Is Renegade Nell based on a true story? Everything you need to know

Virgin Radio

29 Mar 2024, 18:59

Renegade Nell cast

Credit: Disney+

Disney+ latest adventure series tells the story of the courageous renegade Nell Jackson - but is any of this rip-roaring historical drama based on true events?

The simple answer is no, superpowered action-hero Nell (played by Derry Girls’ Louisa Harland) has no real-life counterpoint, nor do her adversaries such as Adrian Lester’s Earl of Poynton or Alice Kremelberg’s Sofia Wilmot.

However, Happy Valley writer Sally Wainwright’s 1705-based story does draw on many truths from the 18th century era in which Nell’s exciting story is set.

For example, Queen Anne was the real-life monarch who reigned over what we now know as the UK from 1665 to 1714. And Rasselas’ story also touches upon Britain’s history of slavery in West Africa.

Plus, while there was no magical plot to overthrow Anne like there is in the show, her reign did attract critics at every level of society just as much as it brought her many devoted followers.

Even Nell’s supernatural sprite friend Billy Blind is based on real-life folklore, Nick Mohammed revealed when speaking to about his character at the show’s world premiere.

“[Billy]’s based on the folklore that a lot of people believed at the time,” the Ted Lasso actor revealed. “He’s based on, I think, an imp, that used to live underneath a little girl’s pillow to protect her.”

Elaborating on how the show draws on historical elements but also creates its own unique world, Nell star Louisa Harland explained in a press release about the show: “The nice thing about this world is I feel like it’s a new world we’ve created, and apart from a through line of historical accuracy, we can kind of do whatever we want.

“Sally I think is re-writing history a little bit, and that’s something lovely about the show,” she added.

Renegade Nell is available to watch on Disney+ now.