The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister

Watch The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister

  • TV-14
  • 2010
  • 1 Season
  • 7.0  (2,216)

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister is a period drama based on a real-life historical figure, Anne Lister, who lived in early 19th-century England. The show consists of two feature-length episodes, each approximately 90 minutes long, and was first broadcast by the BBC in 2010.

The show stars Maxine Peake as Anne Lister, a wealthy landowner from Halifax in West Yorkshire. Lister is a fascinating character – intelligent, independent, and unconventional for her time. Not only does she dress in black and carry a cane, but she is also openly gay and has relationships with other women.

The story is set in 1832, when Lister is 41 years old. She is determined to find a wife, partly to secure a companion for herself as she grows older, but also to avoid being forced into a marriage of convenience with a man. Lister is an astute businesswoman, and she knows that marrying a woman would mean that her estate would remain under her own control. However, finding a suitable partner is not easy, especially as homosexuality is illegal and the consequences of being caught can be severe.

The first episode of the show follows Lister as she meets a woman named Mariana (played by Anna Madeley) who she had been in love with years earlier. Mariana is now married to a man, but she confesses to still having feelings for Lister. The two women embark on a passionate affair, but their relationship is complicated by Mariana's husband and the threat of discovery.

The second episode of the show sees Lister continuing her search for a wife. She meets a shy heiress named Ann Walker (played by Susan Lynch), who Lister believes would make the perfect match. However, Ann is plagued by mental health problems and is under the control of her bullying relatives. Lister must battle not only against society's disapproval but also against Ann's family to win her over.

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister is a beautifully made drama that vividly captures the atmosphere of early 19th-century England. The costumes and sets are sumptuous, and the attention to detail is impressive. The show is based on Anne Lister's real-life diaries, which she wrote in code, and they provide a fascinating insight into her life and times. The show includes many quotes from the diaries and incorporates them into the dialogue, which gives the show a sense of authenticity.

Maxine Peake gives a fantastic performance as Anne Lister – she perfectly captures her intelligence, wit, and determination. Lister's relationship with Mariana is particularly well-drawn – the chemistry between Peake and Madeley is electric, and you can feel the intensity of their connection. The relationship between Lister and Ann Walker is more subdued, but it is still portrayed with sensitivity by Peake and Lynch.

Overall, The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister is a gripping drama that will appeal to anyone who enjoys historical dramas or stories of LGBTQ+ characters. The show does an excellent job of portraying Anne Lister's life and struggles, and it is a fitting tribute to a remarkable woman who defied convention and lived life on her own terms.

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (1 episodes). The series first aired on May 31, 2010.

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The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister
1. The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister
May 31, 2010
This bold and passionate drama tells the story of Anne Lister, 1791-1840, a Yorkshire landowner, industrialist, traveler and diarist. She was a lesbian, who, despite needing to keep her orientation secret from society at large, in private defied the conventions of her times by living with her female lover. Anne kept a detailed account of her life, her loves and her emotions in a fascinating and painfully honest 4,000,000-word journal. A sizable portion was written in code, and the recent deciphering of the diaries provides an astonishing insight into the life of the woman who has been called Britain's first modern lesbian. Starring Maxine Peake.
Where to Watch The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister
The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister is available for streaming on the BBC website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister on demand at Amazon, Vudu and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    May 31, 2010
  • IMDB Rating
    7.0  (2,216)