Suranne Jones to Play Anne Lister in Sally Wainwright’s “Gentleman Jack”

Suranne Jones in Scott & Bailey

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.

5 thoughts on “Suranne Jones to Play Anne Lister in Sally Wainwright’s “Gentleman Jack””

  1. I don’t know if you are aware of this but the BBC has already told the story of Anne Lister in a one-off from 2010 called ‘The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister’ with Maxine Peake. I was going to call Peake incomparable but now we will have Jones to compare her to.

    It is on DVD and might be on Netflix in your region (but certainly not in mine).

    1. No, I didn’t know that. Thanks for the info. Google tells me it’s available on Amazon Video and Vudu. Sounds like a good place to start learning about Anne Lister. I know nothing at all about her.

  2. Well well well…I might say that to anyone who watched the series Gentleman Jack on BBC/HBO knows that IT eclipsed the ver narrow and rather shallow Peake movie.

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