Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones will reunite for a fourth series of crime drama Scott & Bailey, ITV has confirmed.

Eight new episodes will see the friendship between DC’s Janet Scott (Lesley) and Rachel Bailey (Suranne) sorely tested as both seek the same promotion to Detective Sergeant.

Amelia Bullmore (Twenty Twelve) will return as straight-talking DCI Gill Murray who keeps control of Syndicate 9, and will write four scripts for the new series.

Suranne, Lesley and Amelia will be joined this time round by Danny Webb (Lightfields), who takes on the role of family man D.C. Chris Crowley.

Ex-Emmerdale star Danny Miller returns as D.S. Rob Waddington, while former Coronation Street actress Sally Lindsay is back as Rachel’s sister Alison.

Scott & Bailey has become one of ITV’s most successful returning series. The finale of series three in 2013, which saw Gill held hostage by crazed Helen Bartlett (played by Last Tango in Halifax star Nicola Walker), was watched by an average 7.1 million viewers. 

“We’re thrilled to be producing a new series of Scott & Bailey,” said Nicola Shindler, Director of Red Production Company, who will executive produce the new series alongside co-creator and writer Sally Wainwright. “It’s rewarding to think the public have become so familiar with the characters and taken them to heart. With this new series, we have the chance to explore great story ideas and continue developing those characters.”

Filming is currently underway in Oldham and Manchester.