Gentleman Jack (TV series)
|Created by||Sally Wainwright|
|Theme music composer||Murray Gold|
|Ending theme||"Gentleman Jack" by O'Hooley & Tidow|
|Country of origin|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8 (list of episodes)|
|Production company(s)||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 season by BBC One on 23 May 2019.
Set in 1832, the brilliant, endearing Miss Anne Lister leaves Paris brokenhearted and heads to the lush landscape of Halifax, West Yorkshire, England to restore her uncle's estate which she has inherited. This newly instated, androgynous and unusual lady landowner and landlord, encounters a potentially blossoming and dangerous romance with the fairer sex, 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
- Joe Armstrong as Samuel Washington
- Amelia Bullmore as Eliza Priestley
- Rosie Cavaliero as Elizabeth Cordingley
- Gemma Whelan as Marian Lister
- Gemma Jones as Aunt Lister
- Timothy West as Jeremy Lister
- Tom Lewis as Thomas Sowden
- Stephanie Cole as Aunt Ann Walker
- George Costigan as James Holt
- Peter Davison as William Priestley
- Shaun Dooley as Jeremiah Rawson
- Vincent Franklin as Christopher Rawson
- Lydia Leonard as Marianna Lawton
- Katherine Kelly as Elizabeth Sutherland
- Thomas Hawes as John Booth
- Albane Courtois as Eugénie Pierre
- Ben Hunter as Joseph Booth
- Daniel Weyman as Dr Kenny
- John Hollingworth as Mr Abbott
- Jodhi May as Vere Hobart
- Anthony Flanagan as Sam Sowden
- Rupert Vansittart as Charles Lawton
- Sylvia Syms as Mrs. Rawson
- Brendan Patricks as Reverend Thomas Ainsworth
- Sofie Gråbøl as Queen Marie of Denmark
- Stephanie Hyam as Sophie Ferrall
|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 in order 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 arrives 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 hobnobbing 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 brings Walker to church where they take the sacrament together, and Ann agrees to move into Shibden Hall. Meanwhile, Thomas Sowden weds Suzannah Washington.|
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 and 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."
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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