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Gentleman Jack

There are those odd, fleeting moments where you watch a series and you think to yourself that this is a winner.

When I saw the cover of Gentleman Jack advertised on Showmax I initially passed it over, nothing pulled me or spoke to me. I am one of those people where I judge a series by its cover. Anyway, a friend remarked on how she was enjoying “Gentleman Jack” on Showmax and advised that I start watching. I was sceptical but decided to take a peek and watch it, I was hooked.

Gentleman Jack is based on the story of Anne Lister. Now listen carefully ladies, this is a true story. Anne Lister was a very intriguing woman of the 19th century, our very first documented and brave lesbian. Anne was a businesswoman, a mountaineer, a world traveller, and a science enthusiast. She blew those men away with her independence and no-nonsense attitude. However, it is her love life that brought Anne to our attention. Her 26 volume diary is the basis for the series and the series is named after her nickname “Gentleman Jack”

Suranne Jones plays the role of Anne Lister superbly, bringing to life the characteristics of a woman who was in control of her life and loved the women. Her deep piercing eyes speak to you as she looks into the screen, sharing her thoughts with you and you find yourself nodding in agreement.

The series is amazing, only on Episode 4, but it is a real reminder that life was tough but here is a woman that is an inspiration to all of us. Even if you are not a fan of period pieces you will be hooked.

Showmax is an online streaming platform. For R99 bucks only you can watch to your heart’s content, free to DSTV premium subscribers. Or..you can sign up for the 14 days of free viewing and start watching Gentleman Jack. You won’t be sorry.

Anne Lister (1791–1840), now known as ‘the first modern lesbian,’ was a wealthy, independent landowner who was renowned in her time for dressing always in black, without bothering to indulge in the feminine frills like the others of her sex. She was the 19th century equivalent of a “butch” lesbian, and she became known to locals as ‘Gentleman Jack.’ Her lesbian lifestyle, however, was one of the best kept secrets of her time.

Read more here: https://www.annelister.co.uk/

From Anne’s diary, Sunday 5th January 1834 (age 43)

[After eighteen months of an on-and-off courtship, Anne was unsure about whether or not there could be a permanent relationship between them.]

‘…Miss W[alker] talks as if she would be glad to take me – then if I say anything decisive she hesitates to. I tell her it is all her money which is in the way. The fact is, she is as she was before [i.e. indecisive], but determined to get away from the Sutherlands and feels the want of me. But [I need to] take someone with more mind and less money. Steph [Belcombe – i.e. Mariana’s brother] is right: she would be a great pother [sic]. [I] have nothing serious to say to her – she wants better manning than I can manage.’

[See also Jill Liddington’s Female Fortune. Rivers Oram Press. 1998. p.85.]

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