Gentleman Jack creator Sally Wainwright has said that she originally planned for the show to finish on season 4 after HBO's recent cancellation of the drama.


The BBC One show, which stars Suranne Jones as 1830s landowner and lesbian Anne Lister, was discontinued by its co-producer HBO last week, while the BBC said in a statement that it was "in discussions" with Wainwright about "what's next".

Speaking to in an exclusive interview, Wainwright said that the news was "a surprise" and that she had plans for Gentleman Jack to reach season 4.

"I mean, my ambition when we started was to tell the story of the rest of her life which would have hopefully been about four series," she said.

Sally Wainwright with Gentleman Jack stars Gemma Whelan and Suranne Jones.
Sally Wainwright with Gentleman Jack stars Gemma Whelan and Suranne Jones Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

"So, you know, I think season 2 ended in a good place but there is still a lot more to tell," she added. "How that marriage continued, all the ups and downs they faced, Anne Lister's ambition in Halifax, her travels abroad, you know, and the machinations within the family. There's some really good drama to be [explored].

"That fantastic performance from Suranne, that fantastic performance from Sophie [Rundle] and all the cast really. It was a bit of a dream team."

Wainwright said that while the show's future is currently up in the air, she is hoping the BBC will choose to renew it.

"Things happen for a reason. But you know, I think we all want to try and pursue it a bit more before we accept that it really might not be coming back."

The BAFTA-winning writer also said that the BBC is "up for" renewing Gentleman Jack but needs another streaming partner, as the broadcaster "wouldn't want to continue with it without it having the same production values".

She added that HBO's decision to cancel the show was down to budget cuts following their parent company Warner Bros recent merger with Discovery, adding: "I think they're not as interested in period drama. They're certainly not interested in 19th Century English lesbians by the sound of things."

The period drama, which was based on real-life figure Anne Lister's diaries, followed Lister as she restored her uncle's estate in Halifax and pursued a romance with Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle).

Looking for something else to watch? Take a look at the rest of our Drama coverage or check out our TV Guide to find out what's on tonight.


The latest issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale now – subscribe now and get the next 12 issues for only £1. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times podcast with Jane Garvey.