Suranne Jones says she jumped at the chance to play a young female judge in a new Sky Living drama.

The Scott & Bailey actress stars in Lawless, which follows the fortunes of Lila Pettitt – the youngest judge on the circuit – as she tries to move up the ranks of the judicial system.

Suranne told whatsontv.co.uk: “Lila’s a young woman from a humble background, who thinks it’s important that there’s a woman represented in the judicial system. From my point of view, it’s a really important role for someone like me to play.”

Suranne filmed the drama – part of Sky Living’s Drama Matters series – while also appearing in the stage production of Beautiful Thing, and used the theatre role to her advantage.

She said: “I had dyed blonde hair to play Sandra Gangel in Beautiful Thing and thought, actually, we’re already fighting so many stereotypes, so Lila might as well be a woman, northern AND have dyed blonde hair!”

Former Coronation Street star Suranne thinks that Lawless carries an important message for young women.

“Lila is actually the victim of an assault and finds strength in her eight-year-old daughter,” she said. “When she looks at her daughter she thinks: ‘She’s going to become a woman and that can’t be allowed to happen to her – I need to sort this out!'”

Lawless can be seen on Thursday, October 3 on Sky Living.