Gentleman Jack creator Sally Wainwright says she’s “gutted” the show has been canceled by HBO – but promises that all hope for season 3 is not lost, as the BBC looks into finding a new partner.
Last week, the US channel confirmed it would not be moving forward with the historical drama – which is a co-production between the two broadcasters – following its second season. The announcement prompted the cast to reflect on their involvement in the series on Instagram, while fans took to Twitter to launch a #SaveGentlemanJack hashtag.
“It’s been a bit of a surprise really because it’s been doing really well, certainly in this country,” Wainwright explained to Radio Times (opens in new tab). “We were ready to go again, the BBC certainly [is] up for going again.
“I think if HBO had been up for it, there’d have been no question. It’s been a very successful show in all areas for them – it’s had fantastic reviews, it’s had a very respectable audience and on top of that it’s had an impact on the community of gay women. We have the most extraordinary fanbase, they organise all sorts of events.”
Having premiered in 2019, Gentleman Jack centers on real-life Yorkshire-based landowner Anne Lister (Suranne Jones), retroactively dubbed “the first modern lesbian”, as she strikes up a romance – and eventually navigates a secret marriage – with the wealthy Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle), all while juggling male-dominated business ventures in the early 1800s.
Season 2 focused on Ann’s move into Shibden Hall, and the new wives’ efforts to divide their estates – much to the dismay of Ann’s meddling brother-in-law Captain Sutherland (Derek Riddell). Their relationship is tested elsewhere, too, by money troubles, public scrutiny, and Anne’s entanglement with her ex-lover Mariana Lawton (Lydia Leonard).
“I think [it] wouldn’t want to continue with it without it having the same production values,” Wainwright replied, when asked whether the BBC would ever entertain the idea of producing the show on its own.
“So we would need to find another partner who would stream it globally. You know, I think all those other options are being explored at the minute given that there is a desire to go on with it amongst quite a lot of people – the BBC, Lookout Point, myself, you know.”
Gentleman Jack is available to stream on BBC iPlayer in the UK, and HBO Max in the US. If you’ve already binge-watched, then be sure to check out our roundup of the best TV shows of all time for some viewing inspiration.