stage Media Company Limited). Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- Amer, Matthew (17 August 2011). "The Big Interview: Suranne Jones". Official London Theatre. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- Martin, Will (14 May 2011). "Suranne Jones ('Doctor Who') interview". Cult Box. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- Martin, Dan (14 May 2010). "Doctor Who: The Doctor's Wife – Series 32, episode 4". The Guardian (London: Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- "Scott and Bailey press pack". ITV. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- Billington, Michael (4 July 2011). "Top Girls — review". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 6 July 2011.
- Mountford, Fiona (17 August 2011). "Top Girls, Trafalgar Studios — review". Evening Standard (Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- Plunkett, John (26 August 2011). "Charlie Brooker pens spoof crime drama for Sky1". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- "Suranne and John Hannah to star in detective spoof". What's on TV (IPC Media). 26 August 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- Seale, Jack (7 March 2012). "Suranne Jones to star in BBC1's Secret of Crickley Hall". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- Hemley, Matthew (16 November 2012). "Suranne Jones to star in revival of Beautiful Thing at the Arts Theatre". The Stage. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- Seale, Jack (17 January 2013). "Kylie Minogue, Idris Elba, Suranne Jones, Anna Friel for new series of Sky Arts Playhouse Presents". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
- Jeffery, Morgan (2013-06-28). "Suranne Jones, Russell Tovey, Freema Agyeman for new Sky drama pilots". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
- Vincent, Alice (2013-08-07). "Hermione Norris, Oona Chaplin and Suranne Jones in cast of field hospital drama, The Ark". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
- Trueman, Matt (2014-03-02). "Orlando review – Suranne Jones makes two hours and 400 years pass in a flash". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-03-03.
- Letts, Quentin (2014-02-27). "Virginia Woolf's wonder hasn't aged badly: QUENTIN LETTS reviews Orlando". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2014-03-03.
- "Ex-Coronation Street actress Suranne Jones 'engaged to magazine editor ten years her senior' after six-week romance". Daily Mail. Daily Mail and General Trust. 2014-05-23. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
- Walker, Tim (9 August 2012). "Scott & Bailey star Suranne Jones on why Labour leader Ed Miliband is an Olympic loser". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- "Celebrity Supporters — Suranne Jones". Christian Aid. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
- "Video: Suranne Jones dazzles on a night of showstopping glamour at the RTS Awards". Manchester Evening News. Trinity Mirror. 21 November 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- Brown, Mark (6 December 2013). "Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint up for WhatsOn Stage awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 December 2013.