Here’s how the fandom are trying to rise above it and save this vital show
BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY BBC/LOOKOUT POINT/HBO/SAM TAYLOR
If you’re a frequent reader of DIVA, there’s a 99% chance that you’re well aware of all things Anne Lister and Gentleman Jack. Not only because of the epic impact of Anne Lister’s legacy, but quite frankly, because we at Team DIVA are, always have and always will be, obsessed. We’ve visited Shibden Hall, we’ve had the stars of the show cover our magazine, we dedicated a podcast episode to discussing the importance of Gentleman Jack, I penned weekly recaps of the second season – and that’s just scratching the surface.
But for those not in the know, Anne Lister – who is often referred to as “the first modern lesbian” – was a Yorkshire lass, landowner and entrepreneur. Her diaries, which were written in secret code, documented her relationships with women. Back in 2019, Sally Wainwright’s Gentleman Jack, which depicts the life of Anne, hit screens for the first time and changed so many lives. It provided lesbians and the wider queer community with a much-needed piece of our history.
So when it was announced that HBO was cancelling the show after its phenomenal second season, Team DIVA and Gentleman Jack fans around the world were distraught and the #SaveGentlemanJack campaign was born. Fans flooded to social media to show an outpouring of love for the show and tried to find it a new home with a different network so that the story could continue. If you’re still in doubt about the massive impact Anne Lister and Gentleman Jack has had, look no further than the recent news that an all-female team of stonemasons began working on an Anne Lister monument.
In our September issue, our editor-in-chief, Roxy Bourdillon dedicated her editor’s letter to Anne Lister and #SaveGentlemanJack. She concluded the letter by writing: “This show saves lives. Now, it’s time to save Gentleman Jack. So please, join DIVA and get behind the campaign. #SaveGentlemanJack”
The letter from the editor in September @DIVAmagazine is a HUGE boost to the #SaveGentlemanJack campaign!! Thank you @RoxyBourdillon for your support!! #RenewGentlemanJack @PrimeVideo @AppleTVPlus @BBC @LookoutPointTV pic.twitter.com/bRAUUW1C6V— Vera M 🎩🎩🏳️🌈🏳️🌈⚔️⚔️ (@SyrAdrianaAcre) September 2, 2022
Last week, #SaveGentlemanJack took to Times Square with billboards dedicated to Anne. The billboards came about through a crowdfund and it went on display on 22 September to mark the 182nd anniversary of Anne’s death but to also bring awareness to the campaign.
Big News, @DIVAmagazine! The #SaveGentlemanJack campaign hit Times Square, NYC last week. The campaign is up & running & truly stunning. Keep up with us & see how to get involved on our website https://t.co/Vl6zHDmMNG. #AnneLister182 #SaveGentlemanJackNYC pic.twitter.com/pxAfGPaVCD— #SaveGentlemanJack Campaign🎩 (@savegjnews) September 27, 2022
Gentleman Jack has an undeniably loyal fanbase. Another WLW show which has done so is Motherland: Fort Salem, whose fanbase also famously funded a #SaveMotherlandFortSalem billboard. Taylor Hickson, who is also a former DIVA cover star and part of the cast of Fort Salem, recently shared her appreciation of Gentleman Jack and showed her support of the campaign. In fact, it goes to show how impactful #SaveGentlemanJack has already been as she wrote: “Just caught this series, piqued by all the furor about it perhaps not returning….”
Just caught this series, piqued by all the furor about it perhaps not returning… WHAT a superb production, in EVERY regard ~ and the second season leaves you on tenterhooks for the third! I hope this return happens… https://t.co/GXIMzkZsJB— Holland Taylor (@HollandTaylor) September 22, 2022
Want to learn more about the #SaveGentlemanJack campaign and how you can show your support? Check out the official website: bringbackgentlemanjack.com. C’mon DIVAs! Let’s rise above it and try to save this vital show.
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