Suranne Jones has teased queer fans by pledging to return to their TV screens soon with “more lesbian characters.”
The actor developed a major LGBTQ+ fanbase in recent years thanks to roles like 19th-century diarist Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack and, more recently, Amy Silva in Vigil. The former is a lesbian who documents dangerous romantic rendezvous through cryptic code, and the latter is bisexual detective chief inspector who is navigating having a baby with her partner Kirsten (Rose Leslie).
After her stellar performances both roles landed her such a devoted following, Jones pledged to portray more queer characters on-screen in the future.
Speaking to The Independent about the adoration that people have for Gentleman Jack, which was sadly cancelled after two seasons, Jones said: “I had played gay and bisexual characters before, but with Gentleman Jack, people started writing to me personally.
“I felt like I was invited to be a true ally, which I took very seriously, and I absolutely loved that role and what it did for people.”
When the series was cancelled, hardcore fans launched huge campaigns for its return, performing flashmobs where the show was set, sending letters to both BBC and HBO, and getting the hashtag #SaveGentlemanJack trending online – but to no avail.
Thankfully, fans of Jones will get to see her in a queer role again when she returns for season two of police procedural series Vigil this December.
Speaking to the publication about playing a bisexual character on the show, Jones said: “We’ve given Vigil a very real feel of two women who are defined by their careers, and the difficulty that brings to a relationship, where they have one child and they are bringing another into the mix.
“And we do it in a big, ballsy show, where there are lots of bombs going off. My next few characters are not lesbians, but I’ll be back with some more, I’m sure.”
As part of the interview, Jones was asked her opinion on the ongoing discourse about straight actors being cast in queer roles.
Jones, who has been married to husband Laurence Akers for nine years, said that she disagrees with opinions from the likes of showrunners Russell T. Davies and actors like Ben Whishaw that queer roles should be exclusively for queer actors.
“I feel that those who are deeply passionate about it – writers, directors, producers, actors – understand it,” she said.
“Like, it’s not like I don’t understand it. If someone has written something and they really want someone in it to have the lived experience, then I get it.
“That’s what they want their character to be infused with, but my characters are infused with other people’s stories, so if people give me a role, and want me to play it, then my responsibility is to make it my mission to talk to as many people as I can.
“To go, ‘OK, I’ll take that part of that story, and that part of that story,’ and then I’m just the face of many people’s experiences. That’s how I feel.”
Vigil season two arrives on BBC One on Sunday, 10 December