Innocent returned to our screens last night on ITV.

Innocent two, a four-part follow-up to 2018s Innocent but with a completely new story and setting – is about a former teacher, Sally Wright, who was wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of one of her pupils.

During an interview Katherine Kelly, who plays Sally, talks about the new series and the character she plays.

You’ve made a few dramas in the crime genre – Criminal: UK, Happy Valley, Cheat and now Innocent – are there particular aspects of that world that you find interesting and engaging?

"I just think that it’s an evergreen topic, isn’t it. I pick the scripts despite the fact that they are crime genres," said Katherine.

"Innocent is about being integrated back into society when your freedom has been taken away from you. The character by choice doesn’t really talk about what has happened. It’s about moving forward. In regards to Criminal, that’s just a unique piece of television and Happy Valley was because it was Sally Wainwright.

"She gives you a ring and says come and do it and in what world are you going to say no?"

How is Sally different?

Katherine added: "Sally is a strong woman but in a different way to Natalie. When you meet her at the beginning of the show she’s just served five years in prison and it was a wrongful conviction.

"She is a tremendously damaged and traumatised human being, and yet she has that inner strength to make a conscious decision to move forward with her life.

"I don’t like to use the word victim, because she definitely doesn’t see herself as that, but Sally has been a victim of the system for one reason or another and she’s trying to re-establish her life in her community back in Keswick. It seems to me, we live in a world where people are mostly tried by the headlines and we don’t want to read the small print and the detail.

"Sally goes back to where she was born and bred and was a central part of the community, but she’s not accepted back."

What leapt out at you when you first read the scripts for season two?

Katherine explained: "I just recognised Sally as a kind of every woman, and as someone I could really associate with. She seemed really true to people that I know that I have grown up with, that sort of silent strength. It was attractive to play the detail of that and that’s what stood out about the character for me."

Director Tracey Larcombe says you discussed how important it is for Sally to physically reconnect with the landscape of Keswick.

Katherine continued: "The show is really about freedom and its importance. For me, what is more important than being free? It’s something that we absolutely take for granted, and yet when it’s gone it’s so hard to claw back.

"When you don’t have freedom you have very little. And who are you without freedom? And isn’t that something we’ve all had to consider during this pandemic? It’s a real investigation of that.

"With it being set in the Lake District it was really helpful visually, because she’s outside a lot. We have her sat by windows, because it’s not your choice when you can go outside when you’re in prison. In one of the documentaries I watched, one of the women said she couldn’t wait to be able to just walk in a straight line.

"You just walk in circles in the yard in prison when it’s exercise time. We really tried to get that across. The windows are down in the car and she gets out a lot, just that thing of the senses being ignited again.

"With that prehistoric landscape of the Lake District it’s such an easy way to plug back into the earth when you’re out in that kind of terrain. We’ve got scenes that weren’t particularly in the script that Tracey really wanted to include of Sally walking barefoot on the stones and feeling the ice cool water in the lake with her bare feet.

"Just because she’s got the freedom to do that if she wants. It’s also slowly bringing her back to life."

Is the Lake District a part of the world that you knew well before making Innocent?

"Not really. We used to holiday East rather than West," commented Katherine.

"I went on a Duke of Edinburgh thing to Windermere when I was about 13 and I remember going with a friend of mine from school, again to Windermere, on a family trip. They had a caravan so I went for a week or two with them, but it’s not a place where I’ve spent much time, but I moved down South at 18."