CAE Reading and Use of English Part 7
You are going to read an article about the making of a popular television detective series. Six paragraphs have been removed from the article. Choose from the paragraphsA – Gthe one which fits each gap (41-46). There is one extra paragraph which you do not need to use.
Scott and Bailey
On Silver Street in Bury, Manchester, an old Barclays Bank building has been turned into the headquarters of the Major Incident Team of the Manchester Metropolitan Police. They don’t actually exist, the Manchester Metropolitan Police, but you would never know that if you looked around the building.
This rigorous authenticity is one of the things that makes Scott and Bailey different from other police dramas and extends further than office ephemera. This is largely down to the involvement of Di Taylor, a retired CID detective inspector and co-creator of the series. And it helped it attract an audience of 9.4 million viewers last year.
It’s clever and it’s funny: Wainwright has a remarkable way of creating sprightly dialogue. The plots are convincing and the characters are credible: it’s particularly good on the way women relate to each other. There is the friendship between two female detectives and the more complicated friendship between Scott and Murray, who is her contemporary and long-standing friend but also her boss.
The original idea belonged to Suranne Jonesand actress friend Sally Lindsay. It was given to Wainwright to write. Wainwright had met Di Taylor through a mutual friend and wanted to take the female heroes out of the regular police and put them onto the major incident team (MIT), ‘which is much more interesting than burglaries and car theft’.
‘I find them very masculine and there’s little that entertains me.’ Wainwright is particularly bored with the stereotype of the lone male detective who is brilliant but troubled. ‘I like to take people into dark areas but I also like to make them laugh. Di is a born detective but she has a robust personality and she’s deeply human as well. And very funny. I wanted to reflect that in the series.’
‘When I got talking to her, the penny began to drop,’ the actress says. ‘The Detective Chief Inspector I play is a brilliantly shifting character, which is really good going on TV. She’s imperious, funny, larky, annoying, beady, entertaining – it’s very unusual to get so many flavours.’
This is indicative of the feedback Scott and Bailey has received. Taylor says, ‘I’ve had people phoning me whom I haven’t spoken to for years – people who’ve been really high up on murder cases, who absolutely love it. The police all talk about it on their shifts the next day, which to me is the biggest compliment anyone could pay.’
Why is it so popular? Well, the thing that resonates most strongly with its actors, creators and critics is the script. Written by the acclaimed Sally Wainwright, the series concerns two female detective constables, Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) and Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones), their DCI, Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore), their intriguing personal lives and quite a lot of gruesome murder.
The director of this episode is Morag Fullarton. He is aware of striking a balance between what is authentic and interesting and what is authentic and dull. ‘Are we going to do what is procedurally correct and will be boring, or are we going to dispense with that and make it more interesting for the viewer?’
As well as creating very believable people, authenticity is achieved in others ways, too. For one episode they were allowed to shoot in a real prison. ‘I’ve been refused access there before, for another programme,’ the locations manager says, ‘but the lady from the prison service loves Scott and Bailey because it’s very true to life.’
Rachel Bailey is bright but rather chaotic, an instinctive detective who takes risks, both personally and professionally; Janet Scott is her older colleague, with two daughters, a husband she’s bored with and a colleague who’s in love with her. There’s a lot of chat and some very serious issues discussed in the cafeteria. Alongside that are the crimes. This is television drama at its best: fresh and intriguing and very compelling.
Posters urging the report of domestic abuse adorn the walls of the reception area and in the detectives’ office there is a scruffy, studenty atmosphere – jars of Coffee-mate on top of the fridge, Pot Noodles and a notice urging ‘Brew fund due. You know who you are – pay up!’ The desks are strewn with cold and flu medicine; the walls of the DCI’s office are hung with framed certificates.
So Wainwright created Gill Murray. When Amanda Bullmore was cast in the role, she had no idea that her character was based on a real person. She read the script and then went up to Manchester to meet Wainwright, who said, ‘We’re taking you out to dinner to meet Di who’s been very instrumental in all this – just sit next to her and soak it all up.’
Talking to Taylor made Wainwright realise that she could write a cop show that was exciting and different. Wainwright is not a fan of most police dramas. She doesn’t even like The Wire.