Game of Thrones star Gemma Whelan is to join Suranne Jones in Sally Wainwright’s upcoming period drama Gentleman Jack.
Jones stars as remarkable Regency landowner Anne Lister in the BBC One drama, which will hit screens in 2019.
Speaking to the RTS in 2017, Wainwright spoke of her attraction to the project. “[She was] this extraordinary woman who lived in Halifax in the 1820-30s. She did some extraordinary things at a time when women just weren’t allowed to do anything really.”
“She made the first recorded ascent of Mount Perdu in the Pyrenees, she studied brain surgery under Georges Cuvier in Paris, she sunk her own mines, she did all her own engineering… The biggest thing was she married another woman in 1834.”
“I’d say she’s my heroine, but she did some quite dark things as well. She did own mines and she would have employed children down them. She’s quite a complicated person to like.”
Gemma Whelan will play Anne Lister’s sister. Sophie Rundell (Peaky Blinders) plays Ann Walker – the wealthy heiress Anne Lister sets her sights on marrying.
Also joining the cast are Timothy West (Last Tango in Halifax) and Gemma Jones (Bridget Jones’s Diary), as Lister’s father Jeremy, and aunt Anne.
Stephanie Cole (Still Open All Hours) will play Ann Walker’s aunt.
Based on Lister’s four million word diaries – written in a code that has now been cracked – the series sees Lister return home from her travels determined to transform the fate of her ancestral home, Shibden Hall in Halifax.
Set against the backdrop of the industrial revolution, the eight-part drama explores Lister’s relationships with those close to her – as well as her blossoming love story with her would-be wife, Ann Walker.