As Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones return for a second series of Scott & Bailey, TV & Satellite Week spoke to them about the new caseload for their characters, DC’s Janet Scott and Rachel Bailey…

With the Syndicate 9 Major Incident Team investigating the torture and murder of two men in the first episode, the new eight-part series looks set to be even more harrowing than in the first?

Lesley: “This series has taken things to another level, and there is a slightly darker edge to it. Everything is richer this time and the textures between the characters are grainier. Janet and Rachel are dealing with unpleasant crimes on the frontline, but what is great is the way those crimes affect them and mirror how they are feeling about their lives.”

In the first episode, ex-Emmerdale star Lisa Riley plays murder suspect Nadia Hicks. What was it like filming the scene where Rachel has to chase Nadia?

“I’ve know Lisa since I was 13, when I was Snow White to her Silly Billy. Lisa can run faster than me and I could hardly catch her. But Lisa had to stand on a box so she could reach to throttle me!”

With Janet’s marriage on the rocks and Rachel dealing with the fall-out from her disastrous relationship with lawyer Nick, the duo’s private lives are even more complicated this time around. What’s next for Rachel?

Suranne: “Rachel now has two people in her life who are from her past – her estranged ex-con brother Dominic (Liam Boyle) and her old flame, traffic cop Sean McCartney (Sean Maguire) – and she is shaken by that. She is subdued after what happened with Nick, and now she just wants to go for promotion.”

How does Rachel react to Dom turning up?

Suranne: “Rachel always had a close connection with Dom. But when he got in with the wrong crowd and got sent down, she cut him out of her life. When her brother turns up, she’s upset because he has let her down before and, as the series goes on, there are massive mess-ups.”

And can you tell us more about Sean?

Suranne: “Rachel and Sean have had an on-off relationship since school, but she hasn’t seen him for 10 years. Now he’s back, Sean wants to pick up where they left off – and Rachel’s quite happy to have the distraction.”

Are you delighted with the reaction you’ve received from fans of the show?

Lesley: “I have had enormously positive responses to the show. People love the fact that it dramatises real, strong women’s lives rather than showing a television version of what women’s lives are like. Scott and Bailey are attempting to do their best in the workplace and deal with their lives outside of it, not always successfully, which feels very real.”

Scott & Bailey screens Mondays on ITV1 HD at 9pm