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Gentleman Jack – Series 1 Review

Everything you need to know about the BBC drama

Tue, August 27th, 2019

Following her success in the tense series Doctor Foster, Suranne Jones has now caught the public eye once again with her role as the formidable woman of history – Anne Lister from the 19th century. She will be reprising her role in Gentleman Jack which was renewed for a second series. We have all of the information of what you can expect from the second instalment.

The true story follows the life of Anne Lister who is the ‘first modern lesbian’ according to writer Sally Wainwright. The series was well-received during the first series and fans are now expectant for the second. Lister comes across Ann Walker who is played by Sophie Rundle and the story of their love unfolds in scenes that had viewers laughing and crying.

Wainwright says, the emotional reaction to the show has been overwhelming. The show has understadbly had a big impact amongst gay women, but also so many straight women are feeling empowered by it as well. It’s not just making gay women feel vindicated and empowered.

The writer beleives that it’s brilliant for people to see a woman who just goes out and gets what she wants. Anne Lister had really good mental health and she had a real healthy opinion of herself without self doubt or lack of confidence.  The cast even had an injoke on set… If they weren’t quite sure what the next step was, they would ask ‘What would Anne Lister do?’.

Gentleman Jack will return with eight more instalments to the story – airing on HBO in the States and BBC1 in the UK. However, there hasn’t yet been an announcement on the date but we have been provided with some clues as to what will happen. We know that Suranne Jones and Sophie Rundle will be reprising their roles.

The second series of Gentleman Jack will pick up where they left off with the marriage of the two women in 1834. They left the church hand in hand as newlyweds and are deciding what the next step is. As the writer is working from historical material, there is plenty more for her to discover and delve into in the second series.

This bickering was a part of their relationship the entire way through the first series and Wainwright has said that just because they’re married doesn’t mean that this dynamic will change any time soon. Which was exactly why she ended the first series in the way she did. She claims she didn’t want it to be schmaltzy, and intended to show that when people get married they start bickering quite quickly. The thought is that it was very real and very funny. Wainwright beleives that this dynamic is very true to their relationship, which was always quite a difficult marriage to negotiate.

Next up for the couple is their honeymoon. While their exploits in the first series lead them to Denmark, it is likely that the second will be focused on Europe and the Alps. Anne Lister had a notorious case of wanderlust and loved to travel, a passion which she then shared with her wife Ann Walker. They first travelled to North Yorkshire, Geneva, Mont Blanc and Paris.

Following their travel, they then returned to their normal life to discover the joys of marriage together. However, if Wainwright decides to stay close to history then there will be two important deaths in Lister’s life – her father, Jeremy Lister who is portrayed by Timothy West and her aunt, Anne who is portrayed by Gemma Jones. The pair of them both died in 1836, not too long after the marriage.

However, she has voiced her concerns about killing off Lister’s family, saying that she really does not want to lose the two characters. Both her aunt and her father are really wonderful characters, adding to the dynamic around the dining table.

The other cliffhanger that was left open was the question of whether Thomas Sowden portrayed by Tom Lewis will be caught for the murder of Sam Sowden. The diary that Wainwright is working from doesn’t provide much information so she may be taking liberties on the true events of what happened. She’s holding the cards close to her chest on that one, however, wanting to leave it open and exciting for viewers.

Wainwright has also mentioned that she would like to explore Gentleman Jack and her story until the end of her life. However, she has expressed concerns seeing as Anne Lister died in 1840 at the young age of 49. Therefore, her death would be explored at around the fourth series if it was to be renewed. She isn’t sure how the fans would react to seeing their beloved character die.

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