How did the actor prepare to become a new-fangled Ebenezer? By channelling Cruella De Vil and watching Drag Race, of course! She talks about her Christmas gift to Gentleman Jack fans – and how to escape a torpedo tube
Start your engines, because Suranne Jones is about to become the first ever Scrooge inspired by a TV drag competition. In Christmas Carole, the Vigil and Doctor Foster star plays a new version of Ebenezer Scrooge – called, of course, Carole. “When I was filming Gentleman Jack, I watched 13 series of RuPaul’s Drag Race,” says Jones. “I told the director, Carole is like a drag persona. At first, he thought I was mad. But she’s got that superhero-ness, that self-belief and confidence and single-mindedness. It was really useful to use Drag Race in that way.” When she read the script, she made a moodboard for what Carole might look like. “Anna Wintour was on there. And Cruella de Vil. And Nicole Kidman from Paddington. Carole is instantly recognisable, with the bob, the red lips, the red bag and the red nails. And I could just be horrible. Really horrible. And it was great.”
Horrible though Carole may be, it is probably the most cheerful show Jones has done in quite some time. Over the last couple of years, she has stomped her way around the industrial revolution in 19th-century Yorkshire (Gentleman Jack), endured panic attacks and a breakdown (I Am Victoria), had a child go missing (Save Me) and woken up trapped inside a submarine torpedo tube that was slowly filling with water (Vigil). You can understand why, for Christmas, she treated herself to a comedy caper with a side order of singing and dancing.