Filming is underway on the second series of Sally Wainwright’s award winning hit Gentleman Jack, with cameras rolling all this week in Halifax. Suranne Jones returns as the remarkable Anne Lister, with Sophie Rundle reprising her role as Ann Walker in the Lookout Point production for BBC One, co-produced with HBO.
Yorkshire, 1834. All eyes are on Anne Lister and Ann Walker as they set up home together at Shibden Hall as wife and wife, determined to combine their estates and become a power couple. Anne Lister’s entrepreneurial spirit frightens the locals as much as her unconventional love life and, with Halifax on the brink of revolution, her refusal to keep a low profile becomes provocative and dangerous.
Series two will again use the real life diaries of Anne Lister – part of which were written in code – as its source, with every part of Lister’s story based in historical fact and the five million words she wrote in her journals.
Returning to Shibden Hall for the new series are Gemma Whelan as Marian Lister, Gemma Jones as Aunt Anne Lister, and Timothy West as Jeremy Lister. They are joined by many returning cast including Lydia Leonard (Mariana Lawton), Jodhi May (Lady Vere Cameron), Katherine Kelly (Elizabeth Sutherland), Derek Riddell (Captain George Sutherland), Stephanie Cole (Aunt Ann Walker), Peter Davison (William Priestley), Amelia Bullmore (Eliza Priestley), Vincent Franklin (Christopher Rawson), Shaun Dooley (Jeremiah Rawson), Rosie Cavaliero (Elizabeth Cordingley), Joe Armstrong (Samuel Washington), Anthony Flanagan (Ben Sowden), George Costigan (James Holt).
Joanna Scanlan (No Offence, The Thick Of It) will join as guest cast for series two in the role of Anne Lister’s outrageous former lover Isabella ‘Tib’ Norcliffe.
Together with independent health and safety consultants, in full consultation with industry partners and the local authorities, and in accordance with all current government guidelines on Covid-19, Gentleman Jack’s production team will adhere to comprehensive protocols to ensure that the new series is produced in a safe and responsible manner during this time of global pandemic.
Sally Wainwright says: “I’m more thrilled than I’ve ever been about anything that we’re returning with a new series of Gentleman Jack. We’ve had such an extraordinary response from so many viewers all over the world about the first series, and I can’t wait to show them what we’ve come up with this time.
“Their excitement for the show has been a joy, and an inspiration. I’ve been in a little bit of heaven once again spending so much time deep in Anne’s diaries as I’ve written the scripts, and can’t wait to see the fabulous, joyous magic and detail that Suranne and Sophie will bring to it all. As ever it’s been a real pleasure working with Faith and the super cool team at Lookout Point, and our wonderful supportive teams at the BBC and HBO. I’m so excited and happy for this series, I hope people love it as much as they did the first.”
Suranne Jones says: “I’m so happy to be back in beautiful Yorkshire, back with my favourite team, back with Sophie and this amazing cast and of course I’m so honoured to be returning as Anne Lister. Sally’s scripts are detailed and wonderfully human as ever.”
Sophie Rundle says: “I feel very lucky to be heading back to Halifax to tell more of this extraordinary story that has meant so much to so many people all over the world. It is a privilege to be able to make more of this brilliant, brave show with such a talented cast and crew.”
Faith Penhale, executive producer for Lookout Point, says: “What a joy to be able to tell more of Anne Lister’s incredible, life-affirming story. We’ve channelled Anne’s determination to get this production up and running and the cast and crew have been simply incredible in helping make that happen. As always Sally’s scripts masterfully transform Anne’s diaries into thrilling, hilarious, poignant drama and we feel very lucky to be the ones bringing them to life. And I can’t wait to reunite Suranne and Sophie for the next instalment of Anne and Ann’s extraordinary love story.”
Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “The phenomenal response from BBC One viewers to Gentleman Jack series one was testament to the peerless work of Sally, Suranne and the team. In light of government guidelines allowing for UK film and television production to continue, I’m delighted that cameras are now rolling on the next chapter of Anne Lister’s extraordinary life.”
Kathleen McCaffrey, SVP, HBO programming, says: “We couldn’t be more excited to continue telling the story of the inspiring, inimitable Anne Lister. We continue to stand in awe of our fearless leader, Sally Wainwright, whose passion and vision, together with incredible performances from Suranne Jones, Sophie Rundle, and the rest of our spectacular cast, have made Gentleman Jack such a special and beloved series. We’re also grateful to our wonderful partners at Lookout Point and BBC. We can’t wait for audiences to see more of Anne and Ann!”
Gentleman Jack series one was a hit for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, averaging 6.8 million viewers across its eight-episode run. It won the RTS Drama Series award and received BAFTA nominations in the Drama Series category, as well as the Leading Actress category for Suranne Jones’ performance. Internationally the series won the BANFF Rockie Award for Drama Series: English Language.