Thrilling news today. Suranne Jones has been cast as the swashbuckling Anne Lister in the upcoming Sally Wainwright drama for the BBC and HBO. Jones should be fantastic as the brash and determined lesbian who lived in the 1830s in Yorkshire.
Formerly called Shibden Hall, but now named Gentleman Jack, the 8 part series is the story of a 19th century Yorkshire woman who had an open and passionate relationship with another woman.
The story is based on fact and the 4 million words of Anne Lister’s diaries. Anne wore men’s clothing. She was a rich landowner and determined to marry well. The person she married with a ceremony and exchange of rings was Ann Walker. Ann Walker hasn’t been cast yet as far as I know.
Jones was quoted by the Radio Times as saying, “I first worked with Sally 10 years ago and I remember the feeling of reading her scripts like it was yesterday. They were scripts for women; fresh, daring and bizarre in a wonderful, modern, fun, complex and challenging way. Now I get to once again speak the words of an almighty talent on a show I know she holds close to her heart.”
Wainwright was quoted by Variety saying, “Anne Lister is a gift to a dramatist. She is one of the most exuberant, thrilling and brilliant women in British history, and I can’t wait to celebrate her. To bring Anne Lister to life on screen is the fulfillment of an ambition I’ve had for twenty years.”
The series will be directed as well as written by Sally Wainwright. Filming doesn’t begin until next year so it will be quite a wait to see the series.
Sally Wainwright and Suranne Jones worked together before on Dead Clever, Unforgiven, and Scott & Bailey.