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How Sally Wainwright brought her heroine to life in Gentleman Jack

Suranne Jones playing 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.

Interaction Man: Bear Grylls explores new territory for Netflix

When he’s not jetting across the world to tackle some of nature’s harshest conditions, the 44-year-old survival expert can be found with his family on a remote island off the coast of Wales, living a life you can only imagine is the real-life equivalent of The Wild Thornberrys (minus the talking animals).

He was able to correspond from a mountain in Switzerland in what could possibly be the most Bear Grylls-esque setting for an interview you could imagine. 

Netflix announce seven new commissions from the Obamas' production company

The range of programmes features a children's series about food around the world, a series shining a light on remarkable people whose deaths were not reported on and a film adaptation of David W. Blight's novel Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.

The commissions also include documentaries exploring America's disability rights movement, and the story of a Chinese billionaire who faces problems opening a factory in a post-industrial Ohio. 

Our Planet Q&A | Highlights

Following a screening of the Our Planet episode Frozen Worlds, members of the crew, including series producer, Keith Scholey, producer Sophie Lanfear, camera operator Jamie McPherson and assistant producer​ Olly Scholey, spoke to Lynn Barlow about how the episode was made.

The panel shared their experiences working on the nature series and how it was created.