Who doesn’t relish a quality period drama to get stuck into? And if you loved Suranne Jones in Doctor Foster, then her upcoming BBC series needs to be on your radar. Taking the lead in Gentleman Jack, Suranne will play real-life British society figure Anne Lister, a rebellious Yorkshire landowner who lived a uniquely adventurous life in the early 19th century, travelling the world and climbing mountains.
The series is set in 1832 in Halifax, during the Regency era, as Anne returns to England to save her ancestral home of Shibden Hall. Anne Lister was also one of the few openly lesbian women at that time in Britain, and the series will explore her love affair with the wealthy heiress Ann Walker, played by Peaky Blinders’ Sophie Rundle.
The story of Anne Lister’s unusual life has been pieced together from her many diaries; she was a prolific diary-keeper, writing four million words – in her own secret code – over her lifetime. (They were deciphered by one of her ancestors many years later).
The eight-part series will also star Gemma Whelan (Game Of Thrones) as Anne Lister’s sister Marian, Timothy West (Last Tango In Halifax) as their father, and Gemma Jones (Bridget Jones’s Diary) as their aunt.
If a cast of that calibre hasn’t already won you over, Gentleman Jack is written by Sally Wainwright – who was behind the hugely addictive, BAFTA-winning Happy Valley with Sarah Lancashire. Suranne has worked with Sally before on both Unforgiven and Scott & Bailey.
Earlier this month, Suranne posted a portrait of her character Anne on her Instagram account, explaining that she would be taking a break from social media while she was busy filming the show.
Filming for Gentleman Jack has started on location in and around West Yorkshire – so expect some beautiful scenery to feature – and in Copenhagen. The show is expected to air on BBC One later in the year.