London – The makers of period dramas go to great lengths to ensure details such as scenery, dress and speech ring true.
Now lesbian sex scenes can be added to the list of things to get right. Producers for Suranne Jones’s new Regency drama Gentleman Jack brought in an "intimacy director" to coach the actors and "do right by the lesbian community".
The six-part series stars the Doctor Foster star as the "wildly promiscuous" Anne Lister, an 1830s landowner who beds a string of lesbian lovers, including Sophie Rundle’s Ann Walker and Lydia Leonard’s Mariana Lawton. Executive producer Faith Penhale said she wanted the actors to feel comfortable filming the scenes.
She added the role of intimacy director – being filled by former dancer Ita O’Brien – has been created in the film and television industry partly in response to heightened sensitivities since the recent #MeToo movement.
She said: "For a long time we’ve had specialists on stunts and all different areas, but we’ve never had anyone really closely work with us to help us think about how to approach these scenes. I think it was a really fantastic thing to do."