It’s been nearly three years, but the period drama Gentleman Jack returns for season 2 on Monday, April 25, on HBO Max. The series is based on the real-life diaries of Anne Lister, a determined woman who chose to follow a life of largely men’s pursuits in the mid-19th-century, from owning land to openly living with female partners, having what was widely considered the first lesbian marriage in Britain. An entirely different breed of powerful woman, Anne is charismatic and strong-willed, manages her own business holdings and family land, and is a world traveler and industrialist. In season 2, Anne and her partner Ann Walker set up a life together at Shibden Hall, combining estates. However, Anne’s entrepreneurial spirit and unconventional lifestyle are stirring up the locals as she continues to refuse to keep a low profile. Read on for more on the series and how to watch Gentleman Jack without cable.
How to Watch Gentleman Jack
More About Gentleman Jack
The HBO series focuses on the early 1830s, when Anne is returning to Shibden Hall, her ancestral home, for a respite between adventures and decides to take charge of running her family estate. She also has decided that it is time to make an advantageous match to help increase the family funds but has no intention of marrying a man. Dressing in a predominantly masculine way and brusquely facing off with anyone who challenges her ability to manage her business interests, she nonetheless radiates a confident charisma that is a magnet to the women she romances. Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster, Save Me) brings a captivating blend of strength, charm, and deep vulnerability to this complex woman.
Drawn to Miss Lister’s charisma is the delicate and beautiful Ann Walker, a wealthy local heiress, played by Sophie Rundle (The Bletchley Circle, Peaky Blinders). The two quickly form an attachment, and Anne Lister zeroes in on her goal: to marry well and to marry a woman as a woman.
Gentleman Jack was created, written, and co-directed by Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax) and co-directed by Sarah Harding (Vikings, Queer as Folk) and Jennifer Perrott (Doctor Who). The series features many of the trademarks of classic BBC historical “costume dramas,” including wide sprawling shots of the British countryside, rustic and dark interiors, and of course the aforementioned costumes. With stunning period detail, the team captures the 1830s with a natural realism, grit, and lushness. This rich past world is complemented by modern filmmaking touches, as Anne Lister frequently makes curt, off-handed comments and glances directed at the camera, a winking nod to the audience, and a voice-over often lets us into the thoughts that are ending up on the pages of her scintillating diaries.
In addition to Jones and Rundle, the cast includes several strong female actors, such as Gemma Whelan (most recently recognizable as Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones) as Anne Lister’s sister, Marian, who is rather overshadowed and impatient with her sister’s perceived eccentricity; and Gemma Jones (Harry Potter, Bridget Jones’s Diary movies) as her doting Aunt Anne Lister, as well as an extensive cast of leading names in British television.
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