The Trailer for 'Gentleman Jack' Promises a New Kind of Period Drama

Suranne Jones as Anne Lister (Photo: HBO)

The trailer for HBO’s upcoming eight-part series Gentleman Jack is here, and it already feels like an entirely different and exciting kind of period drama.

The series aims to tell the story of Anne Lister, a Victorian-era landowner and industrialist who lived an incredibly unorthodox life. She spent years doing the traditional “man’s job” of managing – and revitalizing – her family’s Yorkshire estate, known as Shibden Hall. 

She was also known for her unorthodox appearance – she favored wearing men’s clothing and openly participated in lesbian relationships, even taking part in England’s first same-sex marriage ceremony in 1834. Her nickname? You guessed it. Gentleman Jack. 

Lister was certainly a trailblazing figure, and one that modern audiences know very little about. This series certainly seems geared to change all that, situating her as a uniquely compelling protagonist with a rebellious spirit.

Scott & Bailey’s Suranne Jones stars as Lister, alongside Sophie Rundle, most recently seen in BBC’s hit drama Bodyguard and the period drama Jamestown, who plays wealthy heiress Anne Walker, the woman Lister decides she would like as a wife. The series is written by TV powerhouse Sally Wainwright, known for her work on such hits as Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax and the aforementioned Scott & Bailey.

And if the trailer is anything to go by – it’s going to be a heck of a ride.

Watch for yourselves below:

Our own Janet Mullany has already done a deep dive on the true life history of Anne Lister if you’re curious about what her life was really like.

On its face, Gentleman Jack certainly seems like an ideal sort of period drama – a dramatic story about a largely unknown historical figure that nevertheless ticks all the boxes for a terrifically relevant modern day story as well.

The series premieres on HBO beginning Monday, April 22.

Are you planning to give it a look?

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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