England’s Anne Lister is certainly one of history’s most swoon-worthy lesbians. Lister (1791-1840) has been the subject of fascination and reverence for a multitude of reason. She was a woman landowner at a time where such a thing was unheard of. She dressed in suits and tops hats and seduced women. She wrote over four million words in her famed diaries, which needed to be deciphered as they were written in code to protect her talk of same-sex love affairs.
Just recently, Lister was honored with one of the English Heritage Blue Plaques, which quickly had to be changed when complaints arose that it erased Lister’s lesbianism. A new plaque is coming soon, and just in time for the new joint BBC/HBO series about Lister, Gentleman Jack. Gentleman Jack is created and showrun by Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax) and stars BAFTA winner Suranne Jones as a dandy as all get out, Lister. Two trailers for the series premiered this week, and I personally love the one from the BBC for its playfulness and dare I say, cheekiness? Those takes to the audience from Lister! Gotta love a little fourth-wall breaking.
Lister had a few lady loves, but two women, Marianna Lawton and Ann Walker, stole Lister’s heart. When she wasn’t battling local men who violently objected to her entering the coal business, she was gushing about her loves in her famed diaries. Here’s a longer and more detailed trailer from HBO.
Gentleman Jack premieres on HBO on April 22nd at 10pm EST.