Gentleman Jack: Release date, cast, plot for Anne Lister BBC drama

Anne Lister was known as Gentleman Jack, the title of Ross McGregor's play and of the BBC production due to air this year.

Gentleman Jack is a new BBC historical drama about Britain’s ‘first modern lesbian’ Anne Lister.

The eight-part series — which is in partnership with HBO — will see Doctor Foster star Suranne Jones play Lister.
Lister (1791-1840), often referred to as ‘the first modern lesbian’, was a successful entrepreneur and landowner who kept a detailed diary of her life.

Sally Wainwright, who created, wrote and directed the series, is over the moon with the casting choice. She said: “Bringing Anne Lister to life with all her complexity, passion, brilliance and wit is an epic challenge that will require all the boldness, subtlety, energy and humour that I know only Suranne will bring to it.”

What is the series about?

Gentleman Jack will take you back in time to 1832, following the life of Britain’s ‘first modern lesbian’ Lister.

After a life of travelling and mountaineering, Lister returns to her home of Halifax, West Yorkshire, during a time when women had certain societal expectations.


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We arrive in Copenhagen for our last leg of filming on #gentlemanjack and welcome Sofie Gråbøl to our cast! #bbc #hbo #annelister

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But of course, she had no such plans to follow conventions and marry a man. Instead, she pursues a life she wants… one with a wealthy heiress named Ann Walker, who will be played by Peaky Blinders actor Sophie Rundle.

Jones announced this news on Instagram last year. “MEET MY WIFE,” she wrote.

She continued: “The brilliant and beautiful Sophie Rundle will be playing Ann Walker in Gentleman Jack… I’m already a bit in love.”

Gentleman Jack cast

As well as Jones and Rundle, the series also stars Gemma Whelan (Game Of Thrones) as Lister’s sister Marian and Timothy West (Great Canal Journeys) as Lister’s dad Jeremy.

Other cast members include Peter Davison (Doctor Who), Gemma Jones (Marvellous), Stephanie Cole (Man Down) and Amelia Bullmore (Scott & Bailey).

Why is it called Gentleman Jack?

As Lister wasn’t as feminine as society expected her to be, she was ridiculed.

Suranne Jones plays Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack

Suranne Jones and Anne Lister, who she portrays in Gentleman Jack (photo from BBC, and Wikicommons)

It’s documented that her neighbours called her Gentleman Jack to make fun of how she dressed.

When will Gentleman Jack be released?

The lesbian drama will premiere on HBO in the US on April 22.

However, the UK release date for BBC One is yet to be confirmed but it’s likely to air in spring as the BBC simply says that the show is “coming soon.”

The first official trailer was released on March 18 by both HBO and the BBC.

Watch the Gentleman Jack trailer below: