Thursday, March 09, 2017

Anne Again

Hey, here’s some good gay news! We’re about to get what sounds like some primo period-piece lesbian television content. HBO and BBC One are teaming up to create “Shibden Hall,” a new eight-part drama series created and written by Sally Wainwright of “Last Tango in Halifax” and “Happy Valley” fame. The drama is based on the real life of English landowner and prolific diarist Anne Lister. Set in 1832, the drama follows the “charismatic, single-minded, swashbuckling” Lister who “walked like a man, dressed head-to-foot in black, and charmed her way into high society” and he plans to marry a woman. See! Gay stuff! Gay!

Now, those of you who pay attention to gay stuff on the television will remember that this is not the BBC’s first shot at Anne Lister. Back in 2010, BBC produced the TV movie “The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister” about her life. Interestingly, none of the mainstream media reports on the new project mentioned this fact, but us gay ladies never forget.

I can’t say I love, loved “The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister.” It was a tad melodramatic and had a lot of wailing in anguish. The new miniseries has a fine pedigree with Wainwright at the helm (and she also has some lesbo street cred from “Last Tango in Halifax”). And the BBC certainly has a thing for lesbian period pieces (see “Tipping the Velvet,” “Fingersmith,” “Affinity,” et al). So time will tell. But, hey, more ladies being swashbuckling, gender-bending and super gay on TV is always a good thing.

Here is the trailer for the previously produced “The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister,” as a refresher.


Vancouver said...

Hm. This is the same Sally Wainwright who killed off a pregnant, newly married, lesbian of colour on "Last Tango" and then spent considerable time defending that decision and claiming that Dead Lesbian Syndrome is a myth, right? Not sure she gets lesbian street cred, exactly, though in general I'd defer to you on this question Dorothy. I see she has since changed her tune on whether killing off Kate was the right decision, but I'd say she has a lot to make up for and needs to prove herself on this one.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, Sally created a lesbian character as early as 2000 when her series 'At home with the Braithwaites' featured Sarah Smart as Amanda Redman's character's daughter Virginia!
And I do believe Sally has since admitted that killing off Kate may not have been the best move.
Also, she gets huge credits for writing 'Happy valley'. That may not feature lesbians, but certainly a very strong female lead (whom you'll recognize if you've seen 'Halifax' ;-)

Anonymous said...

Virginia was a cracking character. A fully rounded human being who kept messing up but whose heart was in the right place.

I think Sally Wainwright did make a mistake in Last Tango but she did put that relationship on screen and has there ever been an onscreen lesbian as "magnificent" as Caroline?