Gentleman Jack: What Gentleman Jack writer really thinks about Suranne Jones

Gentleman Jack has been a critical hit, with many viewers have been wowed by Suranne Jones as Anne Lister. Sally Wainwright, who wrote Gentleman Jack, spoke to about how she struggled with casting Anne and the moment she know that Suranne Jones was right for the role. BBC iPlayer is currently still streaming Gentleman Jack for all those who want to see Suranne Jones as Anne Lister for themselves in the BBC and HBO series.

Speaking to in the lead-up to the Gentleman Jack finale airing on BBC One, Wainwright revealed that when she was writing the series, she had difficulty seeing anyone play Anne Lister.

She said: “I’d never been able to see Anne Lister.

“Usually, I have someone in mind to play a character as I write them, but I really couldn’t see who could be her.

“I needed someone to come in and show me a performance for me to be able to go: ‘Yeah, that’s Anne Lister.”


That person was Suranne Jones, who had previously appeared in a number of shows that Wainwright had written, including Unforgiven and Scott & Bailey.

When asked when she realised Suranne was right for the role, Wainwright said: “It was the day she came in to read.

“Someone like Suranne you usually wouldn’t ask to read, you’d just offer her the part because she’s at such a high level.

“But because HBO (who aired the series in America) weren’t as familiar with her as we are, they asked if we could get people in to read so we could record it.


“As soon as she started, I could tell she had the right energy for it and such a passion for it – she was already fairly in love with this woman.”

When asked what it was that she thought Suranne brought to the role, Wainwright said: “She absorbed a huge amount about Anne Lister.

“She had fantastic energy, physical energy and mental energy, as well as a joyfulness and a curiosity about life and the world.

“She’s very contemporary, is Suranne, which is one of the things that really worked for [Gentleman Jack], and I think casting Suranne has really contributed to that.”


Good news for Gentleman Jack fans: Suranne will be back for Gentleman Jack season two.

HBO and BBC announced in May that Gentleman Jack was renewed for another series, which Wainwright revealed to would start filming in May 2020.

The new series will focus on the next 18-months of Anne Lister’s life, including her life as a “married” woman following her commitment ceremony with Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle).

Gentleman Jack season two does not have a release date yet, but is unlikely to air until 2021.

Gentleman Jack is streaming on BBC iPlayer now and the Gentleman Jack DVD is available for pre-orders now and in-store from 15th July.

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