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Gentleman Jack axed after two seasons

Sophie Rundle (l) and Suranne Jones (r) in Gentleman Jack

The Suranne Jones-starring, Yorkshire-set period drama Gentleman Jack, a co-production between US cable giant HBO and the BBC, will not be continuing to third season, the US network has confirmed in a statement to Deadline.

HBO said: “HBO will not be moving forward with a third season of Gentleman Jack. When we began this journey more than five years ago, we knew the series’ creator Sally Wainwright had a uniquely compelling vision, and it’s been tremendously gratifying to see how Anne Lister’s journey has resonated with viewers. We are incredibly grateful to Sally, to the impeccable Suranne Jones, and to the entire cast and crew. We’d also like to thank our partners at BBC and Lookout Point for their collaboration on two remarkable seasons.”

The show was based on the extensive diaries of Anne Lister, a 19th-century industrialist, landowner and diarist who is popularly dubbed as “the first modern lesbian.”

In 2018 Lister was commemorated with a blue plaque at York’s Holy Trinity Church. It was York’s first LGBT history plaque, had rainbow edging, and read “Gender-nonconforming entrepreneur. Celebrated marital commitment, without legal recognition, to Ann Walker in this church. Easter, 1834.”

In 2019, following criticism that the original plaque had not mentioned Lister’s sexuality directly, the inscription was changed to: “Anne Lister 1791–1840 of Shibden Hall, Halifax / Lesbian and Diarist; took sacrament here to seal her union with Ann Walker / Easter 1834.”

Series creator and writer Wainwright funded her initial research for the show with a £30k grant from the Wellcome Trust, in partnership with Film4 and the BFI. Produced by Lookout Productions, it filmed regularly around York, Halifax and the wider Yorkshire area, including at Lister’s Shibden Hall home and York’s Holy Trinity Church.

The show was critically well-received on its release, with Jones’ performance as Lister attracting particular praise. By the time of its cancellation, however, and following production delays due to the pandemic the show’s second season was rated among HBO’s least-watched original shows.

Suranne Jones takes a walk in the Yorkshire countryside
Suranne Jones takes a walk in the Yorkshire countryside

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