Gentleman Jack star sneezed in Suranne Jones’ face as they acted lesbian scene

The hanky-panky begins in Gentleman Jack tonight as Anne Lister and Anne Walker share their first kiss.

Stars Sophie Rundle and Suranne Jones ooze chemistry and the scene in the BBC period drama looks like a slick Hollywood-style seduction.

But Sophie, who plays Walker, reveals it is a world away from her bid to gel with Suranne in her audition – which she feared producers would find a turn-off because she had a stinking cold.

The Peaky Blinders star, 31, says: “Me and Suranne had a chemistry test and I remember I had a really bad cold.

“I was so intimidated, sneezing in her face, snotty. I was really puffy trying to be all sexy and flirt with her. It was dreadful but they gave me the job!”

She says Doctor Foster star Suranne, 40, is delivering a “tour de force” as 19th century Yorkshire landowner Anne Lister, the “first modern lesbian”.

Sophie says: “Suranne rocks this part. She’s cool, she’s fun, she’s amazing.”

In the opening episodes, viewers saw Lister try to woo heiress Walker. Sophie says of her own character: “Her sexuality was a bigger mountain for her to climb. I think Anne Lister had the charisma, intelligence and swagger to brush off all the things that people said.

“Ann Walker didn’t but she loved her so much she overcame her own moral grappling to do this incredible thing.”

Sophie says that for those reasons, bringing Anne’s story to life has made her one of her favourite roles.

She told AOL Build London: “I feel most proud of this character. It’s definitely the hardest job I’ve done, as Ann goes on this extraordinary journey.

“She has to confront her religion, her sense of morality, this is someone who is discovering her sexuality when she’s been taught to be homophobic. So that’s a really hard character to play but I’m really proud to bring the memory of this woman back.”

Sophie was spotted smooching off-screen last week with her own gentleman – actor fiance Matt Stokoe, 30.

The couple, who were both in BBC1’s Bodyguard, kept their relationship low-key and Sophie finally let slip they were engaged in an interview last week.

And as her career booms, she says it is a great time to be a woman on telly – especially with people like Gentleman Jack writer Sally Wainwright leading projects.

Sophie says: “There are incredible women at the helm, in the show or creating the show. I feel this should be a benchmark for how to tell a woman’s story. I feel British TV is at a really exciting time.”

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