A new Sunday night show on BBC is being hailed by viewers as a ‘refreshing’ period drama with a pretty modern story and you’re going to need to watch it.
Gentleman Jack, an eight-part series on the BBC that aired its first episode last night, is written by Happy Valley’s Sally Wainwright and tells the story of Anne Lister, a real-life famous 19th Century wealthy Yorkshire landowner who kept a diary detailing her lesbian affairs. Sounds ridiculously saucy for the time? It really was.
The show stars Doctor Foster’s Suranne Jones as our clever, racy leading lady, Anne Lister, who defies all the conventions of a Sunday night period drama (this ain’t no Downton Abbey), swapping the Austen-style frilly bonnets and constricting corsets for sharp tailoring - attagirl!
Gentleman Jack follows Lister from the age of 41, in 1832, a few years before she inherited her crumbling ancestral home Shibden Hall from her aunt. She’s got a broken heart from unrequited love and has just moved back to Halifax, eventually meeting local Ann Walker (played by Sophie Rundle) who she wants to marry.
The story also follows her journey in bringing Shibden Hall back to life and turning around its fortunes. Of course, being a woman in charge of a stately home in the 19th century was hard enough, being a lesbian was another level so Lister had to her relationships under wrap.
Without giving away too many spoilers, expect some Fleabag-style talking-to-the-camera scenes, quite a bit of gore and rather a lot of VERY noisy lesbian love scenes (there was apparently an ‘intimacy co-coordinator to choreograph them all).
The drama also stars Gemma Whelan as Lister’s sister and Timothy West as Lister’s father.
While US viewers have had a head start on the series, as it began airing on HBO in America on April 22, UK fans were sharing their delight in the new drama last night all over Twitter, praising it to be “validating” for women everywhere.
Others contrasted it to the disappointing Game of Thrones finale and for some, it sparked other feelings ...
Like we said, you’re going to need to watch this one... along with all the other shows below...