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Gentleman Jack

Series 1 - Episode 1

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Review

After too long an absence, writer Sally Wainwright is back with this roistering, witty biographical drama based on the real life of the remarkable Anne Lister. Lister was a woman born out of her time, who didn’t just bridle against the suffocating conventions of 19th-century Britain, she kicked out and stamped down, hard. She loved work and she loved women.

Suranne Jones, magnificent in a hairstyle that looks like a casserole-dish lid, roams her Halifax estate in mannish clothes, dispensing good sense and brusque kindness to her tenants. She’s chatelaine of Shibden Hall (where Gentleman Jack is filmed) and we first see her returning to “shabby little Shibden and my shabby little family” after an unhappy trip to Hastings.

There’s a lot of exposition – because there’s a lot about Anne that must be explained – but once we get past the borderline “how do you solve a problem like Anne Lister?”-type family chats, this is great stuff.

Summary

New series. Historical drama by Sally Wainwright, starring Suranne Jones, based on the true story of controversial 19th-century landowner Anne Lister. In 1832, Anne returns to her family home in Halifax following the end of her relationship with aristocratic lover Vere. Struggling to live with her father and sister, she finds a welcome distraction in transforming her family's coal-rich land - while a visit from another old flame feeds her fears that she is destined to be alone. With Timothy West and Gemma Whelan.

Cast & Crew

Anne Lister Suranne Jones
Ann Walker Sophie Rundle
Samuel Washington Joe Armstrong
Eliza Priestley Amelia Bullmore
Elizabeth Cordingley Rosie Cavaliero
Aunt Ann Walker Stephanie Cole
William Priestley Peter Davison
Sam Bowden Anthony Flanagan
Mariana Lawton Lydia Leonard
Vere Hobart Jodhi May
Marian Lister Gemma Whelan
Aunt Anne Lister Gemma Jones
Jeremy Lister Timothy West
Director Sally Wainwright
Executive Producer Sally Wainwright
Executive Producer Faith Penhale
Executive Producer Laura Lankester
Producer Phil Collinson
Writer Sally Wainwright
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Drama