|Born||23 June 1964 (age 52)
Belfast, Northern Ireland,
Suspects (TV series)
Paul Marquess (born 23 June 1964) is a television producer from Belfast, Northern Ireland. His credits include Brookside, The Bill, Family Affairs, Hollyoaks, Crime Stories, and more recently Suspects 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
Marquess began his career in 1996 as a storyliner on Coronation Street before developing and producing various other dramas 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.
In 2002, 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 actors and introduced more sensational storylines that explored issues such as serial murder, gang rape and domestic violence.
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, drug addiction and corruption within the police service. However, Marquess also remained true to the spirit of The Bill’s original 1983 pilot “Wooden Top”, returning to an over-the-shoulder filming 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.
In 2005, the show’s consistently high ratings led to commercial interest from Channel 5, prompting ITV to offer an unprecedented 5-year recommission until 2010, guaranteeing its place in the TV schedules long after Marquess had departed TalkBackThames. It was also during this time that Marquess created The Bill spin-off series MIT: Murder Investigation Team, which ran for two series.
In 2003, Marquess 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. However, ratings remained low for the series and Channel 5 axed the show the same year, saying that the soap had come to the end of its natural lifespan.
In 2010, after a period developing new projects for Endemol and BBC Worldwide, Marquess succeeded Lucy Allan as series producer on Channel 4's teen soap Hollyoaks. Marquess inevitably cemented his reputation as an "axeman" after culling 11 cast members as part of a major revamp. However, he also introduced a raft of new characters, including the show's first mixed-race family and also hired Emmett J. Scanlan to play anti-hero Brendan Brady, who went on to win Best Villain and Best Newcomer at The British Soap Awards the following year.
In 2012, Marquess co-created the police procedural series, Crime Stories (initially entitled "True Crime") with writers Steve Hughes and Darren Fairhurst,. The series was made by Marquess’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. 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's cast included 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.
Whilst the series received mixed reviews, ratings were consistent at 900,000 viewers per episode, holding well against BBC1 daytime soap, Doctors. However, ITV declined to commission a second series.
The following year, Channel 5 commissioned Newman Street to produce a new police procedural series, the broadcaster’s first original drama for eight years. 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, and starred Fay Ripley, Damien Molony and Clare-Hope Ashitey. The first series (of five episodes) premiered in February 2014 to some critical acclaim though ratings fell from 1.34 million viewers for the first episode to around half a million for the fifth. A second and third series (of four episodes each) were transmitted in August 2014 and January 2015 respectively.
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- "CHANNEL 5 DECLARES SUSPECTS WILL RETURN THIS AUTUMN AND IN 2015". channel5.com.
|Series producer of Hollyoaks