Viewers have been promised “warmth, wit, humour and complexity” in the BBC’s new period drama series from the creator of Last Tango In Halifax and Happy Valley.
Written and directed by Sally Wainwright, Gentleman Jack is based on the diaries of Anne Lister, the remarkable landowner who – after years of exotic travel and social climbing – returns to Halifax, West Yorkshire in 1832, determined to transform the fate of her faded ancestral home, Shibden Hall.
Her diaries were originally hidden in a secret code that has since been broken and every part of the incredible story is based in historical fact.
“A remarkable and unlikely love story set in the complex, changing world of Halifax,” the eight-part series will star Suranne Jones (Scott & Bailey, Doctor Foster) will play Anne Lister.
Executive producer Faith Penhale commented: “I can’t think of anyone better to play the magnificent and mercurial Anne Lister – Suranne is one of Britain’s most compelling screen actors; she is the perfect match for Sally’s outstanding scripts and together they will create unforgettable television.”
The official synopsis reads: “To restore Shibden Hall to its former glory, Anne must re-open her coal mines and marry well. But this isn’t just another Regency romance. Charismatic, single-minded, swashbuckling Anne Lister – who dressed head-to-foot in black and charmed her way into high society – has no intention of marrying a man. True to her own nature, she plans to marry a woman. And not just any woman: the woman Anne Lister marries must be seriously wealthy.”
Gentleman Jack will explore Anne Lister’s relationships at home with her family, her servants, her tenants and her industrial rivals, who will use any dirty tricks they can to bring her down.
A co-production between the BBC and HBO, Gentleman Jack will begin filming next year.
Suranne Jones returns to the BBC this autumn in the second season of psychological thriller series Doctor Foster.