Gentleman Jack sees Suranne Jones in the lead role of Anne Lister, an industrialist and wealthy landowner who kept lengthy diaries of her life in a man’s world and of her lesbian proclivities.
The BBC drama was created by Sally Wainwright and the first episode introduces viewers to business-minded Anne who has moved back to Halifax to sort out her affairs as her uncle chose to leave the estate to her rather than her father.
During the episode, Anne can be seen breaking the fourth wall and turning to the camera to speak directly to the audience.
However, some viewers didn’t like the style of filming, that was famously used in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag and were quick to comment.
One remarked: “Hang on a minute… What’s all this breaking the fourth wall in a period drama? Oh no no no. That will never do. #gentlemanjack,”
“I see #GentlemanJack is also doing fourth-wall asides to camera in a shameless bid to be a bit more like Fleabag,” a second said.
Another tweeted: “Why does #GentlemanJack have to break the fourth wall??”
Some viewers praised the technique with one posting: “Breaking the fourth wall love it already #GentlemanJack.”
A second added: “Everyone banging on about how breaking the 4th wall is copying #fleabag while rolling their eyes can do one. #GentlemanJack is based on #AnneListers diaries so it makes total sense and draws the audience in! Bravo!”
“#GentlemanJack is my new Fleabag and I love it. Break the fourth wall and the glass ceiling ladies!” wrote a third.
Speaking to The Mirror, Suranne opened up about the raunchy nature of the period drama and what it was like to film the intimate scenes.
She said: “I was quite nervous about the sex scenes we had to do, because I thought they should be approached as sensitively as they could be.
“One of the great things she brought was an articulacy – we could talk about the scenes.”
The Doctor Foster star worked with sex-co-ordinator Ita O’Brien to ensure the scenes were as authentic as possible.
Discussing Ita’s guidance, she continued: “She just started talking about body parts and positions in a matter of fact way, which just liberated us all.
“As well was helping us sculpt the sex scenes, the positions, she’s also there to provide support to the artists.”
Based on a true story, the landowner has relationships with many women before meeting her great love Anne Walker.
The BBC drama focuses on her life where her sexuality was considered a crime and taboo.
Her desire to handle her business affairs herself also caused a stir at the time as women were not expected to get involved with such matters.
This will be Suranne’s fourth time working with director Sally.
Gentleman Jack continues Saturday at 9pm on BBC One.