What is the Meaning of ‘Gentleman Jack’ Title? What does it mean? Anne Lister’s Nickname Explained – Gentleman In the first week of May 2022, Anne Lister received a warning from an enthused resident who used the show’s title name as an insult — but what does it mean?
Season two of the iconic BBC One sitcom premiered last month after Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) and Ann Walker’s wedding (Sophie Rundle). However, there have been some bumps in the road, as the couple has had to keep the true nature of their relationship hidden from Halifax’s prying eyes.
‘Gentleman Jack‘ is a fun period drama TV show that follows the life of British diarist Anne Lister, dubbed “the first modern lesbian” by many. It is based on Anne’s diaries, which were made public in the 1990s. It explores her role as a landowner and entrepreneur in the nineteenth century, as well as her marriage to fellow landowner Ann Walker.
Aside from that, ‘Gentleman‘ Jack also explores crucial subjects like LGBTQ+ relationships in the Georgian Era and presents a revolutionary lady who defies gender stereotypes to write her own story. As a result, the show’s title pays homage to Anne Lister while also capturing the beliefs she advocated. Let’s go over it again.
What Does ‘Gentleman Jack’ Title Mean?
‘Gentleman Jack‘ is named after the protagonist’s moniker. In real life, Anne Lister was known as “Gentleman Jack,” although the term’s original meaning was not so pleasant. “Gentleman” was used to characterise her masculine appearance, while “Jack” was used to describe her romantic interactions with women in a crass manner.
While her Halifax neighbours mocked her for using the phrase, Anne was unconcerned about societal opinion and went about her life as she pleased. It was unusual for a woman to work in business and sit among males in nineteenth-century England. Despite fierce opposition, Anne not only successfully managed her family’s Shibden Hall estate, but she also pursued different commercial prospects in coal mining, railways, and canals.
Not only that, but she was also intelligent and well-educated, two qualities that women at the time did not publicly express. The townsfolk may have been jealous or intimidated by Anne’s blatant use of her talents to establish her financial standing. As a result, they probably addressed her as “Gentleman Jack” to discourage her efforts.
Furthermore, Anne’s escapades with women and her marriage to Ann were well-known in Halifax. Because lesbian relationships were deemed abnormal at the time, people attempted to humiliate her for her sexuality. Although “Gentleman Jack” was initially a homophobic slur directed against her, she proudly wore it as a badge of honour.
In an April 2019 interview with Vanity Fair, creator Sally Wainwright expounded on this, saying, “She was such a snob… And ‘jack’ was slang for ‘dyke,’ so it was the same thing.”
“It wasn’t meant as a complement…
“However, she’s the type of person who would convert an insult into a compliment anyhow,” Sally continued. The makers of the show chose the moniker “Gentleman Jack” because of Anne’s vain attitude. However, it’s worth noting that it was originally titled “Shibden,” after Anne’s family estate. Sally, however, was inspired by Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow’s song ‘Gentleman Jack’ to use it instead.
The song was composed and created by the pair, who were both Halifax locals, based on what they heard about Anne in their hometown. Sally approached them after hearing the song, Belinda revealed in a May 2022 interview. “It inspired her in helping to flesh out who Anne Lister was going to be,” she said.
Because of our music, she changed the name of the drama from Shibden to Gentlemen Jack. I believe it played a significant role in that fast-walking individual with that attitude you see – some of it has to do with the song’s attitude.”
“In some ways, the programme is Anne Lister,” Belinda continued. It’s all about her swagger and attitude. Despite the fact that the term ‘Gentleman Jack‘ was intended as an insult, it sounds like she’s taking it on.” Belinda and Heidi later produced a special version of their song, which is used as the show’s opening credits.
Because ‘Gentleman Jack’ is such an accurate portrayal of Anne Lister’s life and keeps loyal to everything she stands for, the title of the programme is the ideal approach to honour her bravery.
When Does the Show Take Place? [Which Era]
Season two of the show takes place in 1834, firmly placing us in the Regency period.
The show is set in Yorkshire, with most of the action taking place in York and Halifax, Lister’s hometown.
Shibden is now open to the public, allowing Gentleman Jack admirers to view where she wrote her famous diaries for themselves.
‘Gentleman Jack‘ returns to BBC TV, HBO and Prime Video and Hulu.