Happy Valley writer for BBC and HBO lesbian period drama

Louise McCreesh
Photo credit: Richard Kendal/BAFTA / Rex Shutterstock

From Digital Spy

HBO and the BBC have teamed up for a forthcoming lesbian period drama from BAFTA award-winning Happy Valley screenwriter Sally Wainwright.

Shibden Hall is an upcoming eight-part drama series set in West Yorkshire in 1832.

It follows the story of landowner Anne Lister who, after returning home following years of travel, is determined to transform the fate of her faded ancestral home in Halifax and marry well, but she has no intentions of marrying a man.

Photo credit: Richard Kendal/BAFTA / Rex Shutterstock

[Sally Wainwright]

"Anne Lister is a gift to a dramatist," said Wainwright in a new statement. "She is one of the most exuberant, thrilling and brilliant women in British history, and I can't wait to celebrate her.

"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."

Shibden Hall will begin filming in Yorkshire next year and will broadcast on the BBC in the UK and HBO in the US.

Wainwright will direct the series and serve as executive producer, which may explain why Happy Valley won't be back for its third season until 2018 - especially given the explanation given by the BBC for the delay was that Wainwright was busy developing other projects.

Photo credit: BBC/Red Productions

[Happy Valley]

"The originality and ambition of the writing in Shibden Hall is Sally Wainwright at her boldest and best," added Piers Wenger, controller of commission for BBC Drama.

"In dramatising the life and loves of Anne Lister, Sally might just have found her most complex and uncompromising female character yet."

The BBC previously adapted Anne Lister's diaries into a series titled The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister in 2010 starring Maxine Peake in the title role.

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