Red Production Company has started shooting the fourth series of police-drama Scott & Bailey in Oldham and Manchester.

Over the last 3 seasons, it has become one of ITV’s most successful returning series, with the finale of series 3 watched by an average of 7.1m viewers (a 27% share).

Co-created and written by Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax, Unforgiven), she will be executive producer on the new series alongside Red’s Nicola Shindler and former Scott & Bailey producer Tom Sherry (Prey, Murphy’s Law).

“We’re thrilled to be producing a new series of Scott & Bailey,” said Shindler.

“It’s rewarding to think the public have become so familiar with the characters and taken them to heart.  With this new series, we have the chance to explore great story ideas and continue developing those characters.”

Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp return to their title roles and they’ll be joined by new cast member, Danny Webb (Locke, Poiret, Lightfields) who’ll play DC Chris Cowley.

The 8 episodes will see Scott and Bailey’s relationship tested as they both seek the same promotion to detective sergeant.

Writing duties are being split between Amelia (Di and Viv and Rose at the Hampstead Theatre and Craven for BBC Radio 4), who will write 4 episodes; former Coronation Street actor, Lee Warburton, who’ll be penning 2 and Emily Ballou (American Blackout, Case Histories) who’ll take responsibility for the remaining two.

The series is produced by Juliet Charlesworth (All at Sea, Leaving, Hit & Miss) and directed by Simon Delaney (Drifters, Love Matters, Parents) and Noreen Kershaw (Moving On, Coronation Street).

“ITV Drama without Scott & Bailey would be unthinkable,” said ITV director of drama Steve November. 

“Its reputation for quality storytelling and great characterisation precedes it and it’s become a firm favourite with ITV viewers. We’re delighted to be working with Nicola, Sally and Red Production Company on a fourth series.”