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HBO GENTLEMAN JACK Overview, Episode Guide, Photos

Maj Canton - April 22, 2019




On Monday April 22, at 10pm HBO premiered the highly entertaining eight episode limited series, GENTLEMAN JACK, created, written and co-directed by Sally Wainwright and starring Suranne Jones. GENTLEMAN JACK tells the story of a woman who had a passion for life and a mind for business, and bucked society’s expectations at every turn. Set in the complex, changing world of 1832 Halifax, West Yorkshire the cradle of the evolving Industrial Revolution, the series focuses on landowner Anne Lister, who is determined to transform the fate of her faded ancestral home, Shibden Hall, by reopening the coal mines and marrying well. The charismatic, single-minded, swashbuckling Lister, who dresses head-to-toe in black and charms her way into high society, has no intention of marrying a man. The story examines Lister’s relationships with her family, servants, tenants and industrial rivals and, most importantly, would-be wife. Based in historical fact, the real-life Anne Lister’s story was recorded in the four million words of her diaries, and the most intimate details of her life, once hidden in a secret code, have been decoded and revealed for the series. It’s smart, captivating and a jolly good time. Suranne Jones is brilliant. Not to be missed!


HBO has renewed GENTLEMAN JACK for a second season.


The series also stars Sophie Rundel as Ann Walker, the wealthy heiress on whom Anne Lister sets her sights as a prospective wife; Gemma Whelan as Anne Lister’s sister, Marian; Timothy West as Jeremy Lister, the sisters’ father; and Gemma Jones as Aunt Anne Lister. The additional cast includes: Katherine Kelly as Elizabeth Sutherland, Ann Walker’s sister; Sofie Gråbøl as Queen Marie of Denmark; Stephanie Cole as Ann Walker’s aunt; Peter Davison as William Priestley, Ann Walker’s cousin; Amelia Bullmore as Eliza Priestley, William Priestley’s wife; Vincent Franklin Christopher Rawson, a businessman and fierce rival to Anne Lister; Shaun Dooley as Jeremiah, Christopher’s brother and business partner; Joe Armstrong as Samuel Washington; Jodhi May as Vere Hobart; Rosie Cavaliero as Elizabeth Cordingley; Thomas Howes as John Booth; Jessica Baglow as Rachael Hemingway; and newcomers Albane Courtois as Eugénie Pierre Anne Lister’s lady’s maid and Ben Hunter as Joseph Booth.



Suranne Jones (left) and Sophie Rundle (right).

Albane Courtois (left) and Suranne Jones (right).

Wim Snape (left) and Suranne Jones (right).

Suranne Jones (left) and Kelvin Cantwell (right).

Gemma Whelan (left), Gemma Jones (center), and Timothy West (right).



If you want to know nothing about the episodes at all, skip this section. Provided by HBO, this episode guide includes general episode descriptions and specific plot details.

"I was just passing" (Premieres Monday, April 22, 2019 at 10pm ET/PT)
Halifax, 1832. Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) returns to Shibden Hall, having discovered that her would-be companion, the aristocratic Vere Hobart (Jodhi May), has accepted a marriage proposal from a man. Despite her affection for her elderly aunt (Gemma Jones), Lister is frustrated by the shabbiness of her ancestral home and finds her father (Timothy West) and long-suffering sister (Gemma Whelan) difficult to live with. When Lister discovers that her land is rich in coal, her plans to transform the estate soon provide a welcome distraction. On the neighboring estate, shy heiress Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle) is quietly delighted to hear that the charismatic Anne Lister is back. Meanwhile, a hit-and-run accident on Shibden land puts a child’s life at risk, and Lister’s new French maid, Eugénie (Albane Courtois), finds herself in trouble. Written by Sally Wainwright; directed by Sally Wainwright.

"I just went there to study anatomy" (Premieres Monday, April 29, 2019 at 10pm ET/PT)
Halifax, 1832. Lister (Suranne Jones) begins a playful but dangerous courtship of Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle), who quickly finds herself captivated by the attentions of her neighbor. Lister’s plan to excavate her coal mines brings her into the path of local magistrate Christopher Rawson (Vincent Franklin) and his brother Jeremiah (Shaun Dooley). While Ann Walker prepares for a trip to the Lake District, her cousin’s (Peter Davison) reaction to her budding friendship leads her to realize that Lister is not popular with everyone in the community. Back at Shibden, Lister’s servant, John Booth (Thomas Howes), offers a solution to Eugénie’s (Albane Courtois) problem. Meanwhile, Lister wonders if confronting the past could be the key to finding future happiness. Written by Sally Wainwright; directed by Sally Wainwright.

"Oh is that what you call it?" (Premieres Monday, May 6, 2019 at 10pm ET/PT)
Lister (Suranne Jones) confides her hopes for a future with Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle) to her aunt (Gemma Jones), as Ann’s neighbor, Mrs. Priestley (Amelia Bullmore), has an inkling about the two women’s relationship that presents a threat. Meanwhile, John Booth (Thomas Howes) is surprised at his own romantic success. The Rawson brothers (Vincent Franklin, Shaun Dooley) step up their attempts to out-maneuver Lister in the coal business. Marian (Gemma Whelan) grows annoyed that her sister is treating Shibden like a hotel. The mouthy behavior of Lister’s tenant, Sam Sowden (Anthony Flanagan), causes problems for his son Thomas (Tom Lewis). Written by Sally Wainwright; directed by Sarah Harding.

"Most women are dull and stupid" (Premieres Monday, May 13, 2019 at 10pm ET/PT)
During a visit to York, Lister (Suranne Jones) is delighted when Doctor Belcombe confirms that she is the perfect tonic for Ann Walker’s (Sophie Rundle) nervous disorder. When news of a friend’s death arrives, Ann’s desperate reaction makes Lister suspect that she has secrets of her own. Meanwhile, as her rivalry with Christopher Rawson (Vincent Franklin) heats up, Lister steps up her plan to re-open her old coal mines. At Shibden, Eugénie’s (Albane Courtois) misfortune has implications for John Booth (Thomas Howes), and Thomas Sowden (Tom Lewis) spins a risky web of lies after his father’s disappearance. Written by Sally Wainwright; directed by Sarah Harding.

"Let’s have another look at your past perfect" (Premieres Monday, May 20, 2019 at 10pm ET/PT)
The widowed Reverend Ainsworth (Brendan Patricks) arrives in Halifax, and with encouragement from Mrs. Priestley (Amelia Bullmore), sets his sights on Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle). Aware that Ainsworth’s attentions are stirring up memories for her lover, Lister (Suranne Jones) sets out to deal with the clergyman in her own inimitable manner. Meanwhile, Lister presses on with the transformation of her estate, but her ambitious plans threaten to lead her into trouble. At afternoon tea, Marian (Gemma Whelan) remains impressed by Mr. Abbott (John Hollingworth), though her aunt (Gemma Jones) and father (Timothy West) are less so. A discovery in the pigsty gives Mary Sowden (Lucy Black) reason to suspect Thomas (Tom Lewis) is lying about his father. Written by Sally Wainwright; directed by Jennifer Perrott.

"Do ladies do that?" (Premieres Monday, May 27, 2019 at 10pm ET/PT)
With Ann Walker's (Sophie Rundle) mental state in a downward spiral, Lister (Suranne Jones) is forced to contemplate travelling to Europe alone, despite her family's warnings that doing so will raise eyebrows. Aunt Anne (Gemma Jones) and Captain Lister (Timothy West) endure another visit from the irritating Mr. Abbott (John Hollingworth), while Marian (Gemma Whelan) remains peeved that her sister is absent once again. Lister reopens her coal-mine negotiations with the powerful Rawson brothers (Vincent Franklin, Shaun Dooley). Thomas Sowden's (Tom Lewis) secret casts a cloud over his budding relationship with Suzannah Washington (Amy James-Kelly). Ann's Scottish relatives swoop in with their own ideas about what's best for her future. Written by Sally Wainwright; directed by Jennifer Perrott.

"Why've you brought that?" (Premieres Monday, June 3, 2019 at 10:15pm ET/PT)
Before setting off for Europe to escape her heartache, Lister (Suranne Jones) invites Christopher Rawson (Vincent Franklin) to Shibden to rebuke him for publicly insulting Marian (Gemma Whelan). Later, Lister comes up with a bold strategy to mine her own coal and expose the Rawson brothers' industrial-scale theft. In Scotland, Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle) becomes increasingly distressed when she discovers that her brother-in-law, Captain Sutherland (Derek Riddell), plans to marry her off to his penniless cousin. A trip to London with her old flame, Mariana Lawton (Lydia Leonard), exposes Lister to crippling memories of their past relationship. Despite his lowly social status, Thomas Sowden (Tom Lewis) plucks up the courage to speak to Mr. Washington (Joe Armstrong) about his future with Suzannah (Amy James-Kelly).

"Are you still talking?" (Season finale premieres Monday, June 10, 2019 at 10pm ET/PT)
Following a four-week journey from Paris to Copenhagen, Lister (Suranne Jones) finds acceptance and appreciation in Danish high society, stepping out of her sartorial comfort zone to attend a birthday ball hosted by Queen Marie (Sophie Grabol). When difficult news arrives from Shibden, Lister is faced with the decision to stay in Europe or go back home. In Scotland, a shocking discovery about Captain Sutherland (Derek Riddell) leads Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle) to make a bold resolution about her future. An unexpected visitor to the farm threatens to expose Thomas Sowden's (Tom Lewis) macabre secret.