By Emma McGladdery – KLTV Contributor
Sally Wainwright’s award-winning BBC series, Gentleman Jack is returning for a second series. The based on real events historical drama series is set in 1832 Yorkshire, and stars actress Surrane Jones as the legendary Anne Lister, a well-known landowner of her time.
Alongside Jones, the series stars Sophie Rundle, Amelia Bullmore, Gemma Whelan, Timothy West and more. Gentleman Jack is set in Halifax and explores incredibly diverse themes for the time-period it is set in, with storylines revolving around the topics of gender roles and same sex marriage in the year 1832.
During its first series, filming took place all over Yorkshire. Most notably, Shibden Hall in Halifax featured as a prime location. For 300 years, Shibden Hall was owned by the real Lister family, making the location of Shibden Hall an excellently suitable place to film the fictional re-telling of Anne Lister’s life.
Other notable filming locations include Sutton Park (York), Newby Hall (Ripon), and Harewood House & Estate (Leeds).
Filming of the first series also took place in Huddersfield. Parts of the town were turned into spectacular 19th century locations. Queen Street in Huddersfield was given a makeover for the filming. The scenes shot on Queen street looked incredible after post-production teams used CGI techniques to take any modern architecture out of the background.
The CGI replaced visible University of Huddersfield buildings with visuals of rural Yorkshire countryside. The Lawrence Batley Theatre and surrounding areas on Queen Street were transformed into an 1830’s street scene, and Huddersfield’s well known LBT stood in as the bank exterior in the scene.
Huddersfield residents were able to watch the filming from a distance; most stood outside the Kingsgate centre to watch the horse & cart’s, 1800’s themed dressed extras and the main attraction herself, Surrane Jones film for the BBC series.
On set prop departments covered the marked road on Queen St with dirt and additional gravel to make the road look realistic for the time period, the set was extremely detailed and looked wonderful in the final product.
The scenes shot in Huddersfield were so heavy in prop and CGI usage that it was almost unrecognisable. If you weren’t a Kirklees resident, you would have never guessed that only a few feet down from the blocked off section for filming, were considerable amounts of modern buildings, particularly the shopping centre (Kingsgate), restaurants such as The Lord Wilson Wetherspoons and Slug & Lettuce on King Street.
As of October 2020, Gentleman Jack has returned for filming of its second series. There is no airdate for the second series as of yet, but 2021 seems likely. It’s not known yet if filming will return to Huddersfield this season or not.
Still, as a community, Huddersfield residents would be proud to see Kirklees represented on screen in such a highly respected BBC drama, that was not only a hit in the UK but in the USA too. Gentleman Jack became a product of HBO in the USA, as it reached wide audiences across the water.
It would be a particularly huge and extremely positive event for film and television consumers, local residents and Gentleman Jack fans in Huddersfield to see the filming crews remodel our town into another 1800’s setting. Ultimately, we hope film crews return to our town sometime soon; it’s always enjoyable and exciting to see Huddersfield represented fictionally on screen.