This week Suranne Jones reprises her role as the fourth-wall-breaking, real-life landowner and diarist Anne Lister, with the return of Gentleman Jack for season 2.
The BBC One show premiered almost two years ago to critical acclaim, and a brand-new trailer has given fans a glimpse of what’s next for Anne after she exchanged vows with her lover Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle) in a private ceremony at the end of season 1 – and there certainly looks to be drama aplenty.
The new clip shows the couple shacking up at Anne’s ancestral home of Shibden Hall as wife and wife, as well as finally touring Europe together.
However, it seems that it won't be plain-sailing for the pair, as the trailer suggests that Ann will learn more about her wife's "fruity past" this season, adding to the mix The Larkins' Joanna Scanlan as Anne's "outrageous" (and apparently gossipy) former lover.
With trouble brewing for the newlyweds, the new season will force Anne into a love triangle as her former lover Mariana Lawton (Lydia Leonard) makes a dramatic return. “I’m not the other woman. She is,” she tells Anne.
"They move into Shibden together in series 2 and it's about how they negotiate their married life, conspicuously in public, and how they deal with their detractors and the effect that has on their relationship as well," she previously told Digital Spy.
What’s more, the trailer teases local scandal as Anne’s business rivals circle and look to use the situation to their own advantage.
Talking about season 2, director and screenwriter Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax, Scott and Bailey) said in a statement: "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.
"I mean, I'm quite overwhelmed to be honest," she added. "I think because it's been such an emotional reaction. That I wasn't really anticipating."
She added: "Obviously it's had a big impact amongst gay women and the love for it is overwhelming, and that's so beautiful and exciting, but also so many straight women are feeling empowered by it as well. It's not just making gay women feel vindicated and empowered.
"One of the big things for me that I've learned about Anne Lister, through the process of writing this, is that she just had really good mental health and she had a real healthy opinion of herself. She wasn't plagued with self doubt or lack of confidence, she was very lucky I think – she had very good, very good mental health. And that's what I find most inspiring and uplifting about her.
"We've got this joke on set... If we weren't quite sure what the next step was, we would go, 'What would Anne Lister do?' And it really inspired us all. We've all got t-shirts now with it written on."
And though she doesn't tell us where to buy that t-shirt, Wainwright does share some exciting details about season 2. Read on for everything you need to know.
Gentleman Jack season 2 release date
Gentleman Jack season 2 will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 9pm on Sunday 10th April, with eight shiny new episodes for you to binge.
New episodes will land weekly.
Gentleman Jack star Sophie Rundle announced that filming had wrapped on season 2 back in October 2021.
"Corrr it’s been a long time coming but after a year - a whole YEAR - we have FINALLY wrapped on Gentleman Jack s2! Big, enormous love to our absolutely incredible cast and crew who put in a Herculean effort to battle pandemics, loss, births, floods and plagues of locusts to bring this beautiful love story back to our screens," she penned on Instagram.
"And big love to my wife, our team captain @suranne_jones who showed us all the way. And who knows how to drink cheap champagne in a trailer like a TROOPER."
The initial plan was to commence filming season 2 in June 2020, but production was delayed due to COVID-19.
"Reluctantly we have decided to delay the start of production of Gentleman Jack series two due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency," the production company said in a statement. "Huge thanks to our cast and crew, and to our incredible, inspiring fans for their understanding. Sending everyone a bit of Anne Lister strength and energy at this difficult time."
Gentleman Jack season 2 cast
Alongside Suranne Jones and Sophie Rundle, who play Anne Lister and her wife Ann in the show, other returning characters include Marian Lister (Gemma Whelan), Lady Vere Hobart (Jodhi May), Elizabeth Sutherland (Katherine Kelly) and Captain George Sutherland (Derek Riddell).
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In addition, Mariana Lawton (Lydia Leonard), Aunt Ann Walker (Stephanie Cole), William Priestly (Peter Davison), Eliza Priestley (Amelia Bullmore), Christopher Rawson (Vincent Franklin), Jeremiah Rawson (Shaun Dooley), Elizabeth Cordingley (Rosie Cavaliero), Samuel Washington (Joe Armstrong), Ben Sowden (Anthony Flanagan) and James Holt (George Costigan) will be returning for season 2.
The Larkins' Joanna Scanlan has also joined the cast as Isabella "Tib" Norcliffe, Anne's "outrageous former lover" (above), which probably won't go down so well with Ann.
Gentleman Jack season 2 trailer
The BBC has released the first full-length trailer for Gentleman Jack season 2, giving fans a first look at trouble in paradise for Anne and Ann as they settle at Shibden Hall as wife and wife.
The clip also shows the pair finally touring Europe together, with Ann telling Anne: “I’ve never seen you like this. So happy.”
Anne’s bubble is soon burst, however, as her former lover Mariana Lawton (Lydia Leonard) makes a dramatic return and attempts to stake a claim to Anne. “I’m not the other woman. She is,” she tells her, speaking of course about Ann.
"She hasn't got a clue about the vast rich tapestry of your fruity past," says BAFTA Film Awards 2022 winner Joanna Scanlan as her new character Isabella ‘Tib’ Norcliffe, another of Anne’s former lovers.
Meanwhile, the trailer makes clear that Anne and Ann have become the subject of local gossip, with Anne’s business rivals looking to use the situation to their own advantage. Watch below:
Will Anne Lister's aunt and father be in season 2?
Anne's father Jeremy Lister (Timothy West) and her beloved Aunt Anne (Gemma Jones) are set to return for Gentleman Jack season 2.
However, if the series continues at the same pace and follows Lister's real-life history, theoretically we would have two major deaths towards the end of season 2, given that both Jeremy and Anna died in 1836.
But don't count them out just yet.
"I haven't made too many choices yet, but I don't really want to lose that character," Wainwright tells us of Aunt Anne. "I think both her aunt and her father are really wonderful characters, and the dynamic around the dining table – I think that seems to work very well. There's a nice family comedy in there with those different generations and with Marion [Gemma Whelan] of course, who's wonderful. So no, I don't lose characters unless I have to."
She adds: "There's even an argument that it's telly and I don't have to! Just because they die in real life it doesn't mean I have to bump them off in the drama – if they're useful characters."
Gentleman Jack season 2 plot: What happened next with Anne Lister and Ann Walker's marriage?
Suranne Jones is set to return as Anne Lister, with Sophie Rundle as Ann Walker. The first season covered two years of Anne Lister and Ann Walker's lives, beginning in 1832 and ended with their self-styled marriage in 1834.
And with the TV drama picking up where it left of at the end of season 1, there is plenty of story to tell...
The official synopsis for season two reads: "Yorkshire, 1834.
"All eyes are on Anne Lister and Ann Walker as they set up home together at Shibden Hall as wife and wife, determined to combine their estates and become a power couple.
"Anne Lister’s entrepreneurial spirit frightens the locals as much as her unconventional love life and, with Halifax on the brink of revolution, her refusal to keep a low profile becomes provocative and dangerous."
Season 1's finale ends with a quiet – but touching – scene. Anne Lister and Ann Walker leave the church in York as 'newlyweds', having cemented their commitment to each other by taking the sacrament and privately exchanging rings; the two of them start bickering affectionately about where to go next.
This is an indication of things to come.
"I didn't want it to be to schmaltzy, I wanted to show that when people get married they start bickering quite quickly," Wainwright jokes, explaining her decision to end the drama on this note. "And so I thought it was very real, I thought it was very funny.
"I also thought it was very true to their relationship, which was always quite dysfunctional after they made this commitment to one another. It was quite a difficult marriage to negotiate. Think of the external factors, the external forces that were always stacked against them. Nobody wanted them to be together except themselves, and that gives us lots of interesting material to explore in the second season.
"As soon as people knew that they'd moved in together, there was a lot of opposition to it. And it had an effect on them – it was always going to be a difficult marriage, it was always going to be tricky."
Wainwright adds: "What I think is interesting is they were quite equally matched, in an odd sort of way. So even though Anne Lister seems like this absolute powerhouse with this iron will, Ann Walker had a real streak of stubbornness – and of course she had all the money. So there was a real interesting dynamic and a real interesting power dynamic between them, which I'm really looking forward to exploring a bit more fully."
But first, there will be the honeymoon.
Season 1 took us to the royal court in Denmark, but season 2 will involve a trip to Europe and the Alps. Anne Lister was, after all, a keen traveller and mountaineer who was determined to share her passion with Ann Walker.
"After their self-styled marriage ceremony in York, they went travelling," Wainwright says. "First they went to North Yorkshire, and then they went down to Geneva and they spent some time walking around the foothills of Mont Blanc." After weather prevented their ascent up the mountain, the duo toured France and visited Paris.
Then it was back to Anne Lister's so-called "shabby Shibden" and life with the Lister family...
What next for Thomas Sowden and his wife?
Season 1 of Gentleman Jack ends with two weddings – and a cliffhanger for season 2. Will Thomas Sowden (Tom Lewis) get away with murder? Or will the truth about Sam Sowden's grisly fate be revealed?
There are no clues in the diary, because the real Samuel Sowden was not (so far as we know) fed to the pigs by his own son. So what will happen with this storyline? "That'll come to the offing," Wainwright says.
She adds: "There's some really interesting stuff in the journals, in the diaries, there was always a lot of shenanigans with the servants one way or another. So it's just choosing the right stories, really, to try and reflect a bit of what was going on in real life – but maybe taking a few liberties with them as well."
What real-life historical events will we see in season 2 of Gentleman Jack?
This was the time of the industrial revolution, and that's something we'll see highlighted in series two of Gentleman Jack – beyond the discussions of coal mining on Lister land.
"It was happening right there on Anne Lister's doorstep in Halifax," Wainwright says. "And we're going to go into 1835. And there was a big election in 1835, and it was known as the window-breaking election, and that was because it was the rise of the working classes, and the landed interest like Anne Lister was becoming less and less powerful.
"The window breaking in Yorkshire was really violent, and places like Halifax got really smashed up by the radicals who were really agitating for proper political reform. Anne Lister's class was on the receiving end of that. I think it was probably the closest the country's come to a second violent revolution, so I really want to try and weave that into the bigger backdrop. I want to show more of Halifax and the big backdrop of that world. It actually would have been a very volatile political environment – and a particularly volatile place as well."
Will there be a third season of Gentleman Jack?
No news yet. But Sally Wainwright is 100% up for making a third season – and future seasons after that.
"Yes, yes, I would like to," she confirms. "I'd like to go all the way to the end of her life.
"But it's quite a tricky thing to do, and I'm worried people might get cross if I kill her off... that's a conversation I will have to have further down the line!"
If Gentleman Jack stays true to real-life events (SPOILERS!), Anne Lister would die in 1840 at the age of 49. And if – theoretically – each future series covers another two years of her life, that would place her death at the end of series four.
The tragedy occurred away from Shibden Hall, when Anne and Ann were travelling through the Russian Empire.
"I'd certainly like to dramatise the trip that her and Walker did in Russia and down into Georgia, it must have been a really exciting thing to do," Wainwright says. "Very dramatic as well, when Anne Lister did die and Ann Walker brought her body back.
"It took her six months to bring her body back... she took her body from Georgia to Moscow where her body was embalmed and then she brought her back to be buried in Halifax parish church.
"To me that's such a huge act of love and such a brave thing to do. But that's much further down the line..."
And speaking to RadioTimes.com at the South Bank Show Awards, Marion actress Gemma Whelan said she was excited by the prospect of working on Gentleman Jack for years to come: "Delighted. Absolutely delighted. What a thing to be a part of."
Fingers crossed for even more Gentleman Jack!
Gentleman Jack will return to BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 9pm on Sunday 10th April. Season 1 is available to stream in full on BBC iPlayer.