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Scott & Bailey

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Scott & Bailey
Alt=Series titles against a brickwall
Created by Sally Wainwright
Diane Taylor
Suranne Jones (idea)
Sally Lindsay (idea)
Written by Sally Wainwright
Amelia Bullmore
Lee Warburton
Starring Suranne Jones
Lesley Sharp
Amelia Bullmore
Original language(s) English
No. of series 4
No. of episodes 30 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Nicola Shindler
Sally Wainwright
Tom Sherry (series 4)
Suranne Jones (series 5)
Producer(s) Yvonne Francas (series 1)
Tom Sherry (series 2-3)
Juliet Charlesworth (series 4)
Editor(s) 3SixtyMedia
Location(s) Greater Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Camera setup 3SIXTYMEDIA
Running time 45 minutes (approximately)
Production company(s) Red Production Company
Original network ITV, STV, UTV
Picture format 16:9
Audio format Stereo
Original release 29 May 2011 (2011-05-29) – present (present)

Scott & Bailey is a British detective drama series that debuted on ITV on 29 May 2011. The programme's main characters are Detective Constable Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) and Detective Constable Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones), both of whom are members of the Major Incident Team (MIT) of the fictional Manchester Metropolitan Police, headed by Detective Chief Inspector Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore). The show, based on an original idea by Jones and Sally Lindsay, revolves around the personal and professional lives of DC Bailey and DC Scott. Scott & Bailey was commissioned after the concept was introduced to executive producer Nicola Shindler, who brought it to writer Sally Wainwright. The series is produced by Manchester-based Red Production Company and is largely filmed in the Greater Manchester area.

Rachel and Janet are close friends with different personalities: Rachel is spontaneous and hot-headed, whereas Janet is calm and level-headed. Janet, who is older than Rachel, is married and has two daughters, though her marriage is somewhat stale. She has a sexual relationship with her work colleague, Andy (Nicholas Gleaves) in Series 1 and 2. Eventually Janet and her husband separate, and her mother moves in to help raise the children with Janet getting home late most nights. Later on, in Series 3, Janet learns that her still-husband is in another relationship. Rachel is not married and doesn't have any children, but is close to her sister. In Series 1, Rachel was involved in a tempestuous and unstable relationship with a barrister, Nick (Rupert Graves), who she discovers is already married with children and is a serial womanizer. In Series 3 Rachel is married but soon regrets it, and later starts having an affair with a colleague.

Debuting to strong viewing figures and with a fairly positive critical reception, Scott & Bailey ran from 29 May 2011 until 3 July over the course of six episodes. The second series premiered 12 March 2012 and consisted of eight episodes.[1] A third series was announced 28 May 2012, began filming November 2012, and premiered on 3 April 2013. In August 2013, it was announced that a fourth series had been commissioned, with production set to begin in the spring of 2014.[2] With filming several months earlier in the year, series 4 began broadcasting on ITV on 10 September 2014 and finished on 29 October 2014. On 31 July 2015, ITV renewed Scott & Bailey for a three-part fifth series.[3]

Scott & Bailey is shown in the United States on various public television stations.



Scott & Bailey is based on an original idea by Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay, with Jones commenting that there needed to be more roles for women "that weren't wife-of, sidekick-to, mother-of, mistress-to, etc."[4] Jones remarked, "We were just chatting away over a bottle of wine in a pub" when the idea came to fruition.[5] Lindsay, a fan of television programmes such as Cagney & Lacey, was interested in the concept of a programme detailing the lives of two professional women.[4] Jones later spoke of the programme, saying it is "the Cagney & Lacey of Manchester",[6] though she acknowledged that Scott & Bailey as a drama was more "gritty" and "real".[6]

Upon taking the idea to Nicola Shindler of Red Productions, Shindler contacted Sally Wainwright, who wrote a script for an episode and, according to Jones, they "loved it".[7] Despite the positive reaction, the project "kind of got a bit lost" until ITV discovered it and requested that Wainwright rewrite the script.[7]

Subsequently, Wainwright paired up with Diane Taylor,[7] a former Detective Inspector from Greater Manchester Police, to create the programme, and the production expanded from Jones and Lindsay's original concept.[4] From Taylor's perspective, police procedurals were often filled with not only technical inaccuracies, but what she felt were inaccuracies of how officers behaved, saying: "that's what really irritates me in other dramas – detectives crying over dead bodies and getting drunk senseless. You'd last about two weeks".[8] She said, of her time as a police officer in comparison to portrayals on television, that "reality is much more interesting. I could pull a thousand cases out of my head people would say would never happen. People need drama because they would not believe the reality".[8]

Production team[edit]

Scott & Bailey is produced by Manchester-based Red Production Company, which itself is majority owned by StudioCanal following an acquisition estimated at £30 million in December 2013.[9] Nicola Shindler, who founded the company in 1998, is the programme's executive producer alongside writer Sally Wainwright and Tom Sherry. When speaking of Shindler, Wainwright said: "Nicola is just a genius. She makes you raise your game. So if you're good, she'll make you better".[10]

The role of producer was undertaken by Yvonne Fracas for Series 1, and from Series 2–3, Tom Sherry. Sherry, who has worked for Red Productions for over 15 years, described his job as "the opportunity to meddle in all departments – it's about being able to have a passable stab at everyone's job and to be able to empathise with what they're trying to achieve".[11] For the production of Series 4, Sherry undertook the role of executive producer alongside Wainwright and Shindler, while the position of producer was staffed by Juliet Charlesworth.[12] For the fifth series, filmed in 2015, Suranne Jones became an executive producer alongside Schindler.

The involvement of Diane Taylor as a consultant producer has been credited with maintaining Scott & Bailey's "rigorous authenticity".[11] According to Jessamy Calkin of The Telegraph, "the attention to detail is more extreme on this series, say many of the crew, than others they have worked on".[11] During the filming of Unforgiven in 2008 (written by Wainwright and also starring Suranne Jones), Wainwright was told to meet Taylor by Grant Montgomery, the show's designer.[13] After meeting, the production was given the green light by ITV and the script was largely re-written, with Wainwright commenting: "I wasn't writing a single line of dialogue that Diane hadn't influenced".[13] Wainwright is responsible for writing the majority of episodes.

Amelia Bullmore, who plays Gill Murray, has written three episodes; Wainwright had wanted to get other writers involved in the process. For her first episode as writer, "Bullmore was given a brief – that everything must be from Scott and Bailey's point of view – and she was given a murder".[11] Though she had been a professional writer for almost two decades, Scott and Bailey marked the first instance of Bullmore writing and starring in the same production.[14] Due to Wainwright's increased workload on her other drama series' Last Tango in Halifax and Happy Valley, Bullmore was chosen to be the head writer for Scott and Bailey's fourth series in 2014.[15] She was joined on the writing team by Lee Warburton, who wrote two episodes of the fourth series.[16] and returned to write Scott & Bailey's fifth series in 2015.[17]

The directing of Scott & Bailey is undertaken in a method whereby "each director directs a 'block' of two or three episodes, dictated by the schedule – when each episode has finished shooting, the director goes into the edit and a new director takes over for the next block", according to Calkin.[11] The most prolific director of Scott & Bailey is Morag Fullerton, who has directed seven episodes.


Jones, who had always envisaged herself playing Rachel Bailey when the idea of the project came in to mind, was given the role, though at the programme's pre-production stages the character had a different first name, Cathy.[18] It was originally intended that Lindsay would star with Jones in Scott & Bailey, but she became pregnant with twins, so the role of Janet was given to Lesley Sharp instead;[4] Lindsay received the smaller role of Rachel's sister, Alison. Lindsay approved of Sharp playing the role;[4] Jones also felt pleased at the prospect of working with Sharp, saying "I was really excited on the day of the read-through".[7] Sharp's husband Nicholas Gleaves was awarded the role of Scott's lover, DS Andy Roper.[19] Despite the actors' relationship, Sharp stated that it was not a contributing factor in his casting, stating: "Nick's an actor and I'm an actress — we don't have the same agent. There's a script with a role in it that was right for him and it so happened that there was a role that was right for me and we both got cast, but it wasn't a conversation that we had that it would be a good idea if we did a television series together because that's not the way life works".[20]

Both Rachel and Janet are Detective Constables in the Major Incident Team of the fictional Manchester Metropolitan Police force, with the team headed by DCI Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore), who is loosely based on Diane Taylor.[21] Producers were undecided on what age DCI Murray would be, but had originally pictured an actress older than Bullmore.[21] After auditioning, Bullmore returned a month later, intent on playing Murray "tough", however, when meeting casting director Beverley Keogh in the toilets beforehand, Bullmore recounted that Keogh said to her: "That's not what we've got you back for. We were interested in seeing a warmer side".[21]

Danny Miller joined the cast as series regular Rob Waddington in series 3[22] and Tracie Bennett also appeared in the third series as DC Bailey's estranged mother, Sharon.[23] In a continuing story arc for the third series, Nicola Walker was cast in the role of Helen Bartlett, a character driven to emotional instability by past events unearthed by the Manchester Metropolitan Police. In preparation for the role Walker visited a psychologist in order to build upon her characterisation.[24]


A former Barclays branch in Bury served as the police station exterior in the first three series

Principal photography for the first series took place in a twelve-week window from November 2010 onwards, it was reported by Female First.[25] The series was filmed on location in and around Greater Manchester.[26] Jones mentioned that "On the first day of filming [she and Sharp] were stuck in a car on the moors".[6] Oldham was another location chosen for filming, with local press reporting that Beal Lane in Shaw was used for filming.[27] The Oldham Evening Chronicle supplied specially mocked-up newspapers to be used as props in filming.[27] Other locations such as Manchester Crown Court have been used for filming.[21] The Major Incident Team's headquarters for the first three series were filmed in an old Barclays branch on Silver Street, Bury.[11] The filming location used the team's new station, the fictional Oldham Road police station, took place at former Greater Manchester Police Grey Mare Lane police station in Beswick.[28] A local mortuary has also been used for filming scenes.[11] The programme was also granted permission to film in HM Prison Risley in Cheshire, where locations manager James Muirhead and a crew of 35 filmed for a day.[11]

Sharp, when describing filming with her husband, Gleaves, who plays her on-screen lover, said, "there aren't too many people who can go to work and have an affair with their husband".[19] When discussing the filming of Scott & Bailey, Jones said "I can't pretend it wasn't a tough shoot, both emotionally and physically, because it was",[29] before adding that on the last day of filming she had to shoot a gruelling scene involving her chasing a suspect from a crime scene, while Sharp and Bullmore "were having massages and facials ready for the wrap party".[29]

When Scott & Bailey was recommissioned for a second series it was announced that production on the series would commence at the end of October 2011, to be aired in 2012.[30] In November it was reported that while filming on Hamilton Road, Whitefield—the set of DC Scott's home—that an emergency call was made after a member of the television crew, a lighting technician, became stranded atop a "cherry-picker style platform" 12 metres (39 ft) above the ground.[31] Fearing the mechanism could fail and cause the crew member to fall to the ground, they sought assistance from firefighters, who safely brought the technician to the ground.[31] In February 2012, The Sun reported that series 2 was still being filmed, with Jones pictured on location in Manchester with a prosthetic wound on her forehead.[32]

Filming for series 3 began in November 2012, with an airing date scheduled for May 2013.[33] In November Jones and Sharp were photographed filming on location in Manchester for the series.[33] As the fourth series had a different air date (its television broadcast began in September, unlike May for the three previous series) it became the first series not to be filmed in the winter months.[34] A longer break in production between series 3 and 4 was the reason that the fourth series was instead filmed in summer.[34]

Cast and characters[edit]

The central cast members of Scott & Bailey from left to right: DCI Gill Murray, DS Rachel Bailey and DC Janet Scott

Main characters[edit]

  • Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones) is a Detective Sergeant and the ranking officer within the Syndicate 9 Major Incident Team. A career woman in her 30s, Rachel has earned the nickname "Sherlock", due to her deductive and investigative skills, which led to her swift promotion from Detective Constable during the shows fourth series. Her personal life, however, is fraught with self-destructive (even childish) behavior and strained family relationships that tend to adversely affect her work. In Series 3 she marries former flame PC Sean McCartney, but soon realises it was a mistake and has a fling with DC Kevin Lumb, which causes tension with Janet. After a rocky start, she started to take her new role as Sergeant in her stride with Gill telling her she was proud of her. During the fifth series, Rachel will return to Syndicate 9 following a Vice secondment.
  • Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) is Rachel Bailey's working partner and close friend. She is a quick-witted, friendly and long-standing member of the team. Around 15 years older than Rachel, Janet is more logical, and finds satisfaction in her job as Detective Constable, refusing repeated offers for promotion. Lesley Sharp describes her as "a woman who is at the top of her game in a job but who has deliberately chosen to stay in what appears to be one of the lower ranks" instead of progressing to a more senior position.[11] Her marriage to Adrian disintegrates as the series progresses, which leads to an impulsive affair with DS Andy Roper before she breaks it off. She was inspired to join the police after the unsolved murder of her childhood friend Veronica Hastings, which she finally solves near the end of Series 1.
  • Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore, series 1-4) is a Detective Chief Inspector, the head of MIT and a single mother to Sammy. Nicknamed "Godzilla" by Rachel, Gill is authoritarian, abrupt and naturally sardonic, though she occasionally has a nicer side. She has been close friends with Janet for over 20 years. However, her relationship with Rachel is largely work-based and times strained due to Rachel's impulsive, maverick nature. For the first three series, she runs the MIT with ruthless efficiency, pushing hard for results and refusing to accept failure. After being taken hostage and nearly killed in the Series 3 finale, as well as coming under pressure to retire, Gill becomes an alcoholic in Series 4, which leads a concerned Janet to report her to Dodson. She later retires with her reputation intact.
  • Andy Roper (Nicholas Gleaves, series 1-2) is a Detective Sergeant. He was desperately in love with Janet, though their relationship sours when she realizes she does not reciprocate his rather intense feelings. After a shouting match in front of the team, Gill forces them into a room alone, where Andy admits that a previous marriage fell apart for similar reasons, causing him to have a nervous breakdown. Although they appear to resolve things, in the Series 2 finale he gives Janet misinformation that causes Gill to miss an appointment with the coroner, humiliating her. Since neither admits to causing the confusion, Gill tells the pair to decide which of them will leave the MIT. Later, Gill tells Andy he was overheard misspeaking and, believing he did so on purpose, forces him to transfer out. Andy leaves for Syndicate 6.
  • Rob Waddington (Danny Miller, series 3-4) is a young, fast-tracked Detective Sergeant who was hired after Janet insisted she didn't want a promotion following Andy's departure. He is shown to be a decent officer, but lacks the confidence and leadership skills of Gill, causing the team to make fun of him at times. He also has a slightly flirtatious relationship with Janet, which Rachel exploits by sending him a sexually-suggestive e-mail using Janet's account; although she intends it as a joke, Rob is embarrassed enough to report it to Gill and Janet is infuriated. Rob decides to leave the MIT early in Series 4, which leads to Rachel being promoted to DS. He was apparently following in the footsteps of his father, whose competence is called into question when an old case is reopened during Rob's last week with MIT.

Supporting characters[edit]

Various supporting and recurring characters exist throughout the show, whether they be work colleagues, family members of main characters, or those involved in the investigations of the MIT.

  • Ian "Mitch" Mitchell (David Prosho), Pete Readyough (Tony Mooney) and Lee Broadhurst (Delroy Brown) are all Detective Constables working in the MIT. Each are shown to be competent and dedicated officers, though more often than not they serve as support to Janet and Rachel. Pete becomes more prominent during Series 3, as his personal and professional lives suffer after he drunkenly has sex with Rachel's mother at a wedding reception. Series 4 introduces DC Chris Crowley (Danny Webb), who is often partnered with and soon becomes close to Janet.
  • DC Kevin Lumb (Ben Batt) was the joker of the team. Of the Detective Constables in MIT, he was the most overtly condescending and sexist, and yet he became upset and defensive when mocked for his arrogance and general incompetence. After failing his Sergeant's exam early in Series 3, he was told by Gill that he didn't deserve to be in her unit. Rachel, whose life he once saved whilst arresting a violent suspect, impulsively has sex with him during her marriage to Sean McCartney. At the time Rachel is hiding from Sean at Janet's; she brings Kevin there and they are soon discovered. Janet's outrage and Rachel's unapologetic attitude leads to a short but deep rift in their friendship. Rachel soon admits of the affair to Sean, who corners Kevin - the best man at the wedding - and punches him in the face before the rest of the office, exposing the relationship to all their colleagues. In the same episode, the unit is informed by Gill that Kevin has been fired and arrested for leaking information on a big murder case to the press (though earlier series imply this is not the first time he has done so).
  • PC (Police Constable) Sean McCartney (Sean Maguire) first appears in Series 2 as an old flame of Rachel's. Over the course of an investigation they reconnect and become an item (to the chagrin of Kevin). Sean is any easygoing guy who never seems to get worked up about anything; though his persistent attempts to woo Rachel irritate her, he is supportive and always there to help when she needs it. Eventually he proposes marriage, going so far as to set a date and make the arrangements without telling her first. A reluctant Rachel agrees to the engagement in the Series 2 finale, after Sean turns up evidence exonerating her in a murder inquiry. Their wedding is shown in flashbacks in the second episode of Series 3. Rachel soon realizes the marriage was a mistake, as she never really wanted it, and after a one-night-stand with a stranger she has sex with Kevin Lumb (their best man). In the penultimate episode of Series 3 Rachel admits the affair to Sean, who attacks Kevin in the middle of the office, humiliating all three of them, before getting a divorce.
  • DSI (Detective Superintendent) Julie "Slap" Dodson (Pippa Haywood) is head of Syndicate 3 and close friends with Gill Murray. Kevin used to work for her until he was moved to MIT, and he harbors a deep resentment. Haywood joined the cast in the second series, notably when handling the inquiry into the murder of Nick Savage, and becomes more prominent in the latter half of Series 3 when asked to lead the Helen Bartlett case. Noting the character's close relationship with Gill, Haywood stated, "I like the double act between Julie and Gill Murray. When they are at work they have this reputation that they are fearsome; a force to be reckoned with, but there's also a lot of humour between them".[35] Late in Series 4 Dodson is asked by Janet to investigate allegations that Gill is drunk on the job, putting a deep strain on their friendship when Gill's ability to lead the MIT is called into question.
  • Mary Jackson (Julia Deakin in Series 2 and Judy Holt in Series 3), or "Scary Mary" as she is nicknamed by the department, is one of the pathologists who carries out post-mortem examinations in the mortuary. Her morbid sense of humor plays well off of Gill Murray's more blunt attitude, especially since Gill has a habit of personally attending crime scenes and autopsies.
  • DCS (Detective Chief Superintendent) Dave Murray (Vincent Regan), Gill's ex-husband, is well-known for his philandering ways and irresponsible attitude toward his work. He is father of her son, Sammy (Jake Roach) but left Gill when he got a 23-year-old uniform officer pregnant. In the first series Dave is acting Head of the Review Team while the head is away on maternity leave, causing friction between him and Gill. In Series 1 he appears to be deeply jealous when Gill enters into a new relationship, which manifests itself in petty office sniping. During Series 2, in which his personal life collapses (to the delight of MIT), he barges into Gill's house and launches into a drunken speech that culminates in him tearfully asking her if she still has feelings for him; a visibly upset Gill nevertheless refuses to even consider giving him a second chance.
  • DSI Will Pemberton (Steve Toussaint) appears in Series 4 as the head of the Vice team. He enters into a relationship with Rachel, which she almost uses to get herself a position in his unit before he decides to break it off.

Rachel and Janet's family members and significant others appear throughout the series:

  • Alison Bailey (Sally Lindsay) is Rachel's older sister and is married with children. When their mother walked out, Alison essentially became the mother of the Bailey household, which she feels cost her the chance to do something with her life. As a result, she harbors a deep resentment of their mother. Alison's relationship with Rachel and Dominic is strained at times, due to her maternal instincts and occasional self-righteous behavior, but tries very hard to support them. Sally Lindsay, who alongside Suranne Jones created the original idea for Scott & Bailey, has appeared during all three series.
  • Dominic Bailey (Liam Boyle), Rachel's younger brother, is introduced in Series 2. He had previously served a prison sentence for armed robbery. With nowhere to go after Alison throws him out, he ends up living with Rachel, who encourages him to look for work. At one point she walks in on him selling sex to men in her home; outraged, she forces him to get tested for HIV, which comes back negative. Dominic's stay with Rachel is marked by his irresponsibility and tendency to get in trouble; he nearly destroys her kitchen attempting to make a kettle of tea, and crashes her car during a joyride, which forces her to miss her Sergeant's exam. It is also suggested a few times that he had a drinking problem, and later on Alison and Rachel discuss the possibility that he is mentally slow. Despite her exasperation, Rachel continues to stand by him. In Series 3 he is charged with murder and goes back to prison, though not before he alleges that Rachel provoked him to commit the crime, which leads to her brief (re)arrest.
  • Sharon Bailey (Tracie Bennett), Rachel's mother, appears in the third series after being mentioned several times in Series 1 and 2. She is a boisterous, impulsive alcoholic who abandoned her children and is loathed by Alison, though Rachel tries to forgive her. Sean McCartney discovers that she was the one who sent bouquets of flowers to Rachel throughout the first two series. She drunkenly has sex with DC Pete Readyough in a car park at Rachel and Sean's wedding reception, but they are caught by Gill. Sharon uses this to extort money from Pete until he decides to admit it to his wife. His professional reputation is tarnished (along with a brief decline in his competency), and his marriage collapses. In Series 4 Sharon appeals to Rachel for help when her latest boyfriend becomes violent with her.
  • Adrian "Ade" Scott (Tony Pitts), a geography teacher, was Janet's husband for twenty-five years. The pair have two teenage daughters, Taise (Harriet Waters) and Elise (Sharon Flynn in Series 1 and Olivia Rose Smith from Series 2 onward). Early in Series 2 Ade walks out to live with his elderly father following various petty arguments with Janet's mother Dorothy Parsons (Judith Barker), who moves in with the family for three months while recuperating from a big operation. Janet, at first appealing to him to stay, loses her temper and says she is fed up with his lazy, self-entitled behavior. Nevertheless, she continues to rely on him to help with their daughters and realizes just how much of their life he was responsible for maintaining. In the Series 2 finale Janet attempts a reconciliation, but this is ruined when Andy Roper spitefully reveals that his affair with Janet began long before their separation. Early in Series 3, Ade admits he is seeing someone and tells Janet he wants a divorce. At Janet's suggestion, Dorothy buys out Ade's share of the house and permanently moves in.

The introduction of more family members in Series 2 such as Rachel's brother, Dominic and Janet's mother Dorothy was due to Sally Wainwright's aim to achieve "that nice balance of the private lives, as well as dealing with the demanding jobs they've got".[10]

Rupert Graves played barrister Nick Savage in the first series
  • Nicholas "Nick" Savage (Rupert Graves) was a wealthy barrister and Rachel's ex-lover. After he abruptly breaks up with her in the first episode, she abuses her police resources to track him down, discovering he was in fact married with two sons. He had an apartment in the city centre, which Rachel blackmailed him into letting her move into by threatening to inform his wife Caroline (Louise Delamere) of their affair. Rachel finds out she is pregnant with Nick's baby and plans to have an abortion, though she ultimately decides against it. However, she later miscarries, which Nick takes advantage of to reclaim the apartment after Caroline learns of his infidelity anyway and kicks him out.

Rachel soon discovers that Nick had an affair with a female juror whilst defending a client and business associate, which if made public would destroy his career. When Nick hears of this, he gets back together with Rachel and (at her pressuring) proposes marriage, until Janet convinces Rachel he is only doing so to keep her from turning him in. In the Series 1 finale Rachel narrowly avoids being killed by a hit-and-run driver; she eventually learns this was done at the behest of Savage, who is arrested and charged with attempted murder.

Savage does not appear in Series 2, but is mentioned throughout. In the third episode Gill discovers that the attempted murder charge has been dropped. He is later released without charge; upon learning of this, Rachel goes on a bender with Janet and lets out months worth of anger and misery over the fact that he essentially got away with ruining her life. In the Series 2 finale Savage is attacked and brutally beaten, later dying in hospital. Dominic, Rachel's brother, is revealed to be the attacker, claiming he was driven to it after hearing his sister's anguish; she chases him down and berates him, but ultimately chooses to let him run. In Series 3 he is caught and sent to prison after an investigation proves that Rachel had nothing to do with the attack.

  • Geoff Hastings (Kevin Doyle) is the brother of Janet's murdered childhood friend Veronica. He persuades Janet to review the cold case, which a retired detective has connected to the unsolved murders of four other women over the years. Janet's friendship with Geoff causes tension with Andy Roper, who sees a romantic rival and behaves coldly toward him. When MIT investigates a new murder with the same MO, Rachel and Janet come to realize that Geoff is a serial killer, and Veronica was his first, albeit unintended, victim. He stabs and nearly kills Janet while fleeing her home but is later arrested. He pleads guilty to the murders and is sentenced to prison. In the fifth episode of Series 2 Geoff claims to have information regarding fifteen other murders he allegedly committed, but will only talk to Janet. Instead he plays mind games with her, in the process revealing her affair with Andy to Gill. He also states that he made detailed diaries regarding the murders, but refuses to reveal where they are. Rachel, while on a bender, inadvertently guesses that the journals are buried with Geoff's mother, whom he loathed (and is implied to be the motivation for his killing spree). When asked about this Geoff becomes furious, validating Rachel's theory.
  • Helen Bartlett (Nicola Walker) appears throughout Series 3 as the daughter of Joe and Eunice Bevan, who molested and murdered young boys for years, burying the bodies in their cellar. In the season premiere Helen becomes a suspect in Eunice's brutal murder, before Joe is found to be the killer. Helen later admits that Joe also killed her brother and forced her to bury the body, but this only results in Helen's arrest for denying lawful burial. Further investigation unearths the bodies of one of Helen's sisters under the floorboards of her parents' bedroom. A statement from the only surviving victim alleges that Helen was a willing participant in the rape, torture, and murder of the boys in the cellar; though this is proven to be untrue, it leads to a harassment campaign against Helen and her partner Louise by both public and press. In the series finale, a drunk and angry Helen takes Gill hostage, but ends up slitting her own wrists and bleeding to death. Walker's performance was lauded for the transformative way it "scene by scene dissolved into a dishevelled wreck";[36] in her first appearance, in episode one of the third series she looked "immaculate" working on a make-up counter in a department store, however, the veneer fades as her childhood trauma becomes apparent.[37]



Critical reception[edit]

This series promises so much more than the usual oft-time lazy ITV Sunday cop drama.

Euan Ferguson, The Observer[38]

Scott & Bailey has received generally good reviews thus far. Tom Sutcliffe of The Independent remarked that although it was a "less-than-courageous decision" for ITV to commission a detective drama for Sunday nights, Scott & Bailey had "genuine signs of life in the thing".[39] Sam Wollaston of The Guardian, however, questioned the plausibility of the idea that the character of Rachel would not realise her partner of two years was already married, considering she was a detective, and described the series as "Lewis with skirts on".[40] However, Grace Dent, also of The Guardian, described it as "of great televisual comfort".[41] Alexandra Heminsley, another writer for The Guardian, described it as "a genuinely gripping crime series" and added: "what about a second series?"[42] Euan Ferguson of The Observer stated that it was "actually rather gripping".[38] Horatia Harrod, reviewing the third series for The Daily Telegraph, praised the programme's script and its likeness to reality in portraying the professional conduct of modern policing, stating: "this is a beautifully engineered programme: it's both pleasingly sudsy and deliciously grisly, but manages to transcend both the soap and detective genres [...] Somehow Sally Wainwright, the show's creator and writer, has made the traditionally dull quality of professional competence seem positively thrilling".[43]

John Preston of The Daily Telegraph gave a mixed review: though he commended the acting of Sharp and Jones, he stated that "it badly needs some shape and tension".[44] The Metro took a decidedly critical stance, with its reviews getting progressively worse with each new episode; first describing it as "comforting but could have been so much better",[45] then later quipping that "Scott & Bailey will never be compelling TV",[46] and that the programme is "a mediocre crime drama amidst a saturated market of mediocre crime dramas".[47]

One of the more persistent criticisms of the show (especially its first two series) has been its indifferent or decidedly negative depiction of male characters. Tim Oglethorpe, reviewing the first series in the Daily Mail, wrote that "the men often appear to be feckless, devious or dangerous" and stated that DS Andy Roper (Gleaves) was "the only man to emerge with any credit".[19] Dianne Butler, who reviewed the programme upon its airing in Australia, made a similar point, questioning the relevance of the show's male characters: "there are some men in this but they're fairly incidental".[48] The Guardian's John Crace expressed his belief that most of the programme's male characters are deficient in some way, writing: "surely it must be possible to make a show with women lead characters without having to make every male a complete dork? From Janet's useless husband and Rachel's idiot brother who can't boil an egg without burning down the kitchen".[49]

The performances of Amelia Bullmore and Nicola Walker in the Series 3 finale were highly praised. Julia Raeside of The Guardian commented that both "give an incredible acting masterclass that will take your breath away. Truly gripping and the jewel in ITV's increasingly impressive drama crown. Splendid stuff."[50] The series was nominated for the BAFTA TV award for Best Drama Series in both 2012 and 2013.[51]

Television ratings[edit]

A breakdown of the ratings the show received from its three airing channels, ITV, ITV HD, and ITV+1.

Since Scott & Bailey's debut it has fared well in the ratings. Days after its premiere, The Sun reported that overnight figures suggested 8.2 million watched the episode,[52] which was, according to the newspaper, the most successful drama launch of 2011 so far.[52] It reported that the show had secured a 33% audience share in its timeslot.[52] The programme's closest rival was a broadcast of the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which received 20.9% of the audience share.[53] Scott and Bailey aired as the follow-on programme from Britain's Got Talent, which had received 9.86 million viewers and a 40.4% audience share in its timeslot.[53]

The Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB) later released consolidated information stating that the first episode had received 8.31 million viewers on ITV,[54] with a further 801,000 tuning in on ITV HD,[55] and 310,000 on ITV1+1,[56] totalling the viewing figures to 9.42 for the first episode. The episode was 2011's fourth highest-rating drama broadcast, as well as the highest-rating broadcast for a new drama.[57] By episode two it was reported that Scott & Bailey has dropped nearly 1.8 million viewers from episode one, with overnight figures suggesting 6.14 million (23.6%) tuned in, though it was still the number one rated programme in its timeslot.[58] The programme continued to outperform its competitors in its timeslot until its end, beating competition including BBC One dramas Case Histories and Stolen.[59][60][61][62]

Home video releases[edit]

Series DVD
Region 2 release date Discs
1 UK: 4 July 2011[63] 2
2 UK: 4 June 2012[64]
3 UK: 1 July 2013[65]
4 UK: 10 November 2014[66]

Region 1 (U.S. and Canada)[edit]

Scott & Bailey: Season 1, 270 minutes; June 17, 2014
Scott & Bailey: Season 2, 360 minutes; September 16, 2014
Scott & Bailey: Season Three, 382 minutes; May 5, 2015 release date not realised. No further info at this time (6/30/2015).


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  35. ^ "Pippa Haywood: 'Julie needs to tread carefully'". What's on TV. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  36. ^ Christopher Stevens (2013-04-04). "Old coppers are from Dock Green, this lot are from Venus". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  37. ^ "Scott & Bailey: Nicola Walker on playing Helen Bartlett". ITV. 2013-04-25. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
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  55. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1 HD w/e 29 May 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  56. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: ITV1+1 w/e 29 May 2011". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
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  59. ^ Andrew Laughlin (2011-06-13). "Jenson Button's dramatic F1 win grabs 5m". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 
  60. ^ Andrew Laughlin (2011-06-20). "Melody Thornton's 'Popstar' exit seen by 3m". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2011-07-12. 
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  63. ^ "Scott and Bailey (DVD)". Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  64. ^ "Scott and Bailey — Series 2 (DVD)". Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  65. ^ "Scott and Bailey: Series 3 (2 Discs)". Retrieved 2013-08-24. 
  66. ^ "Scott and Bailey — Series 4 (DVD)". Retrieved 2014-11-11. 

External links[edit]