5.9k Share this

Gentleman Jack 

Rating:

SAS: Who Dares Wins 

Rating:

Now we know what people used to do before they were constantly looking at their smartphones. 

Suranne Jones, as Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack (BBC1), couldn’t stop consulting her pocket watch.

Every time she stood up, sat down or crossed her legs, she pulled out the watch and flipped it open. At first I assumed she was obsessively punctual, but by the end of the hour I was beginning to wonder if she was getting Victorian text messages.

Hang on, I’ve just realised. She was looking at Tick Tock videos.

Anne is forever in a tearing rush. She strides along, coat tails flapping and cane swinging, while others scurry to keep up. All day long, she is dashing about on Important Business.

Suranne Jones, as Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack (BBC1), couldn¿t stop consulting her pocket watch

Suranne Jones, as Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack (BBC1), couldn¿t stop consulting her pocket watch

Suranne Jones, as Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack (BBC1), couldn’t stop consulting her pocket watch

The trouble with this period drama, based on the 1830s diaries of the stridently lesbian Miss Lister, is that it’s hard to care about her fiscal affairs.

She’s having new pits dug for coal mines on her Yorkshire estate, she’s planning to turn her townhouse into a hotel, she’s bossing the servants about or discussing auction bids with her lawyer.

No doubt all this is true to the spirit and the content of the diaries, but 190 years later it’s hard to feel it matters very much.

We care much more about her romance with the timid but wilful Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle), an overgrown adolescent who is hopelessly besotted.

Anne is forever in a tearing rush. She strides along, coat tails flapping and cane swinging, while others scurry to keep up. All day long, she is dashing about on Important Business

Anne is forever in a tearing rush. She strides along, coat tails flapping and cane swinging, while others scurry to keep up. All day long, she is dashing about on Important Business

Anne is forever in a tearing rush. She strides along, coat tails flapping and cane swinging, while others scurry to keep up. All day long, she is dashing about on Important Business

Miss Walker loves Anne ‘in a thousand ways’, though it’s their physical relationship that is most important to her. By contrast, La Lister is not so much passionate as practical in the bedroom — she wants to discuss property and finance even when, so to speak, getting down to business matters.

The chief problem with Gentleman Jack is that our mannish heroine, who appears in every scene, is simply not very likeable. She bullies people. She bulldozers every conversation.

She wrangles with the frail Miss Walker about her will so often that I am beginning to suspect her of mercenary intent.

Their relationship is starting to look less like a sapphic love affair and more like an exercise in coercive control and manipulation. When Anxious Ann’s ferocious aunt, played with gusto by Stephanie Cole, accuses Miss Lister of isolating the poor girl from her family, she is making a good point.

The show’s creator, Sally Wainwright, expects us to take Anne Lister’s side, but I can’t see why we would.

Sacking a footman for insolence, she tells him: ‘If you’re still on the premises in 20 minutes, I shall shoot you.’ Then she marches into her study and loads a pistol. What’s so admirable and feminist about that? It’s the sort of thing wicked George Warleggan in Poldark would do.

Bullying and violent threats are the first resort of special forces instructors Rudy Reyes, Jason Fox and pals, on SAS: Who Dares Wins (C4).

The military men are putting 20 recruits through a facsimile of an SAS training camp in the Jordan desert. This involves gruelling workouts for the wannabe commandos, while their tormentors stand on a wooden stage in tight T-shirts, bellowing scripted insults such as: ‘Welcome to the slaughterhouse, little lambs!’

But with arms truculently folded or thumbs tucked into their belts, there’s an undeniable resemblance to male strippers at a hen night. Rudy and Foxy look like cut-price Chippendales. They even have the names for it.

I keep expecting Joe Cocker’s rasping voice to launch into You Can Leave Your Hat On, or Alexander ‘Full Monty’ Armstrong to leap out and disrobe. Gawd forbid.

Quick wit of the weekend: Lee Mack dished out the patter on The 1% Club (ITV) like he’d been hosting quizes all his life. He even teased contestants about their names. ‘Polly?’ he said. ‘Put the kettle on.’ You had to feel sorry for the lad called Attila Annus . . . 

Source: dailymail

5.9k Share this
You May Also Like

Biden’s Labor Chief Urges Congress to Import More Foreign Workers

The nation’s Democratic labor secretary is urging Republicans and Democrats to import…

Netflix Seeing Sharp Rise in Long-Term Customers Cancelling Their Subscriptions

Netflix is seeing a sharp rise in the number of long-term customers…

NRA Endorses Trump-Backed Nevada US Senate Candidate Adam Laxalt

The National Rifle Association (NRA) endorsed former Nevada Attorney General and U.S.…

Tom Cruise and ‘former flame’ Hayley Attwell ‘grow close’ following their split last year

Tom Cruise and his ‘former flame’ Hayley Attwell have reportedly grown close…

Audit Reveals Almost Half of Joe Biden’s Twitter Followers Are Fake

Nearly half of President Joe Biden’s 22.3 million Twitter followers are fake…

Two dead and eight injured after shooting outside a McDonald’s in Chicago

Two dead and eight injured after shooting outside a McDonald’s in Chicago:…

Sunday Times Rich List 2022: Who are the wealthiest people in the UK? Rishi Sunak joins top 250

Britain’s super wealthy have accumulated even more cash during the worst cost…

Cost of living: Supermarket price tracking data reveals how items have shot up amid inflation fears

Britons looking to cut back on their food bills amid the cost…