Sally Wainwright

New documentary Gentleman Jack Changed My Life coming to BBC One

The drama follows Anne Lister, dubbed “the first modern lesbian” for having the courage to love and live openly with Ann Walker in the 19th century.

Since first airing in 2019, the series has inspired many to embark on their own journeys of self-discovery, reassessing their sexuality and coming out to themselves, their children, parents and grandparents.

Emma Loach, BBC Commissioning Editor, says: “It has been so exciting to hear the positive impact that the story of Anne Lister has had on so many people around the world.

BBC sets air date and releases trailer for Gentleman Jack series two

There are also new images of Suranne Jones, Sophie Rundle and Lydia Leonard as characters Anne Lister, Ann Walker and Mariana Lawton.

Set in 1834, the series will return to Yorkshire where the newly wedded Lister and Walker are making a home together at Shibden Hall.

The two aim to combine their estate in the hope of becoming a power couple, but Lister’s entrepreneurship frightens the locals as much as her unconventional love life. And as Halifax is on the brink of revolution, her high profile endangers them both.

First-look images released for Gentleman Jack series two

Suranne Jones as Anne Lister (credit: BBC/Lookout Point/HBO/Aimee Spinks)

The new series will see Suranne Jones return to her role as Anne Lister, with Sophie Rundle reprising her role as Anne Lister’s now wife, Ann Walker. Based on the real-life diaries of Anne Lister, some of which were written in code, Gentleman Jack’s second series will follow the couple as they set up their home together at Shibden Hall as wife and wife, in Yorkshire 1834.

BBC One’s Happy Valley to return for a third and final series

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After a five-year hiatus, Wainwright has written six new episodes of the West Yorkshire set police drama, with Sarah Lancashire returning to her iconic role as Sergeant Catherine Cawood.

James Norton (McMafia) will reprise his role as Tommy Lee Royce, the murderer and sex-offender who assaulted Catherine’s daughter. Siobhan Finneran (Alma’s Not Normal) will also return as Catherine’s sister, the recovering addict Clare Cartwright.

Winners of the RTS Yorkshire Awards 2020 announced

The creator of the hit BBC period drama received the Outstanding Contribution award. Wainwright, who also wrote Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax, said: “It’s very nice that the award has come on the back of Gentleman Jack, which I’ve been working on for over 20 years. It’s the project that’s always been most close to my heart.”

BBC One’s Gentleman Jack commences filming for series two

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Suranne Jones will be reprising her role of Anne Lister, with Sophie Rundle returning as Ann Walker.

The series will pick up in Yorkshire, 1834, where Anne Lister and Ann Walker are enjoying married life together at Shibden Hall. Determined to combine their estates, Anne Lister’s entrepreneurial zeal when paired with her unconventional love life begins to stoke fear and fury in the locals.

With Halifax on the brink of revolution, Lister’s refusal to fade into the background becomes dangerous and provocative.

Sally Wainwright: The people’s writer

It is doubtful whether Sally Wainwright’s writing has ever been described as inauthentic – her TV drama is populated with real people, speaking natural, colloquial English. “My imagination doesn’t seem to click in if what I’m writing doesn’t feel real, or if it’s phoney, or if something feels a bit cheesy or sentimental,” she told Endemol Shine UK COO Lucinda Hicks, who hosted an RTS webinar with the writer in May.

Sally Wainwright discusses Gentleman Jack series two and life in lockdown at the first RTS lunchtime event

Sally Wainwright

She is now penning the second series of the hit BBC drama, which is based on the diaries of a 19th century landowner exploring her lesbian sexuality.

Progress, however, has been slow. “I’ve got tons of work to do, but I’ve found it very hard to concentrate,” admitted Wainwright. She has turned out one episode during eight weeks of lockdown, a slower pace of writing than usual.

Normally, she said, “I take my deadlines very seriously”, but the coronavirus outbreak has put back filming of the new series from June to September.