Period Drama 'Gentleman Jack' Canceled at HBO After Two Seasons

Suranne Jones as Anne Lister in "Gentleman Jack" (Photo: Aimee Spinks/HBO)

Programme Name: Gentleman Jack S2 - TX: n/a - Episode: Gentleman Jack - First Look (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Anne Lister (SURANNE JONES) - (C) Lookout Point - Photographer: Aimee Spinks

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Sad news for Gentleman Jack fans: HBO has announced the critically acclaimed drama will not return for a third season. 

The series, which premiered in 2019, starred Suranne Jones (Vigil) as Anne Lister, the 19th-century British landowner, intellectual, businesswoman, and prolific diarist who wrote extensive coded entries about her sexual trysts and relationships with women. Season 1 follows the story of Lister's love affair with neighboring heiress Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle), as well as her efforts to rebuild her ancestral home at Shibden Hall and revitalize the family coal mines.

Season 2 saw the two women set up house together at Shibden Hall as wife and wife, determined to combine their estates and become an early nineteenth-century power couple. 

“HBO will not be moving forward with a third season of Gentleman Jack,” the network said in a statement to Deadline. “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 Sophie Rundle, and to the entire cast and crew for bringing Anne and Ann’s story to life. We’d also like to thank our partners at BBC and Lookout Point for their collaboration on two remarkable seasons.”

The cancelation news comes roughly a month after the conclusion of Season 2 on the premium cable network, where it aired on Monday nights and was one of the network's lower-rated original series. And, to be fair, Season 2 was probably always facing an uphill battle. Thanks to coronavirus pandemic-related production delays, it had been three years since the series' first season originally aired which, as we all know, is practically an eternity in the world of television.

Suranne Jones and Sophie Rundle in "Gentleman Jack" (Photo: Aimee Spinks/HBO)
Suranne Jones and Sophie Rundle in "Gentleman Jack" (Photo: Aimee Spinks/HBO)

Yet Gentleman Jack continually won rave reviews from critics and fans alike, as viewers praised the show for adding some much-needed LGBT representation to the period drama landscape and exposing the groundbreaking nature of Lister's life to a broader modern-day audience. 

“While it is sad news Gentleman Jack will not be renewed, this show has brought so many together, enabled people to share their stories, brought joy, emotion, and creativity, and gave me a real connection to you as its audience,” Jones said in an Instagram post. “Anne Lister now has a statue in the Piece Hall. There is a Blue plaque in Holy Trinity churchyard celebrating Anne and Ann’s union in 1834. There is a college named after Anne Lister on the East campus at the University of York. Shibden now has more visitors than ever before and you will find Anne Lister walks, tours, and trails galore when visiting Halifax and its surrounding areas. I have never been involved in a show that has made such a huge impact and touched my heart like this one has. It wasn’t always the easiest job I’ve had… but it was always worth it to see the response it got." 

Seasons 1 and 2 of Gentleman Jack are available to stream on HBO Max.

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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