Suranne Jones takes LGBTQ+ allyship ‘very seriously’ after Vigil and Gentleman Jack roles

Suranne Jones plays LGBTQ character detective Amy Silva in season two of BBC series Vigil.

Vigil star Suranne Jones says she takes LGBTQ+ roles “very seriously” as she reprises her role as detective Amy Silva in season two of the hit BBC series this December.

The former Coronation Street star, 45, was catapulted into the queer hall of fame after starring as Regency-era lesbian Anne Lister in the widely-loved BBC series Gentleman Jack. She then cemented herself as a sapphic icon after stepping into the shoes of Amy Silva, one half of the badass lesbian couple at the centre of BBC’s award-winning political thriller Vigil.

In season one, Jones’ character Amy found herself at the centre of deep-sea intrigue after a mysterious death on military submarine HMS Vigil. In the upcoming second season, Amy and her onscreen partner, DI Kirsten Longacre (played by Rose Leslie), must investigate multiple fatalities when a weapons test set to secure a multi-billion dollar arms deal in the Middle East goes horribly wrong.

During a special screening of the season two opener at BFI Southbank on Monday (27 November), Jones spoke about why she is drawn to playing queer women and her special connection with the LGBTQ+ community.

Rose Leslie (L) and Suranne Jones (R) star in Vigil season two.
Rose Leslie (L) and Suranne Jones (R) star in Vigil season two. (BBC/World Productions LTD/Nicky Hamilton/Rufina Breskin)

“I think you’re drawn to the role, drawn to the character, you’re drawn to what that person can give you and you can give to the person. So that’s the first thing,” she said.

The actor went onto explain how everything changed when she discovered an “open and wonderful” queer fanbase while on Gentleman Jack.

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She continued: “Obviously through Gentleman Jack I found a community that was so open and wonderful and receptive and willing to share their experiences with me, I was like ‘wow, this can be another part of a job! You can really connect on a whole other level’.

“So I think by doing that particular job and then this one I’ve been very welcomed as an ally and I take it very seriously.”

Elsewhere in the Q&A, co-star Leslie spoke about both Jones and herself ensuring there was an LGBTQ+ writer within the writer’s room when they sat down to film season two.

Suranne Jones appears in 19th century garb as she plays lesbian historical figure Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack
Suranne Jones in Gentleman Jack. (BBC)

“Just so that we were able to get across the relationship that we have,” she explained, “that they are two people in love and their sexuality in no way defines who they are. They are kind and generous to one another and respectful and that’s a beautiful thing.”

After the first season aired in 2021, Vigil made waves as the most watched new BBC drama in three years, attracting an audience of 13 million for its season opener. It went on secure a BAFTA nomination for Best Drama and won an International Emmy for Best Drama series.

Vigil season one is available to stream on BBC iPlayer. Season two returns on Sunday 10 December at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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