Suranne Jones in Maryland

OPINION: Suranne Jones is her most vulnerable yet in Maryland, a gripping tale about grief

Can the actress do no wrong?

Suranne Jones is back on our screens in ITV’s Maryland and, once again, proves why she’s got a bulging shelf of awards at home.

The actress, 44, portrays grieving daughter Becca in the gripping new drama, which I’m already predicting will get several nods at the BAFTAs next year.

And it’s fair to say that Suranne gives a blistering performance in the role, and shows viewers a new, softer side to her repertoire…

Here’s why Suranne Jones‘ performance in Maryland is her most vulnerable yet.

Suranne Jones and Eve Best star in Maryland
Actors Suranne Jones and Eve Best star in gripping new drama Maryland (Credit: ITV)

Suranne Jones plays Becca in Maryland

Suranne Jones portrays a grieving daughter in ITV’s moving drama Maryland. In the mini-series, Suranne’s character Becca reunites with estranged sister Rosaline (played by Eve Best) after hearing the horrible news that their mum has died.

The drama is an all-too raw look at grief, and how it affects people in different ways. But it’s also a mystery, and is both uplifting and optimistic at times.

As well as grappling with the aftermath of the death, Becca and her sister Rosaline discover that their mum Mary was living a secret double life… The sisters forge an uneasy alliance to investigate who their mother really was.

It’s a brilliant three-part drama, with an excellent cast. George Costigan stars, alongside Stockard Channing, Hugh Quarshie, and Dean Lennox Kelly.

It’s proof once again that Suranne Jones can do no wrong.

Actress Suranne is her most vulnerable yet in ITV three-parter

I’ve watched a lot of Suranne Jones dramas. If she’s in it, I’ll watch it. And I am rarely disappointed. Her TV career speaks for itself – Vigil, with a second series coming soon, is just the latest in a long line of hits.

She’s a solid bet, and has only got better with experience and age. In the future, she may well be up there with the greats like Sarah Lancashire, and Anne Reid.

And I was especially touched by her performance in Maryland. She shows a vulnerability I’ve never seen in her before. The actress is perhaps best known for playing ballsy Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack. But’s she also portrayed vengeful Gemma in Doctor Foster. And feisty Karen McDonald in Coronation Street.

Dare I say, TV producers were in danger of typecasting her… If she wasn’t a steely cop, she was a high-flying doctor in Harley Street, or embittered divorcee in Five Days.

Becca in Maryland is one of Suranne‘s most vulnerable performances yet. The character is fragile, and always puts her family first. She has a needy dependency on her mum and dad, and still desperately covets her older sister’s approval.

Suranne Jones crying as Becca in Maryland
Suranne Jones breaks down as grieving daughter Becca in Maryland (Credit: ITV)

Actress Suranne on her character Becca

Suranne has explained that she had the choice of playing either sister, and chose to “play someone recognisable in a very ordinary way”.

She adds: “She has two kids, a husband, and she’s a busy mum. The Becca’s of this world are perhaps not represented on screen as much as other people. She’s that person who is a little bit stuck, who works really hard, but doesn’t think too much about herself.

“You know, she’s had to care for her sister, she’s had to care for her mum, she’s had to care for her family and she’s in that kid of comfortable rut.”

Suranne continued: “I loved playing Becca. I loved playing someone who was being dragged along by the story, because obviously coming off the back of say, Vigil, or Gentlemen Jack, they’re characters who very much lead the story.

“They’re at the forefront, whereas Becca’s very unsure of her steps, and really doesn’t know where she’s going… She feels a very different kind of character for me compared to the ones I’ve recently played.”

Suranne Jones in Black dress on red carpet
Suranne Jones drew on her own experiences of grief for the role of Becca in Maryland (Credit: Grant Buchanan /

Suranne Jones draws from real life experiences in Maryland

Her compelling portrayal of Becca must surely be at least in part attributed to the fact that she too – like her character – has lost her parents in real life. Suranne has admitted she drew on her own tragic experiences of losing both parents. In fact, Suranne helped create the drama with Hullraisers scriptwriter Anne-Marie O’Connor.

Suranne Jones, talking about the loss of both her parents within five years, said in a recent press interview: “I know grief. I’ve lost both my parents. I know sickness and I know care.”

The actress brings all that and more to her portrayal of Becca in Maryland, and it’s mesmerising. She should start making room on her mantlepiece, as I predict there’ll be another gong coming in the future.

Read more: Maryland: ITV confirms start date for brilliant new drama starring Suranne Jones

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Maryland starts on ITV1 on Monday, May 22, 2023 at 9pm, and continues on Tuesday, May 23, and Wednesday, May 24. All episodes will be available on ITVX.

What’s your favourite Suranne Jones drama? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor

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