BBC Drama

How Sally Wainwright brought her heroine to life in Gentleman Jack

Suranne Jones as Anne Lister and Sally Wainwright (Credit: BBC/Lookout Point/Matt Squire)

Some 20 years in the making, Sally’s Wainwright’s new television drama, Gentleman Jack, was originally rejected by every broadcaster she took it to. The story of an openly gay woman who farmed in 19th-century rural Yorkshire was considered a non-starter by TV networks. Starting this month, the topic is getting eight hours of BBC One Sunday-night primetime.

It’s common for writers to describe their latest work as a “passion project” – often industry-accepted shorthand for what they hope is infectious enthusiasm for their new offering.

Bodyguard snags the top spot on BBC iPlayer

David Budd (Richard Madden) (Credit: BBC/BBC Studios)

In 2018, BBC iPlayer received requests for 3.6 billion programmes throughout the year.

Among the top ten requested shows per series included Bodyguard, Killing Eve, McMafia, Doctor Who, Keeping Faith, The Cry, Dynasties, Our Girl, Bing and MOTD Live.

“In 2018 we saw people who use iPlayer increasing the amount of time that they spend watching programmes on it,” said Dan McGolpin, Controller of Programming for the BBC.

Himesh Patel and Ewen Leslie join BBC Two’s new drama The Luminaries

(Credit: BBC)

Set in New Zealand during the 1860s, the series follows British adventurer Ana Wetherell (Eve Hewson) who falls in love with fortune hunter Emery Staines (Himesh Patel), and is plunged into a world of tragedy, mystery and revenge.

The couple must overcome numerous barriers put in their way, particularly from the spiteful Lydia Wells (Eva Green) and rich boy Francis Carver (Marton Csokas).

Killian Scott and Sarah Greene lead new BBC drama Dublin Murders

Killian Scott and Sarah Greene (Credit: BBC)

Inspired by Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad novels, the series follows detectives Rob Reilly (Killian Scott) and Cassie Maddox (Sarah Greene).

It sees the pair attempt to solve the murders of a young ballerina and a vivacious free-spirited woman.

Set during the height of the Celtic Tiger financial boom, the two murders, seemingly unrelated, are revealed to be connected through the cruel elements in both cases.

Sam Claflin and Anya Taylor-Joy join Peaky Blinders

Sam Claflin, Anya Taylor-Joy and Brian Gleeson (Credit: BBC)

Series five, which began filming in Manchester last month, sees the devastating effects of the 1929 financial crash. Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy, is now a Labour MP and takes on the responsibility of not just his family, but the electorate as well.

Other new cast members to debut in the Bafta award-winning drama are Brian Gleeson, Elliot Cowan, Charlene McKenna, Andrew Koji, Daryl McCormack, Kate Dickie and Emmet J Scanlan.

Fifth and final series of BBC One’s Poldark begins filming

(Credit: BBC)

The new series takes place after a time-jump of ten years, which fans of the books by Winston Graham (on which the series is based) have been expecting. Horsfield, who has written every episode of the four previous series has a cunning approach to seamlessly weaving in this passage of time. 

The drama will pick up in the wake of the shocking death of Ross Poldark’s long time paramour and, latterly, enemy Elizabeth Warleggan.

Richard Gere and Helen McCrory to star in new BBC drama MotherFatherSon

(Credit: BBC)

Richard Gere will play charismatic self-made American businessman, Max, who owns media outlets around the world. Helen McCrory will play his long suffering, estranged wife, Kathryn, a British heiress. Billy Howle will portray their 30 year-old son, Caden, who runs one of his father’s UK newspapers and is primed to become one of the most powerful men on the planet. Like father, like son.

Speaking to the RTS in 2017, writer Tom Rob Smith promised "an intense psychological family drama set against the backdrop of power and politics."