Scott & Bailey star Lesley Sharp reckons the portrayal of women on TV has improved in recent years, but believes there’s still ‘some way to go’.

As the crime drama returns to ITV this Wednesday (April 13) for a new three-part series, Lesley’s DS Janet Scott reunites with fellow detective Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones) to investigate a gruesome murder case being played out on the internet.

When Scott & Bailey first started back in 2011, the drama blazed a trail for boasting an all-female cast playing very strong female characters – Lesley and Suranne stood out as the feisty detectives, with Amelia Bullmore (Happy Valley) as their hard-as-nails boss, Gill Murray.

Lesley (pictured, right, with Suranne) is certain the show kick-started something positive: “Great roles for women are definitely more of a feature in TV drama, but we still have some way to go in making sure that, scattered throughout stories, are women that are representative of Great Britain today – all ages, sizes, colours and socio-economic demographics. That’s certainly not what’s on the go at the moment and it would be great if that changes.”

She added: “We need to encourage more writers to tell more stories within dramas from a feminine perspective.”

And she was quick to dispel the TV myth that women constantly talk about men.

“It’s still rare that a scene between two female characters, or a story arc, does not in some way involve a discussion about a man,” she said. “Women in real life interact on a daily basis about all sorts of topics – not just the opposite sex!”