Gentleman Jack (TV series)
|Created by||Sally Wainwright|
|Written by||Sally Wainwright|
|Theme music composer||Murray Gold|
|Ending theme||"Gentleman Jack" by O'Hooley & Tidow|
|Country of origin|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||8 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company||Lookout Point|
|Picture format||2:1 HDTV|
|Original release||22 April 2019 –|
Gentleman Jack is a historical drama television series created by Sally Wainwright.[a] Set in the year 1832 in Yorkshire, it stars Suranne Jones as landowner and industrialist Anne Lister. The series is based on the collected diaries of Lister, which contain over four million words and are written largely in secret code, documenting a lifetime of lesbian relationships.
Gentleman Jack is a BBC One and HBO co-production. The series premiered on 22 April 2019 in the United States, and in the United Kingdom on 19 May 2019. It was renewed for a second series by BBC One on 23 May 2019. Production on the second series, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resumed in October 2020. It then shut down again and resumed filming in the summer of 2021. Suranne Jones confirmed the series wrapped filming Season 2 in October 2021. Season 2 is set to be released in Spring 2022, but no official date has been confirmed.
Set in 1832, the brilliant, endearing Miss Anne Lister leaves Hastings brokenhearted and heads to the lush landscape of Halifax, West Yorkshire, England to restore her uncle's estate that she has inherited. While restoring the estate she finds that the family land has a coal mine and finds that it is being stolen by two brothers. This newly instated, unusual lady landowner and landlord encounters a potentially blossoming and dangerous romance with another woman, which she records in a cryptic diary that no one can decode.
Cast and characters
- Suranne Jones as Anne Lister
- Sophie Rundle as Ann Walker, Anne Lister's love interest
- Joe Armstrong as Samuel Washington, land steward for both Ann Walker and Anne Lister
- Amelia Bullmore as Eliza Priestley, wife of William Priestley
- Rosie Cavaliero as Elizabeth Cordingley, cook-housekeeper for the Listers and former Lady's maid to Anne Lister
- Gemma Whelan as Marian Lister, Anne Lister's sister
- Gemma Jones as Aunt Anne Lister
- Timothy West as Capt. Jeremy Lister, Anne Lister's father
- Tom Lewis as Thomas Sowden, one of Anne Lister's tenants
- Stephanie Cole as Aunt Ann Walker
- George Costigan as James Holt, who works for Anne Lister and helps with managing her coal business
- Peter Davison as William Priestley, Ann Walker's cousin and one of the trustees of her entailed estate
- Shaun Dooley as Jeremiah Rawson, Ann Walker's cousin and Christopher Rawson's brother
- Vincent Franklin as Christopher Rawson, a magistrate and Ann Walker's cousin
- Lydia Leonard as Marianna Lawton, Anne Lister's ex-lover with whom she occasionally sleeps
- Katherine Kelly as Elizabeth Sutherland, Ann Walker's sister who lives in Scotland with her husband and children
- Amy James-Kelly as Suzannah Washington, eldest daughter of Samuel Washington
- Thomas Howes as John Booth, head gardener for the Listers
- Albane Courtois as Eugénie Pierre, Anne Lister's femme de chambre or French lady's maid
- Ben Hunter as Joseph Booth, the Lister's manservant and brother of John Booth
- Daniel Weyman as Dr Kenny, the local doctor for Ann Walker, Aunt Anne Lister, Capt. Jeremy Lister and Henry Hardcastle
- John Hollingworth as Mr Abbott, Marian Lister's suitor
- Saul Marron as James Mackenzie, Ann Walker's manservant
- Anthony Flanagan as Samuel Sowden, Thomas Sowden's alcoholic and violent father, and as Ben Sowden, Samuel Sowden's brother and Thomas's uncle
- Rupert Vansittart as Charles Lawton, Marianna Lawton's husband
- Sylvia Syms as Mrs. Rawson, mother of Christopher Rawson and Jeremiah Rawson
- Brendan Patricks as Reverend Thomas Ainsworth, a man who raped Ann Walker and later proposes to her
- Jodhi May as Vere Hobart, later Lady Vere Cameron, Anne Lister's former traveling companion and unrequited love
- Sofie Gråbøl as Queen Marie of Denmark
- Stephanie Hyam as Sophie Ferrall
- Julie Agnete Vang as Countess Blücher
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||US air date||UK air date||US viewers|
|1||"I Was Just Passing"||Sally Wainwright||Sally Wainwright||22 April 2019||19 May 2019||0.441||6.70|
|In 1832, worldly Anne Lister returns to Halifax, West Yorkshire after her former lover, Vere Hobart, leaves her to marry a man. Taking over the management of her family's ancestral home Shibden Hall, Lister discovers that not only has the estate been neglected and the rents uncollected, but there is considerable coal on the property that could be mined at great profit. A chance meeting introduces her to the shy but wealthy heiress Ann Walker, who lives nearby.|
|2||"I Just Went There To Study Anatomy"||Sally Wainwright||Sally Wainwright||29 April 2019||26 May 2019||0.437||5.88|
|Anne Lister begins a dangerous venture of courting Ann Walker. Meanwhile, Lister continues to fight the Rawson brothers for coal and enlists the help of Mr. Washington to claim her money. After learning of Eugénie's pregnancy, John Booth decides to assist her in concealing her secret. After attending the wedding of Vere Hobart, Lister feels closure and begins her pursuit of Ann Walker to the Lake District.|
|3||"Oh Is That What You Call It?"||Sarah Harding||Sally Wainwright||6 May 2019||2 June 2019||0.338||5.70|
|Anne and Miss Walker's relationship begins to become intimate. Anne proposes a future with Miss Walker of them living together as a married couple. Miss Walker responds by saying they should wait six months before committing. The Rawson brothers try to outmanoeuvre Anne in the coal business by making a low offer. Mr. Booth proposes marriage to Eugénie to protect her honour. Feeling powerless, Marian threatens her sister by marrying a man to bear a male heir and challenge the ownership of Shibden. Anne realises Sam Sowden arrived to work drunk and dismisses him. Sowden's drunken threats force Thomas to take him home and tie him up. Later on, Thomas feeds him to the family pigs.|
|4||"Most Women Are Dull and Stupid"||Sarah Harding||Sally Wainwright||13 May 2019||9 June 2019||0.427||5.94|
|Mrs. Priestly develops grave concerns over Ann's newfound love with Anne Lister. After news of Mrs. Ainsworth's death, Ann suffers a bereavement as her secret begins to unravel. Anne continues to deal with the Rawson brothers in a fight to reclaim what they have stolen. After a proposal of an engagement from the newly widowed Reverend Ainsworth, Ann must make a decision. Eugénie suffers a miscarriage and calls off her engagement with John Booth, much to his dismay. Thomas feigns ignorance with his family and others regarding the death of his father and fears for his tenancy.|
|5||"Let's Have Another Look at Your Past Perfect"||Jennifer Perrott||Sally Wainwright||20 May 2019||16 June 2019||0.362||5.59|
|Reverend Thomas Ainsworth travels to Halifax and sets his sights on Ann Walker. Hearing of Ainsworth's arrival, Miss Lister sets out to deal with him in her own way. While Anne Lister proposes marriage to Miss Walker, Mrs Priestley spreads vicious statements about Anne Lister's character and her being a lesbian to Miss Parkhill, which ultimately leads to Ann Walker's detriment. Thomas Sowden's mother comes to the realisation of Sam Sowden's mysterious disappearance. Ann Walker fights and struggles to reconcile her desire for Anne Lister with the mix of her family's expectations and her faith eventually leading to Ann vociferously shunning Anne. In an attempt to keep Lister away from Walker to stop her from taking Ann's money to sink her coal-pits, Christopher Rawson sends a thug to beat up and intimidate Anne.|
|6||"Do Ladies Do That?"||Jennifer Perrott||Sally Wainwright||27 May 2019||23 June 2019||0.499||5.82|
|Anne returns to Shibden after having been beaten and laments over her loss of Ann. Thomas Sowden begins his own courtship over Suzannah Washington despite class restraints. Ann Walker's mental state takes a turn for the worse as she struggles to reconcile her homosexuality with her religious beliefs. Anne struggles with her desire to help Ann while balancing her coal ventures. John Abbott is twice invited to tea at Shibden, but Anne refuses to meet him each time, much to Marian's chagrin. Anne writes to Ann's sister and husband in Scotland, who decide that Ann should stay with them. Anne implores Ann to stay with them to recuperate. Before Ann departs, she once again refuses Anne's marriage proposal.|
|7||"Why've You Brought That?"||Sally Wainwright||Sally Wainwright||3 June 2019||30 June 2019||0.270||5.45|
|Thomas Sowden visits Suzannah's father and asks for her hand in marriage. Anne confronts Christopher Rawson over his disrespectful treatment of Marian. Offering the deeds to Shibden Estate as collateral, Anne takes out a loan to finance the sinking of a new coal pit. Her former lover Marianna Lawton joins her in London. Heartbroken over Ann Walker's rejection, Anne implores Marianna to leave her husband and come to live with her at Shibden. Miserable and alone, Anne continues her journey to Paris. Meanwhile, Ann Walker's mental health deteriorates further while staying in Scotland with her relatives, and she deeply gashes her hand from shattering a glass.|
|8||"Are You Still Talking?"||Sally Wainwright||Sally Wainwright||10 June 2019||7 July 2019||0.365||6.14|
|The sinking of the coal pit runs into unexpected financial problems, putting ownership of Shibden Hall at risk. While Anne is enjoying herself in Copenhagen and socialising with the royal court, she is summoned home after receiving a letter that her Aunt may die of gangrene. Meanwhile, Ann Walker leaves Scotland, much to the chagrin of Captain Sutherland. Ann Walker meets with Anne Lister, and says that she is ready to marry her. Lister takes Walker to the church where they take the sacrament together, and Ann agrees to move into Shibden Hall. Meanwhile, Thomas Sowden marries Suzannah Washington, but his uncle's presence at the wedding reveals to Washington's father that the uncle had not written a letter saying Sam had moved to America.|
Background and production
In November 2016, screenwriter Sally Wainwright was awarded the £30,000 screenwriting fellowship grant from the charitable organisation the Wellcome Trust, in partnership with Film4 and the British Film Institute. Wainwright disclosed to the media that she was writing a drama series about the landowner, industrialist, and intellectual Anne Lister and would use the grant to further her research. In March 2017, it was announced that BBC One and American network HBO had commissioned the eight-part series, provisionally titled "Shibden Hall", after Lister's ancestral home of the same name. Wainwright was announced as the series' director, and executive producer together with Piers Wenger and Faith Penhale. A native of Yorkshire, Wainwright had grown up in the environs of Shibden Hall and had had ambitions to write a drama based on Anne Lister for over 20 years. She described Lister as "a gift to a dramatist" and "one of the most exuberant, thrilling and brilliant women in British history".
In July 2017, the series was renamed Gentleman Jack and Suranne Jones was announced in the protagonist role of Lister. Wainwright, who had previously worked with Jones in Scott & Bailey and Unforgiven, deemed her capable of embodying the "boldness, subtlety, energy and humour" required to depict Lister. In April 2018, Sophie Rundle joined the production as Ann Walker, Lister's intended spouse.
BBC One released a teaser trailer for the series on 8 March 2019, followed by the first official trailer on 18 March 2019. The first trailer from HBO was also released on 18 March 2019.
The Hollywood Reporter described Gentleman Jack as a "funny, smart, and touching story" which at times has the main character talk to the camera to explain her inner thoughts, allowing aspects of Lister's diary to be used. The Guardian review said "Suranne Jones rocks Halifax as the first modern lesbian...Anne Lister's diary [becomes] a thrilling coal-town romp that flirts with parody, so maybe it's Queer Brontë." Variety pointed up the drama's uniqueness: "Wainwright makes an intriguing choice that sets up a decidedly adult romance about devotion, trust and partnership that is rare for TV in general, let alone for lesbian characters in a period piece."
Awards and nominations
|2019||Gentleman Jack||TVTimes Award for Best Actress||Won|
|TVTimes Award for Favourite Drama||Won|
|2020||National Television Award for Best Drama Performance||Nominated|
|National Television Award for New Drama||Nominated|
|Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actress||Nominated|
|Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor – Female||Nominated|
|Royal Television Society Award for Best Drama Series||Won|
|British Academy Television Award for Best Actress ||Nominated|
|British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series||Nominated|
The series tie-in paperback was released on 25 April 2019 by BBC Books in the United Kingdom under the title Gentleman Jack: The Real Anne Lister; and on 4 June 2019 in the United States by Penguin Random House as Gentleman Jack: The Diaries of Anne Lister. The book is authored by Anne Choma, who served as the historical adviser for the series.
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