Anne Lister’s de-coded diaries have been adapted to screen once more but this time by the combined forces of HBO and the BBC. Written by BAFTA award winning Sally Wainwright, and starring the inimitable Suranne Jones (Vanity Fair) as Miss Lister, it looks like it will be a veritable tour de force.
The eight episode mini series Gentleman Jack is set in 1832 West Yorkshire, when women were to be seen and not heard, and lesbianism was merely whispered about. Anne Lister’s endeavour to turn society on its head came about when she inherited her family home; in an attempt to breathe new life into the household, she undertook business and was in search of a wife.
The cast supporting Suranne Jones as Lister include Sophie Rundle (Peaky Blinders) as Lister’s prospective wife, Ann Walker; Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones) as Lister’s sister, Marian; Timothy West (Bleak House) as their father Jeremy Lister, and playing their Aunt Anne will be Gemma Jones (Bridget Jones’s Diary).
The series premieres on the 22nd of April 2019. Check out the trailer below!
Suranne Jones as Anne Lister
“When this volume of Anne Lister’s diaries was first published in 1988, it was hailed as a vital piece of lost lesbian history. The editor, Helena Whitbread, had spent years painstakingly researching and transcribing Lister’s extensive journals, much of which were written in an elaborate code – what Lister called her ‘crypthand’, which allowed her to record her life in intimate, and at times, explicit, detail. Until then, Anne Lister’s lesbianism had been suppressed or hinted at; this was the first time her story had been told. Anne Lister defied the role of nineteenth-century womanhood: she was bold, fiercely independent, a landowner, industrialist, traveller and lesbian – a woman who lived her life on her own terms.”
Just press play and drag your screen around to look around the entire bookshop, and make sure you have the volume up, as Neil is telling us all about the features inside. Listen out for the Pratchett tribute too!
Lisey’s Story came about when, in June 1999, Stephen King was hit by a van and seriously injured. His wife Tabitha decided to redesign his studio while King was in hospital and after seeing his books and belongings in boxes the writer got a glimpse of what it would be like if the accident had been fatal.
Speaking in 2017, Stephen King told Variety:
“Lisey’s Story is my favourite of the books and I would love to see that done, especially now that there’s a kind of openness on the streaming services on TV and even the cable networks. There’s more freedom to do stuff now and when you do a movie from a book, there’s this thing that I call the sitting on a suitcase syndrome. That is where you try to pack in all the clothes at once and the suitcase won’t close. So it’s tough to take a book that is fully textured, and do it in two hours and 10 minutes. But as a TV show you have 10 hours.”
Streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have become increasingly interested in showcasing already-existing stories, which King attributes in part to the success of IT.