Gentleman Jack gets a second series

Sally Wainwright's period drama stars Suranne Jones as Anne Lister – "the first modern lesbian"

Gentleman Jack

Sally Wainwright’s BBC1 period drama Gentleman Jack, based on the extraordinary real-life story of “the first modern lesbian” Anne Lister, has been recommissioned for a second series.

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The show launched in May 2019 to critical acclaim, with an average overnight audience of 5.1 million viewers.

Lister was a nineteenth-century Yorkshire landowner who, over the years, wrote a now-famous four-million-word diary that documented her efforts to restore her ancestral home Shibden Hall as well as her business work, travels, and lesbian relationships.

The first series covers two years of Lister’s of life, beginning in 1832.

Doctor Foster’s Suranne Jones stars as Anne Lister, while Bodyguard actress Sophie Rundle plays Ann Walker, a wealthy heiress whom Anne hopes to marry.

“She loved women, and she loved sex,” said Jones at the BFI & Radio Times Festival.

“Talking to our advisor, the pool of women that she could choose from is quite small, because you have to be very careful who you’re talking to. The women that she had affairs with or dalliances with or fell in love with, often then went on to marry men for love or to keep up appearances or for money.”

Wainwright said in a BBC statement that she was “utterly delighted” that the show had been recommissioned.

Gentleman Jack - Ep 4

“It’s so exciting that so many people have had such a positive response to Suranne’s exuberant performance as the brilliant, life-affirming Anne Lister and to Sophie’s beautiful performance as her courageous partner, Ann Walker,” she said.

“I’m utterly delighted that we’ve been recommissioned, because there are so many more big, bold stories to tell about Anne Lister and Ann Walker. A massive thank you to the BBC and HBO and to everyone at Lookout Point.”

Jones added: “I’m so thrilled that I will be joining Sally Wainwright on the second part of Anne’s journey. We always dreamed there would be more and now we get to play it all out.”

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Gentleman Jack airs on BBC1 at 9pm on Sundays