Suranne Jones is firmly established as one of Britain’s most prolific, bankable and multi-talented acting stars.

From starring as feisty machinist Karen McDonald in Coronation Street to winning a BAFTA for classic psychological thriller Doctor Foster, Jones has starred in some of the most-watched UK TV series of the last two decades.

A frequent collaborator with Happy Valley writer Sally Wainwright, who is equally skilled at taking on emotional dramas or comedy, the Northerner has one most impressive CVs in British television.

She will soon return to our screens in ITV drama series Maryland and for a second series of BBC thriller Vigil, but in the meantime, here is our ranking of the top 10 best Suranne Jones TV shows.

Best Suranne Jones TV shows

  • 10. Coronation Street - Karen McDonald
  • 9. The Crimson Field - Sister Joan Livesey
  • 8. Scott & Bailey - Sergeant Rachel Bailey
  • 7. A Touch of Cloth – DC Anne Oldman
  • 6. Save Me - Claire McGory
  • 5. Victoria - I Am Victoria
  • 4. Unforgiven - Ruth Slater
  • 3. Vigil - DCI Amy Silva
  • 2. Gentleman Jack - Anne Lister
  • 1. Doctor Foster – Gemma Foster

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10. Coronation Street – Karen McDonald (2000-2004)

It all began on the famous Coronation Street cobbles for young Suranne Jones. After previously appearing in the ITV soap in a small role as Mandy Phillips in 1997, Jones went on to audition to play Charity Dingle in Emmadale and Geena Gregory in Coronation Street.

After being turned down for both, she was contacted again by Corrie who wanted her to take on the part of new character, Karen Phillips. Billed as “a bulldog in hoop earrings”, Karen would immediately become a force to be reckoned with on the show and would go on to have one of the soap’s most popular on-off fiery relationships with Steve McDonald.

Watch Coronation Street on ITVX.

9. The Crimson Field - Sister Joan Livesey (2014)

Commissioned as part of the BBC’s centenary reflections on the First World War, The Crimson Field told the story of doctors, nurses and volunteers who worked on the coast of France dealing with the injured bodies and souls of men in the trenches.

Suranne Jones ventured into period drama alongside Oona Chaplin, Hermione Norris, Kevin Doyle and Kerry Fox in a series written by Sarah Phelps (Dublin Murders, The Pale Horse).

8. Scott & Bailey - Sergeant Rachel Bailey

Lesley Sharp and Suranne Jones as Scott and Bailey ITV/Red Productions

Suranne Jones and Sally Wainwright teamed up in this gripping ITV police procedural, which ran for five seasons between 2011 and 2016.

Lesley Sharp starred opposite Jones as the pair played friends and colleagues Rachel Bailey and Janet Scott, two detectives in Manchester Met Police.

The series features guest roles from Amelia Bullmore, Pippa Haywood, George Costigan and Nicola Walker.

Watch Scott and Bailey season 1-5 on ITVX Premium or BritBox.

7. A Touch of Cloth – DC Anne Oldman

Suranne Jones in A Touch of Cloth with John Hannah Kieron McCarron/Sky/Endemol

Proving that she could do comedy just as well as drama, Suranne Jones starred alongside john Hannah in Charlie Brooker’s rapid-fire spoof comedy series, which the British police drama genre.

Jones manages to be a deadpan delight throughout as the gags and set-pieces get sillier, dafter and funnier in this underrated and forgotten gem.

6. Save Me - Claire McGory (2018-2020)

Suranne Jones in Save Me

Lennie James’s award-winning dark drama series about child abduction featured Suranne Jones playing mother Claire, whose daughter Jody mysteriously disappears.

James stars as Claire’s ex and Jody’s father Nelly, who makes it his personal mission to save Jody. Stephen Graham, Jason Flemyng and Susan Lynch are also part of the impressive cast.

Watch Save Me and Save Me Too on Sky Atlantic with NOW.

5. I Am Victoria - Victoria (2022)

Following the critical acclaim of Dominic Savage’s first I Am.. series, which featured Vicky McClure, Gemma Chan and Samantha Morton, Suranne Jones kicked off series 2 with a story about mental health and anxiety that can often lay just underneath the surface of people who seem to have the perfect life.

Jones is brilliant as Victoria, a woman weighed down by the pressures of everyday life, but unable to seek help. Ashley Walters and Alice Feethan co-star.

Catch up on I Am Victoria on Channel 4.

4. Unforgiven - Ruth Slater (2009)

Suranne Jones as Ruth Slater in Unforgiven ITV

Alongside Sarah Lancashire, Sally Wainwright’s most common screen muse is Suranne Jones. The pair have worked together several times, including in the critically acclaimed Gentleman Jack.

The duo’s first big success came in ITV 2009 drama Unforgiven – a series which would later be adapted into a Sandra Bullock movie.

Like most of Wainwright’s work, the series is set in Yorkshire and follows the story of Ruth Slater, a woman who goes on the hunt for her sister after she is released from prison for the murder of two police officers.

Watch Unforgiven now on ITVX Premium or BritBox.

3. Vigil - DCI Amy Silva (2021)

Suranne Jones in Vigil series 1 as DCI Amy Silva BBC

A mysterious disappearance of a Scottish fishing trawler and a death aboard Trident nuclear submarine HMS Vigil align for an investigation that delves deeper than detectives could have realised.

Suranne Jones stars as DCI Amy Silva, who is nominated to lead the police investigation into the submarine death, a daunting prospect as she is lowered into the waters to join the remaining crew who are still out at sea

Her detective work both at sea and on land pits the police against the Navy and security services to uncover a conspiracy that threatens the very heart of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

Watch Vigil series 1 on BBC iplayer.

2. Gentleman Jack - Anne Lister (2019-2022)

Suranne Jones as Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack series 2 BBC

Another Suranne Jones and Sally Wainwright hit came in the BBC and HBO collaboration on the story of landowner and industrialist Anne Lister.

Based on her diaries which revealed a lifetime of lesbian relationships, the West Yorkshire-set series earned critical 5-star acclaim and was loved by fans for its endearing romantic storyline and humour.

Watch Gentleman Jack series 1 and 2 on BBC iPlayer.

1. Doctor Foster – Gemma Foster (2015-17)

Suranne Jones as Gemma Foster in Doctor Foster BBC

Suranne Jones picked up a BAFTA for her stunning performance in this twist-filled, psychological thriller about a doctor who suspects her husband Simon (Bertie Carvel) is having an affair.

Jones delivers a career best performance as Doctor Gemma Foster, whose life is turned upside down as she pursues and investigates the shocking truth that pulls her world apart.

Watch Doctor Foster series 1 and 2 on ITVX Premium and BritBox.

Best of the rest

  • Beth Goddard in Vincent (2005)
  • Linda Nelson in Strictly Confidential (2006)
  • Idris in Doctor Who (2011)
  • DC Laurie Franklin in Five Days (2010)
  • Sarah in Single Father (2010)
  • Miss Pinkerton in Vanity Fair (2018)
  • Carole Mackay in Christmas Carole (2022)

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