Uranne Jones, who is 45 years old, is a well-known and reliable figure in British television. She has starred in various shows, which are often intense and confined dramas, such as Doctor Foster, Gentleman Jack, and the excellent I Am Victoria on Channel 4. She also portrayed the determined investigator DCI Amy Silva in BBC One’s Vigil, a murder mystery that took place on a submarine. The show was a hit, attracting over 13 million viewers in 2021 and even winning an International Emmy. The show will now be returning for a second season. Jones resides in north London with her partner Laurence Akers, with whom she has a production company called TeamAkers, and her seven-year-old son.
Okay, let’s begin by addressing Vigil season two.
I did not anticipate another season of Vigil when I first joined the show. However, my agent questioned how a submarine-based show could have a second season. Therefore, we were surprised when it was renewed and wondered what direction it would take.
This instance involves a Scottish air force base, where there were fatalities during a weapons test. Were you persuaded by any evidence?
I was initially uncertain about the connection to drones when I heard about the project, but then they explained that the Scottish police’s motto is “Always vigilant,” which tied everything together. It was very exciting to have Dougray Scott and Romola Garai as our new leads.
Were you aware of them previously?
I am not familiar with working with Romola, but she has a great sense of humor. I have admired her work since I was young, even though we are around the same age. I have always had a high regard for her talents. However, I suggested to her that she should try doing more comedy. It is amusing to see this side of people. Dougray also has a similar hilarity and silliness.
Are you commonly associated with darker roles? Do people also make that assumption about you?
I am often perceived as either an expert in dealing with difficult situations or a representation of chaos. It’s hard to pinpoint how one would describe my character in “Doctor Foster”: perhaps as a vindictive woman on the fringes. I am relatable as an everyday person, but also somewhat on the outskirts. Despite this, I have a passion for comedy and musicals. In fact, I have established my own production company because the roles I was being offered were similar to those I have already succeeded in portraying. I suppose that’s just how the industry works.
Have you been in successful shows in the past? Did the reaction to the initial Vigil feel unique?
I believe it was due to the timing after the Covid pandemic, but during that period, television played a crucial role in providing connection to people. With limited options on platforms like Netflix, Sarah Lancashire’s speech at one of her numerous award ceremonies struck a chord with me. I have great admiration for her and hope to collaborate with her in the future. She emphasized the importance of television as a means of connection, and as actors, we tend to underestimate our impact. However, that time served as a reminder that storytelling holds significance in people’s lives.
You brought up the topic of experiencing trauma. Does it prove difficult to not bring your work home with you?
It was manageable with Vigil since I was extremely exhausted. As a woman going through perimenopause, I am constantly drained by it. Additionally, we were filming in Morocco where the weather was scorching and there were other distractions. However, I prioritize wellness due to the demanding hours and physically strenuous tasks on set. Sometimes, our bodies cannot distinguish between real and staged trauma. Therefore, promoting wellbeing on set is a significant priority for me.
In previous conversations, you mentioned a desire to enhance your work-life balance. How has that been progressing?
It’s incredibly easy, and I’m not sure why I didn’t consider this earlier: I don’t work whenever my son is out of school. It’s a great feeling. So I take breaks during summer, Christmas, and his half-term breaks and declare that I am not working.
Do you have concerns about potentially declining excellent job opportunities?
Sorry, I am not interested in knowing about them. I have worked hard for 20 years to reach this point of being able to say that without any hesitation. It has been a long journey filled with mistakes and a public breakdown, but I have finally found a balance that works for me.
Did you make a direct connection to your experience in Bryony Lavery’s play Frozen in 2018, when you had to withdraw from the production based on advice from doctors?
Definitely. The lifestyle was not at all beneficial in any sense. What does it signify to claim that your profession is thriving? Now I can confidently say: “My career is flourishing because I am genuinely content.” Moreover, I have been undergoing therapy for two decades, so none of this has been effortless. However, this is what works for me.
What cultural experiences have you recently enjoyed?
I had the incredible opportunity to see Madonna, and she left a lasting impression on me. Her performance evoked nostalgic memories of my youth, and the fact that she is 65 and still achieving incredible things was truly inspiring. I also had the honor of being a guest judge on [RuPaul’s] Drag Race, which was an absolute thrill.
Was it a goal you had for a long time?
Drag Race is so beautiful. It’s an entertainment show, and it’s funny, and it’s its own world. I’ve watched every season of wherever they’ve done it. It’s like my little church. So I was a little worried that it wouldn’t be everything it is, but I loved it. I want to go back. I want to live there.
The second season of Vigil will premiere on BBC One on December 10th at 9pm, with the first season available on BBC iPlayer.