Today, the TV networks confirms it won’t be renewing for Season 3
BY PATRICIA ESGATE, IMAGE BY BBC/LOOKOUT POINT/HBO/AIMEE SPINKS
It’s been nearly a month since the last episode of Sally Wainwright’s phenomenal Gentleman Jack aired on HBO Max, which means it’s been well over six weeks since the last airing on the BBC—and finally, the announcement: HBO is cancelling Gentleman Jack.
It’s hard not to believe that HBO was tiptoeing until Pride Month had passed. Trying to avoid some unpleasant social media? Does a week give them that clearance?
And why should we care? Why does Gentleman Jack matter?
There are as many answers to this question as there are fans. The captivating storyline. The excellence of the writing. The phenomenal performances, especially from Suranne Jones and Sophie Rundle. The fascinating history behind these real people, Anne Lister and Ann Walker. All of those might be enough, if this was your typical Regency Romance.
But it’s not. For our community, in all stripes of the rainbow, this is our Regency Romance, our heart-wrenching storyline and most of all, our historic ancestors. For one of the few times in the history of the modern media, our community — and specifically, our lesbian community — was granted representation, and that matters, especially when that representation is so brilliantly woven into Ms. Wainwright’s impeccable and deeply moving scenes.
Who can forget the tears that flowed with Anne’s gut-wrenching bearing of her grief, in the “I rise above it” scene? Or the horror of Anne being brutally battered for even daring to believe she had the right to love someone? Or the majestic sweep of the camera as Anne and Ann reunite on the hilltop? Or the joy when Anne grins to the camera on the way into the church?
And then there’s the fact that all of this is based on actual people, the long-buried (physically and existentially) Anne Lister and Ann Walker. Raise your hand if you remember one other programme that gave us such a deeply moving window into our own history, that allowed us to prove, without a doubt: yes, lesbians have existed for quite a long time—even before the word was invented. They were fighting the exact same battles.
When have we ever been treated to so much, in such a brilliant production? How can we not be disappointed in HBO’s decision?
Every generation stands on the shoulders of those who came before. Knowing that those people existed, knowing that they faced the same challenges we face now — especially now, when a dark force is rising, one that would be perfectly happy to have us all disappear from the face of the earth — is critical to the success of our ongoing existence. We need our own stories and our own heroes, in order to find our own courage. In order to rise above it!
HBO, your Insta profile features this message: “Pride today. Pride tomorrow. Pride every day.” If that’s the case, how could you cancel this show, a show with such impact that it inspired both a book and a documentary about the lives it changed? Created a worldwide community, linked online and in real life? Are you now telling us that once again, we must rise above it?
Heckuva time to pull out, HBO. With that dark force approaching, we need all the allies we can find. And you’re leaving us, now?
Pride every day, HBO — Every. Single. Day.
DIVA magazine celebrates 28 years in print in 2022. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable.