Sophie Rundle (Bodyguard, Peaky Blinders), Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones, The Moorside), Timothy West (Last Tango in Halifax, Bleak House) and Gemma Jones (God’s Own County, Bridget Jones’s Diary) have been tapped to co-star opposite Suranne Jones in Gentleman Jack (fka Shibden Hall), HBO and BBC One’s eight-episode drama series from BAFTA-winning writer Sally Wainwright (To Walk Invisible, Happy Valley). Filming will begin next month in and around West Yorkshire and on location in Copenhagen. The series will premiere on BBC One in the UK.
Set in 1832 Halifax, West Yorkshire, Gentleman Jack focuses on landowner Anne Lister (Jones) and her determination to transform the fate of her faded ancestral home, Shibden Hall, by reopening the coal mines and marrying well. The story examines Anne’s relationships at home with her family, servants, tenants and industrial rivals and, most importantly, would-be wife. Based in historical fact, the real-life Anne Lister’s story was recorded in her diaries, and the most intimate details of her life, once hidden in a secret code, are now decoded and revealed for the series.
Rundle will play Ann Walker, the wealthy heiress on whom Anne Lister sets her sights to marry; Whelan will portray Anne Lister’s sister, Marian’ West is the sisters’ father, Jeremy Lister, and Jones plays Aunt Anne Lister.
Rounding out the cast are Stephanie Cole (Waiting for God, Still Open All Hours) as Ann Walker’s aunt; Peter Davison (Liar, Doctor Who) as William Priestley, Ann Walker’s cousin; Amelia Bullmore (Happy Valley, Scott & Bailey) as Eliza Priestley, William Priestley’s wife; Vincent Franklin (Cucumber, Happy Valley) as Christopher Rawson, businessman and fierce rival to Anne Lister, Shaun Dooley (Gunpowder, Broadchurch) as Jeremiah, Christopher’s brother and business partner; Joe Armstrong (Darkest Hour, Happy Valley) as Samuel Washington; Jodhi May (Genius, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard) as Vere Hobart; Rosie Cavaliero (Hold the Sunset, Unforgotten) as Elizabeth Cordingley; Thomas Howes (Downton Abbey, United) as John Booth; Jessica Baglow (Waterloo Road) as Rachael Hemingway; and newcomers Albane Courtois and Ben Hunter as Eugénie Pierre and Joseph Booth.
Gentleman Jack will be directed by Wainwright and Sarah Harding (Vikings, Queer as Folk). Lookout Point produces for HBO and BBC One. Wainwright, Faith Penhale and Laura Lankester executive produce for Lookout Point. Phil Collinson is producer.
“I’m delighted that the story of Anne Lister has attracted such a talented, standout cast,” said Wainwright. “We also have a wonderful crew on board and I can’t wait to start filming.”