• 7th June 1818

    Thinking that Miss Browne, her current ‘crush’ was avoiding her, Anne wrote: “‘Tis well, I deserve it. Miss Browne is right ... I will think no more of her ... and make myself scarce to everyone, determined to devote myself solely to study & the acquirement of that literature which may make me eminent & more decidedly above them all hereafter ... My mind was intent on these reflections as I walked along & I resolved to stick diligently to my watchword – discretion, & next to good, to devote myself to study.”

Sally Wainwright’s epic series about Anne Lister

I am thrilled to be able to say that Sally Wainwright, brilliant writer and BAFTA winner of hugely acclaimed TV series such as Happy Valley and the Bronte drama To Walk Invisible, has at last achieved her ambition to write an epic series about Anne Lister to be entitled Shibden Hall. Filming is to begin nest year.

“Anne Lister is a gift to a dramatist,” said Wainwright. “She is one of the most exuberant, thrilling and brilliant women in British history, and I can’t wait to celebrate her. Landowner, industrialist, traveler, mountaineer, scholar, would-be brain surgeon and prolific diarist. … To bring Anne Lister to life on screen is the fulfillment of an ambition I’ve had for twenty years.”

Last Friday I was at Shibden Hall, where I was with a TV production team who were making a documentary about iconic houses which have been inhabited by gay people who have contributed something of value to society. It was quite a memorable day, gathering, as it did, a hugely talented group of people which included the singer/songwriters O’Hooley and Tidow (they of “Gentleman Jack” fame–among other great songs) and Mary Portas, the fashion queen–such a lovely down-to-earth woman, who presented the programme. And, of course, the production team themselves.

The day was complete when Sally Wainwright paid an impromptu visit to the Hall and everyone was delighted to see her. Although being filmed is not my favourite occupation (I much prefer sitting at my desk writing about Anne Lister), I think Friday, 31st March 2017 will be one of my happiest memories in my “Anne Lister career.”

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