Is ‘Gentleman Jack’ worth watching? Here’s what the reviews say

New period drama series Gentleman Jack starts airing in the UK this weekend.

Created, written and directed by Sally Wainwright – the writer of Last Tango In HalifaxTo Walk Invisible and Happy Valley – the much-anticipated mini-series is set in Halifax, West Yorkshire in 1832.

Gentleman Jack is based on the diaries of real-life Regency landowner Anne Lister, played by Doctor Foster star Suranne Jones.

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.

The eight-part series began in the USA last month on HBO, garnering very positive reviews.

Watch the trailer:

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.”

We’ve rounded up a selection of reviews to help you decide if you’d like to watch it:


“Jones and Rundle are wonderful together, each making the absolute most of every emotion Wainwright’s scripts throw their way.” – Variety


“Like all good period dramas, Gentleman Jack is packed with quickly paced plots and subplots, scattering its attentions along the bucolic roads, which Anne traverses in long, determinedly virile strides.” – The Washington Post


“HBO’s touching, amusing, true lesbian love story shines in the hands of creator Sally Wainwright and star Suranne Jones.” – The Hollywood Reporter


“Parts of Gentleman Jack … replicate that 19th-century pace. Things certainly happen, but there’s not that much plot in the total scheme of things.” – Vulture


“The 19th-century locutions of Jack feel lively and lived-in; the tone is neither starchy nor nostalgic but sardonic, playful and abundantly funny.” – The New York Times


“Like the movie The Favourite, Gentleman Jack is fascinated not merely by the oppression but also by the power of the closet, which transforms even sincere lovers into spies.” – The New Yorker


“Precise, attentive, and beguiling, Jones is such a gust of fresh air, it’s tough for the series around her to keep up.” – IndieWire


Gentleman Jack begins in the UK at 9pm on Sunday 19th May on BBC One.

The book The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister is available to buy on Amazon.