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The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (2010)

A look at the life of 19th century Yorkshire landowner Anne Lister (1791-1840), who lived openly as a lesbian and kept diaries chronicling the details of her daily life.


James Kent


Jane English
1 win. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Maxine Peake ... Anne Lister
Anna Madeley ... Mariana Belcombe
Susan Lynch ... Isabella 'Tib' Norcliffe
Christine Bottomley ... Ann Walker
Gemma Jones ... Aunt Lister
Alan David Alan David ... Uncle Lister
Richenda Carey ... Mrs Priestley
Michael Culkin ... Charles Lawton
Dean Lennox Kelly ... Christopher Rawson
Tina O'Brien Tina O'Brien ... Miss Browne
Tessa Peake-Jones ... Mrs Rawson
Jemima Foxtrot Jemima Foxtrot ... Lister Maid
Belinda Lazenby Belinda Lazenby ... Mrs Browne
Ted Holden Ted Holden ... Rough Man
Martin Oldfield Martin Oldfield ... Jeweller


In nineteenth century Yorkshire wealthy orphan Anne Lister lives with an aunt and uncle, anxious for her to marry well and blissfully - unaware that she is a lesbian. Anne is recording her thoughts and exploits in a coded diary. When her lover Mariana Belcombe makes a marriage of convenience to rich old Charles Lawton she feels betrayed and, although Mariana visits her,the relationship is going nowhere. Helped by old flame Tib she makes a play for innocent Miss Browne but sees she is barking up the wrong tree and diverts herself by renovating the family hall. A drunken Tib almost exposes her secret and scornful mine-owner Christopher Rawson, whose marriage proposal she rejects, tells her that her sexuality is a subject of local gossip.... Written by Anonymous

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TV-14 | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Nine years later, Anne Lister's life story was adapted into the TV series Gentleman Jack (2019). Gemma Jones appears in both productions as Aunt Lister. See more »


Mariana Belcombe: [voice over for letter to Anne Lister] I realize any obligation you had to me was canceled by my marriage. But if you can find your way to Manchester on the 18th of November, I shall be there unaccompanied at the Albion Hotel en route from York.
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Remake of A Skirt Through History: A Marriage (1994) See more »


Rock of Ages
Music by Thomas Hastings
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady
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User Reviews

Inaccurate depiction of Anne Lister
4 September 2017 | by arinryuSee all my reviews

I agree with review by Karien Van Der Westhuizen. I am very disappointed that despite the progress we have nowadays, none of historical movies can honestly depict historical butch/ftm characters as whom they really were. I am sorry but Anne Lister was not a feminine lesbian as depicted here. I know that TV shows and movies hate butch lesbian/transgender/intersex characters but to distort historical figures again and again is unforgivable. Another example is the feminizing of Queen Kristina's hair and dresses in the movie "The Girl King". Both Queen Kristina and Anne Lister are among the most interesting masculine queer historical figures. Anne was a butch lesbian/ftm, while Queen Kristina was intersex/butch/ftm but both are re-characterized and suppressed to fit the typical Hollywood-styled cisgenders' feminine-lesbian fantasy. Having read about real Anne Lister's lives, I find these movies hard to watch. Otherwise, this movie is fine.

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Release Date:

31 May 2010 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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