Anne Lister’s story to be told in new Sally Wainwright drama Shibden Hall

Shibden Hall
Shibden Hall

Halifax and Calderdale will feature on the small sreen once again in Sally Wainwright’s brand new eight-part drama series Shibden Hall.

Set in 1832, Shibden Hall is the epic story of landowner Anne Lister.

Returning after years of exotic travel and social climbing, Anne determines to transform the fate of her faded ancestral home, Shibden Hall, in Halifax.

To do this she must re-open her coal mines and marry well.

Charismatic, single-minded, swashbuckling Anne Lister - who walked like a man, dressed head-to-foot in black, and charmed her way into high society - has no intention of marrying a man.

Anne plans to marry a woman. And not just any woman - the woman Anne Lister marries must be seriously wealthy.

Every part of the story is based in historical fact, recorded in the four million words of her diaries that contain the most intimate details of her life, once hidden in a secret code that is now broken.

The drama will explore Anne Lister’s relationships at home with her family, her servants, her tenants and her industrial rivals.

Sally Wainwright, who also created Calderdale-based and filmed Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax, 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, traveler, 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 fulfillment of an ambition I’ve had for 20 years. Shibden Hall is a place I have known and loved since I was a child.

“I’m also delighted to be working with Faith Penhale again and the wonderful team at Lookout Point after our collaboration on To Walk Invisible, and of course thrilled to be working with the BBC and HBO.”

The series will start filming next year. It’s a Lookout Point production for the BBC and co-produced with HBO.