Scott & Bailey star Lesley Sharp has been talking to Radio Times about her experiences filming the hit police drama. In a new interview, the actress comments: “I do slightly raise my eyebrows when I get asked what it’s like to be on a show written by a woman that has lead female characters, writers and directors.

“And I just think, ‘would you put that to Stephen Tompkinson when he’s playing DCI Banks?’. He’s a guy, the producer’s a guy, the director’s a guy. Would that be put to him as being something extraordinary in the workplace? Well, no it wouldn’t. So why should it be an issue the other way around?"

Sharp also sings the praises of such dramas as Line of Duty and The Fall that have followed in the wake of the ITV hit:

“When Scott & Bailey started, it was sort of a lone wolf. But there’s an appetite out there for really interesting, complicated, female heroines," the actress adds. "And now we have women like Keeley Hawes and Vicky McClure being brilliant in Line of Duty and Gillian Anderson being amazing in The Fall. It’s wonderful that there’s now writing out there that gives them the chance to get their teeth into something, rather than being an appendage to the man as a wife or a mother.”

Of the new series, which begins on Wednesday 10 September, Sharp reveals that her character Janet Scott will be in competition with colleague Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones) for a sergeant's post. But unlike in the last series, when the pair had a momentous falling out, the competitiveness will not lead to a fresh bust-up:

"We’re at pains to show women as good, cooperative and supportive colleagues. There is a competitiveness between them, but it’s out in the open. There’s no unpleasant skulduggery or bitching. They both want to succeed, but it’s a healthy depiction of two women in the workplace rather than an archetypal telly catfight."

Read the full interview with Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones and Amelia Bullmore here.