#SaveGentlemanJack: People worldwide heading to Yorkshire to take part in flash mob
The stars and creator behind the popular BBC period drama Gentleman Jack have backed a #SaveGentlemanJack global flashmob happening in Yorkshire.
Writer Sally Wainwright, Suranne Jones who plays Yorkshire’s Anne Lister aka Gentleman Jack classed as the “first modern lesbian” and her partner Ann Walker, played by Sophie Rundle have all sent messages of support to the Leeds superfan behind the flashmob.
32-year-old dance teacher Helen Hawkins who classes herself as pansexual said:
“This show has changed people’s lives, saved people's lives and it has helped people find themselves as a person.
“To call it a TV show demeans it, it gives people a voice to people who don’t have a voice.
“The fact Anne Lister could be a Lesbian and so comfortable over 200 years ago and is now so visible has helped so many people find themselves.”
Ms Hawkins, who drives her wife “crazy” over her love for the show was spurred to do something when HBO, who are the BBC’s funding partners, announced they were withdrawing financial support of the show.
Using her skills as an inclusive dance teacher, Ms Hawkins decided on organising a flashmob via instagram and her facebook group.
She said: “Upon this journey of starting this flashmob I have been in tears everyday at how much the show means to people.”
Ms Hawkins who has been busy teaching people the moves for the flashmob which will take place at Lister’s ancestral home Shibden Hall said there is such an appetite for it from the show’s makers that she has the rights to use the original music for the performance.
She said: “People have been busy learning the dance, coming together to support it and we now have people from Europe, America and all over UK as well as Yorkshire all coming to Halifax on August 6th at 1pm.
“Even Sally Wainwright's sister is coming because Sally will be travelling.”
When Ms Hawkins contacted the leading star Suranne Jones who has said diarist Anne Lister ranks “top” in the list of characters she has played during her career, she responded immediately.
“She sent her love, support and best of luck to us all as she is currently busy with work.”
Sophie Rundle who plays Walker in 1834 set up home with Lister at Shibden Hall as wife and wife, determined to combine their estates and become a power couple, also sent her support.
“I’ve been in tears over the daily messages of support for the flash mob, with people sharing what the show has done for them,” added Ms Hawkins.
Over 11,600 people have also signed an online petition asking the BBC to find a way to “Save Gentleman Jack.” Creators of the petition on change.org wrote: “Gentleman Jack has actually changed lives; the BBC even commissioned and aired a documentary to this effect. It is a part of lesbian history, LGBTQ history, pride history.
For anyone wanting to join the flashmob or show support, you can find the group on facebook Save Gentleman Jack - Flashmob or watch the video and turn up on the day at 1pm, Shibden Hall in Halifax.
With Ms Hawkins expecting people all over the world to come, she has arranged to guide anyone around Halifax after some of Anne Lister’s popular spots.
Actress Suranne Jones has said diarist Anne Lister ranks “top” in the list of characters she has played during her career.