AE: You wrote some episodes of Sugar Rush, which was such a popular and pretty groundbreaking show. How was that to work on? Was there a bit of pressure because it was the first teen show of its kind?
JE: Sugar Rush was a brilliant show to work on. What I am proudest about is the real truth at the heart of the first series of dealing with the unrequited love of a best friend. This is something that happens often to young gay girls. The first person you have that unbearable, torturous teenage crush on is someone in your close circle of friends and you don’t know whether to act on it or not.
With both Kim in Sugar Rush and also with Anne Lister, I felt like I wrote from the inside out; about how they felt, thought and obsessed. The pressure I felt was to capture the truth of those emotions. If people can empathise with these characters — gay or straight — then that is the greatest service I can do as a writer, and for the lesbian cause if you like!
AE: I heard that there was going to be a third series but it got pulled at the last minute?
JE: We did meet and we chatted about storylines for a third series. Everyone involved in the series was up for another one — we were as perplexed as everyone else that it didn’t happen. I felt that there was so much more we could have done with Kim and Sugar. In the second series we tried things out to see whether people would buy into Kim having a relationship with another woman, so I was really disappointed not to have things developed further.
AE: What would you have Kim and Sugar do in series 3?
JE: We were going to get them together in a flat and just have more crazy adventures together. We hadn’t decided whether they would be a couple. I don’t know if they could have been together. From a writer’s perspective, the constant sexual tension is wonderful and the thought that they could get together at any time makes it all the more exciting.
AE: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
JE: Can I just say to the readers of AfterEllen.com that my one hope for the film is that it leads you to the diaries themselves because they are such a rewarding and inspiring read — especially Helen Whitbread’s first book, I Know My Own Heart.
The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister premieres 31st May at 9 pm on BBC Two.
"Great LezBritain" authors Sarah, a Londoner, and Lee, a Glaswegian, met in a gay discotheque one bleak mid winter, eight years ago and have been shacked up together ever since. When not watching Tipping The Velvet, they find time to write, run a PR company, DJ at their own club nights and love a bit of jam on toast. Follow them on Twitter at greatlezbritain.