Gentleman Jack: Suranne Jones among stars in Halifax for red carpet premiere of Gentleman Jack series two based on Anne Lister's diaries

Stars of the TV hit Gentleman Jack walked the red carpet in Halifax tonight for the premiere of the show's second series.

Suranne Jones, who plays Yorkshire trailblazer Anne Lister, was among those in attendance, alongside Huddersfield-born creator, writer and executive producer Sally Wainwright.

Fans gathered in Halifax's Piece Hall, where the red carpet was rolled out to welcome several members of the show's cast. A screening event is now taking place at the town's Square Chapel, ahead of the new series beginning on April 10.

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Jones returns as Lister, the Halifax industrialist, diarist and landowner, who is widely regarded as 'the first modern lesbian'.

Suranne Jones as Anne Lister during the filming of Gentleman Jack.Suranne Jones as Anne Lister during the filming of Gentleman Jack.
Suranne Jones as Anne Lister during the filming of Gentleman Jack.
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Filmed in and around West Yorkshire, series one followed Lister’s life as she inherited her uncle’s fading estate, Shibden Hall in Halifax, which she attempted to restore while beginning a romance with Walker.

Series two, set in 1834, picks up just four weeks after series one ended with all eyes on Lister and Walker as they set up home together at Shibden as wife and wife, determined to combine their estates and become a power couple.

Filming for Gentleman Jack series two.Filming for Gentleman Jack series two.
Filming for Gentleman Jack series two.

"Season two is more about the marriage and the reality of the marriage," Jones says. "It’s less about the chase and more about how they’re going to navigate themselves in society. It’s beautiful, Sally has done an amazing job and it’s a wonderful detailed look at a same sex relationship that they had to conduct in secret."

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"Playing a real person is an absolute gift," she adds, "because you’ve got so much research at your fingertips. With Anne you’ve got five million words of a diary."

The first series of the show, based on the diaries, aired in 2019. It helped to share Lister's story across the globe and prompted a huge rise in Calderdale visitor numbers.

"People have been asking me if it puts more pressure on now so many people know Anne Lister now," Wainwright says, "and the truth is it makes me want to do it even more because I know people are interested. They want to know what happens next.

"I’m proud the show has brought so many visitors to Halifax…Anne Lister has gone global and she deserves to have gone global."

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Later this week, a festival of events to mark the 231st birthday of Lister, on April 3, will begin in Calderdale.

The festival, from April 1 to 10, will bring Lister’s story to life through tours and talks against the backdrop of heritage sites in the town she called her home.

Gentleman Jack is a Lookout Point production for BBC One, co-produced with HBO.

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