Lynda La Plante Introduces Tennison Transcript
The build up to establishing Jane at the Hackney police station means that I have had to create an awful lot of officers that we’ve never seen in any Prime Suspect before, because predominantly they were very, very young. Surprisingly young. And so that is one of the biggest features of the book and of the story and the characters surrounding her. It’s how young they are. And I love that because Jane isn’t the only naive one. There are some young officers that are also equally naive, and some very young detectives. But that was part of the joy of having an absolute right-hand police that were there at the time and were working from that station.
Jane Tennison WPC, aged 22, very naive, incredibly innocent really, is stationed at Hackney. Now you have no choice. You can’t say ‘I’d like to go to Kensington or Knightsbridge’ your very easy, lovely, luxury areas. Hackney, when she went there, was one of the worst, most run-down stations in London. It was also very dangerous. This was the era of the Kray twins, they had just been charged with murders, corruption, and that’s where they had their gangs; Hackney. So the criminality in that area is absolutely rife. And you have to think about it as, there she is very young very naive, placed into a station where discrimination was absolutely rife. There were no female detectives, and there was only one other WPC at the station, and luckily for Jane she’s a very good-hearted, wonderful character, so at least she has one ally. But Hackney is a nightmare.
It’s been really enjoyable to be writing Jane Tennison at the age of 22. Because she’s straight out of training school, and when you’ve done your probationary training and you’re ready to go into a proper station, you have no choice. You don’t know where you’re going to go. And I was very fortunate because working with me and alongside me is Cass Sutherland, an ex Metropolitan police officer who is based at Hackney police station with his young wife. And so I had the most perfect duo to do all my research. And it’s set in 1973 and so no DNA, no mobile phones, no security cameras, no surveillance, so it’s been a wonderful experience to go back in time, and also to enjoy writing not only the young 22 year old girl but to also incorporate the music of the time, the rock ‘n’ roll, the great, great period for music. So it’s been very, very enjoyable to do.