BBC lesbian drama casts Peaky Blinders’ Sophie Rundle opposite Suranne Jones

Peaky Blinders actor Sophie Rundle is set to play Suranne Jones’ onscreen lover in upcoming BBC drama Gentleman Jack.

The eight-part series – written and directed by acclaimed showrunner Sally Wainwright – will see Jones portray wealthy Yorkshire landowner and Britain’s “first modern lesbian” Anne Lister.

“MEET MY WIFE,” an enthusiastic Jones said as she announced the news on Instagram.

Posting a picture of the pair chatting during a recent table read, she continued: “The brilliant and beautiful Sophie Rundle will be playing Ann Walker in Gentleman Jack… I’m already a bit in love.”

Her soon-to-be co-star also shared her excitement on social media. Alongside a photo of herself and the Doctor Foster star, the 30-year-old actress exclaimed: “Ooh I’m really looking forward to having a fit wife this summer!”

Across her career, Rundle has starred in shows such as The Bletchley CircleCall the Midwife, Episodes and Jamestown. Interestingly, she’s worked with Wainwright before, when she appeared in three episodes of the BAFTA-winning crime drama Happy Valley.

Doctor Foster star Suranne Jones took to Instagram to share her excitement about Sophie Rundle joining the cast of Gentleman Jack (suranne_jones/Instagram)

Other new cast members that were announced include Timothy West (Coronation Street), Jodhi May (A Quiet Passion), Peter Davison (Doctor Who), Amelia Bullmore (Scott & Bailey) and Gemma Jones (Bridget Jones’s Diary).

Gemma Whelan, who is best known for playing bisexual character Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones has also joined the show.

Set in the 1830s, the historical drama will be co-produced by HBO and follow Lister after she returns home from a lengthy trip of social climbing and work.

Now an established society presence, she sets about transforming her dimming ancestral home, broadening her business interests and finding herself a wife.

While Lister was linked to a handful of women – discovered after historians cracked the code in which she penned her diaries – her relationship with heiress Walker is perhaps her most notable relationship.

It is said that Lister owned several diaries and wrote up to around four million words as she detailed her romantic and sexual relationships.

The code in which she wrote them was derived by both algebra and Ancient Greek and wasn’t deciphered until the 1980s. Gentleman Jack was her nickname around the town that she lived in.

Anne Lister is often referred to as Britain’s ‘first modern lesbian’ because of her openness towards her sexuality (c) Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Talking about the project, Wainwright told Digital Spy: “I’m delighted that the story of Anne Lister has attracted such a talented, stand-out cast. We also have a wonderful crew on board and I can’t wait to start filming.”

Gentleman Jack isn’t the first time the BBC has adapted Lister’s real-life story for the small screen. Back in 2010, the release of TV movie The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister saw Maxine Peake and The End of the F*****g World actor Christine Bottomley bring Lister and Walker to life, respectively.

While the new show is yet to confirm when it will first air, Gentleman Jack is scheduled to start filming on location in Copenhagen and West Yorkshire in May.