Suranne Jones inspired by Anne Lister's extraordinary lesbian story in HBO's 'Gentleman Jack': "We could all learn a bit from that"

Suranne Jones inspired by Anne Lister's extraordinary lesbian story in HBO's 'Gentleman Jack': "We could all learn a bit from that"

If you've caught up with actor Suranne Jones' new show 'Gentleman Jack' and have been wondering if Jones is just as in your face as her character, we've got news for you. She's actually the total opposite and wonderfully so.

"It's hard to believe and that's the fun of it," Jones told MEA WorldWide in an exclusive interview.

"You get to do these things that you cannot otherwise."

Jones plays a revolutionary historic woman named Anne Lister in HBO's latest offering 'Gentleman Jack'. A lesbian, a landowner, a general rebel and a boss lady, Lister is one of those unforgettable people you see on television who almost feel fabled but aren't.

Suranne Jones attends the 'Gentleman Jack' photocall and Q&A during the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival 2019 at BFI Southbank on April 14, 2019 in London, England. (Getty Images)


Lister doesn't bother herself with pastel frills, blush, and bows on the show and definitely doesn't play coy. Real life Jones is a far cry. "I'm actually quite shy," she admitted, explaining that it was what attracted her to Lister, "and that is what drove me to these extraordinary women and these complex characters. I feel like I could probably do with taking a leaf out of their books."

Apart from the iconic character of Lister, she's best known for playing the fierce, successful and complex Gemma Foster in BBC One's 'Doctor Foster', which is another role that offers something more than your stereotypical female lead on screen. 

"When I'm being me and I have to go do interviews on TV I sometimes get quite nervous about displaying myself but Anne is so self-assured, confident, had great mental health and self-image and I think we could all learn a bit from that." 

While the show itself pushes all the right buttons when it comes to what a lesbian period drama should have a go at, it really is the protagonist who brings it to life.


Fiery is a soft word for this woman, who lives in the late 19th century fighting everything and everyone just so she can be who she really is. But, she's not without kindness and to live in a world that's constantly trying to prove that you're an oddball without losing yourself is strength beyond words. And that is exactly what had Jones awestruck.   

"Her courage to be herself and her authenticity is something that left me in absolute awe of Anne. She absolutely knew who she was even though there was no word for lesbian, no LGBTQIA community, no blueprint for being one or words like gender non-binary. I think to know in 1832, to be so sure of who you are at a time back then, is extraordinary," she said. 

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