Happy Valley creator Sally Wainwright to bring new period drama, Shibden Hall, to BBC1

The BBC and HBO commission a new 8 part drama from the creator of Happy Valley and Last Tango In Halifax

BAFTA-winning Sally Wainwright, who brought us Happy Valley (pictured above), Scott & Bailey and Last Tango in Halifax, has written a brand new  drama for BBC1 and HBO based on the true story of a 19th century Yorkshire woman, Anne Lister, who embarked on a passionate lesbian relationship.

The eight part series, called Shibden Hall, is set in West Yorkshire in 1832 and tells the real-life story of the remarkable landowner, Anne, who after years of travelling around the world and social climbing, returned to Halifax to try and transform the fate of her faded ancestral home.

Based on Anne’s intimate diaries, the  drama will show how she  is  determined to marry someone incredibly wealthy to help fund her family home but has no intention of marrying a man.  Instead, single-minded and charismatic Anne, who walked like a man, dressed head-to-foot in black, and charmed her way into high society,  sets her sight on marrying another woman, a rich heiress called Ann Walker.

Her story has already been the subject of a 90-minute BBC film in 2010, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, starring Maxine Peake.

BAFTA Winners of Drama Series for Happy Valley Sally Wainwright, Karen Lewis, Euros Lyn, Nicola Shindler, Steve Pemberton, Siobhan Finneron, Sarah Lancashire, James Norton and Jonathan Leather  2015.  Photo: Ian West

Creator, writer and director Sally Wainwright said, “Anne Lister is a gift to a dramatist. She is one of the most exuberant, thrilling and brilliant women in British history, and I can’t wait to celebrate her. Landowner, industrialist, traveller, mountaineer, scholar, would-be brain surgeon and prolific diarist, Anne returns from years of travel to her ancestral home, determined to restore it to its former glory, and determined to marry Ann Walker. It’s a beautifully rich, complicated, surprising love story. To bring Anne Lister to life on screen is the fulfilment of an ambition I’ve had for twenty years. Shibden Hall is a place I have known and loved since I was a child.”

Sally Wainwright wins BAFTA in 2013 Photo by Richard Kendal

The BBC said: “Shibden Hall is a remarkable and unlikely love story, set in the complex, changing world of Halifax – the cradle of the industrial revolution – just as it’s all kicking off.

“The drama will explore Anne Lister’s relationships at home with her family, her servants, her tenants, and her industrial rivals, who will use any dirty tricks they can to bring her down. It has all the warmth, wit, humour and complexity that audiences have come to associate with Sally Wainwright’s writing.”

Casting for the new drama has yet to be announced.

Shibden Hall will air on BBC1 and HBO

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