Renegade Nell’s Real History & Folklore: Queen Anne, Jacobites, Herne the Hunter & Billy Blind

The Disney+ fantasy blends real history with British myth and fantasy.

Louisa Harland in costume as a highwaywoman/ Nell Jackson in Disney+ Renegade Nell
Photo: Photo by Robert Viglasky. © 2024 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Nell Jackson is the latest historical TV creation by Sally Wainwright, the writer-director who brought “the first modern lesbian” Anne Lister to screen in HBO/BBC series Gentleman Jack. Anne was a real-life 19th century figure who left behind thousands of diary pages for her biographers to decode. Being fictional, Nell Jackson obviously left no such legacy, but her fantastical story does cross over with real historical events and established folklore from the British Isles.

Eight-part Disney+ series Renegade Nell is set in 1705. To pinpoint the date in TV terms, that’s 100 years before Bridgerton, 200 years after The Tudors, and 40 or so years before Outlander‘s wigs-and-corsets era. Or for moviegoers, 1705 is the exact year in which Yorgos Lanthimos’ Oscar-winner The Favourite, which also featured Queen Anne, was set.

Queen Anne and the Jacobite Plot

Queen Anne (played in Renegade Nell by Jodhi May) was the English monarch for 12 years in the early 18th century, from 1702 to her death in 1714. At the time the Disney+ series is set, Anne and her husband Prince George of Denmark had ruled for three years, having succeeded her sister Queen Mary II and King William III (also known as William of Orange).


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *