Shibden Hall to close for 17 weeks as filming begins for Sally Wainwright drama

The Shibden Hall has announced dates it will be closed for filming the latest Sally Wainwright drama focusing on the life of Anne Lister.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 17th April 2018, 9:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th April 2018, 9:26 am

“Gentleman Jack” will be an eight part series for television written by Sally Wainwright and starring Suranne Jones as Anne Lister of Shibden Hall.

The iconic setting will be involved in the filming of a new costume drama for the BBC and HBO and in order to facilitate this the hall will be closed to the public from: Monday May 14 to Sunday July 22; and September 3 until October 21.

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Doctor Foster star Suranne Jones visits Shibden Hall ahead of Anne Lister drama

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Doctor Foster star Suranne Jones will portray Anne Lister, a 19th century Halifax woman who embarked on a determined and passionate courtship with another woman.

The series will be set in 1832, Gentleman Jack, originally called Shibden Hall, is the epic story of landowner Anne Lister.

Returning after years of exotic travel and social climbing, Anne determines to transform the fate of her faded ancestral home, Shibden Hall, in Halifax.

To do this she must re-open her coal mines and marry well. Charismatic, single-minded, swashbuckling Anne Lister - who walked like a man, dressed head-to-foot in black, and charmed her way into high society - has no intention of marrying a man. Anne plans to marry a woman. And not just any woman - the woman Anne Lister marries must be seriously wealthy.

Every part of the story is based in historical fact, recorded in the four million words of her diaries that contain the most intimate details of her life, once hidden in a secret code that is now broken.

The drama will explore Anne Lister’s relationships at home with her family, her servants, her tenants and her industrial rivals.

Suranne Jones said: “I first worked with Sally 10 years ago and I remember the feeling of reading her scripts like it was yesterday. They were scripts for women; fresh, daring and bizarre in a wonderful, modern, fun, complex and challenging way. Now I once again get to speak the words of an almighty talent on a show I know she holds close to her heart.

"To have Sally direct me on this feels like I'll finally get to work on a project with her where the connection will be immediate, exciting and new each day, and we can enjoy that amazing ride together! I'm thrilled to be back at the BBC with this role and to be joining the Lookout Point and HBO family.”

Sally Wainwright, who also created Calderdale-based and filmed Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax, said: “I am delighted to be working with Suranne once again, not just as a writer this time, but as a director. Bringing Anne Lister to life with all her complexity, passion, brilliance and wit is an epic challenge that will require all the boldness, subtlety, energy and humour that I know only Suranne will bring to it.”