Disney+ orders 18th century adventure series from ‘Gentleman Jack’ writer

The creator of Gentleman Jack is writing a new period drama series for Disney+.

Disney’s streaming service launched in 2019 and now has over 100 million subscribers worldwide.

While their exclusive content has so far mainly been focused on the Star Wars and Marvel brands, Disney+ recently announced their first slate of UK scripted dramas.

VP of original content for Disney+, Liam Keelan announced: “This is just the beginning of a concerted push to bring the best ideas and storytellers to the service, appealing to audiences both here in the UK and across the globe.”

One title stood out as the most exciting project for us, and that’s a brand new series from Yorkshire-born writer Sally Wainwright!

Sally Wainwright is the multi-BAFTA Award-winning creator and screenwriter of Happy Valley, Scott & Bailey, To Walk Invisible, Gentleman Jack, and Last Tango in Halifax.

Set in the 18th century, her brand new eight-part adventure series for Disney+ is titled The Ballad of Renegade Nell.

The story follows “swashbuckling highwaywoman” Nell Jackson, who begins a life of robbery when she’s framed for murder.

Wainwright teased: “Nell’s a ball of irreverent, blustering energy, fighting against the privileged gatekeepers of English society in 1705, battling to contain mysterious forces within her and her enemies as she goes on the run with her two sisters.”

She added: “I’m so excited to partner with Disney+ for this series, with their supportive approach and magnificent commitment to bringing this three-hundred-year-old story to the biggest possible global audience.”

The official synopsis reads: “When she’s framed for murder, Nell Jackson is forced into a life of highway robbery, along with her two orphaned sisters Roxanne and George.

“Aided by a plucky little spirit called Billy Blind, Nell realises that fate has put her on the wrong side of the law for a reason, a reason much bigger than she could’ve ever imagined, a reason that goes right up to Queen Anne and beyond, to the struggle for power raging across the battlefields of Europe.”

Executive producer Faith Penhale (Upstairs Downstairs, War & Peace) commented: “In Nell Jackson, Sally has conjured up yet another instantly iconic female lead. Her wit, warmth and boundless capacity for invention will make our journey through Nell’s riotous imagined life a very special ride indeed and viewers of all ages around the world will love the way Sally blends history and magic to create an utterly original, endlessly entertaining world.”

She said: “I’m delighted to be working on this series with Disney+. It’s a cutting-edge platform built on a great history, with enormous reach and class, and a dream home for our highwaywoman.”

The second season of Gentleman Jack is set to arrive this summer on BBC One in the UK and on HBO in the US.

Writer and creator Sally Wainwright previously commented: “I’m more thrilled than I’ve ever been about anything that we’re returning with a new series of Gentleman Jack. I’m so excited and happy for this series, I hope people love it as much as they did the first.”

Wainwright is also believed to be working on a sixth season of Last Tango in Halifax, and the long-awaited third season of Happy Valley.

The Ballad Of Renegade Neil will premiere exclusively on Disney+ around the world in 2022.

Gentleman Jack is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.