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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - a new drama adaptation for BBC ONE

From the BBC Press Office (Thanks to Alison for the tip!):

Newcomer Ruth Wilson (Jane Eyre) and Toby Stephens (Edward Rochester) head up an all-star cast in a passionate new version of the much-adored classic Jane Eyre for BBC ONE.

The four-part serial also stars Francesca Annis as Lady Ingram, Christina Cole as Blanche Ingram, Lorraine Ashbourne as Mrs Fairfax, Pam Ferris as Grace Poole and Tara Fitzgerald as Mrs Reed.

Georgie Henley, who recently starred in the Christmas blockbuster The Chronicles of Narnia plays young Jane while Aidan McArdle plays the visionary John Eshton. The drama is currently filming entirely on location in Derbyshire.

Jane Tranter, BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning says: "Sandy Welch's wonderful version of Jane Eyre for BBC ONE will add that special ingredient to the mix of dramas due for transmission this autumn, which includes the new series of Robin Hood; Lizzie Mickery and Dan Percival's conspiracy thriller, State Within; Sally Wainwright's heart-warming series The Amazing Mrs Pritchard plus Russell T Davies's Torchwood for BBC THREE."

The sustainability and appeal of Jane Eyre lies in her universality and the audience's appetite for a well-told romantic tale.

Orphaned at a young age, Jane (Ruth Wilson) is placed with her wealthy aunt Mrs Reed (Tara Fitzgerald) who neglects Jane in favour of her own three spoiled children.

Mrs Reed's spitefulness leads her to withhold news that could change Jane's life for the better.

Instead she brands her a liar and sends Jane to Lowood School where she remains until the age of 19.

When she finally leaves the dark memories of Lowood behind, she embarks on a career as a governess and her first position is at Thornfield Hall, the home of the alluring and unpredictable Edward Rochester.

Jane's journey into the world and as a woman begins.

Producer Diederick Santer adds: "In her brand new adaptation of Jane Eyre, Sandy Welch has mined Bronte's novel for every ounce of passion, drama, colour, madness and horror available, bringing to life Jane's inner world with beauty, humour and at times great sadness.

"The locations we have chosen are stormy and majestic and I hope that Sandy's original take on the story will be enjoyed as much by long-term fans of the book as by those who have never read it."

Filming is underway until June at the historical medieval castle Haddon Hall, owned by Lord Edward Manners, and other locations across Derbyshire.

Jane Eyre is adapted by Sandy Welch (North and South, Magnificent Seven), directed by Susanna White (Bleak House) and the Executive Producer is Phillippa Giles.

The 'visionary John Eshton'?? What on earth can that mean? Humour, humour is good! Yes, I certainly cannot wait to see this. Also, as previously reported, it is confirmed for autumn not December, which is more good news!


ThisbeCiel said...

Wow, what did they do to Jane? She looks... really plain. Good job! :D

Brontëana said...

This is all much better than I was expecting. Not that I thought it would be terrible ;) And I don't know where Toby got his broad chest from, unless they have those in the BBC costume dept. or something. I was led to think he was a wiry sort of man. ;)

I think Ms.Wilson resembles the Richmond portrait here. especially with the ribbon... It looks like they have done some homework for this.

mysticgypsy said...

The picture reminded me of Withering Heights!

Brontëana said...

It did? Any reason why that might be?

mysticgypsy said...

I think it was the angle in which the picture was taken. Jane appears to be manly and Rochester stumpy. The picture could be rather comic ;)

Brontëana said...

to Mysticgypsy:

ha! ;) Oh, well, I suppose it is better than a 36 year old Rochester and a 48 year old Jane- which is what we would infer from the imdb page since they will not listen to me (or haven't read my email yet). I was thinking, he does look rather Heathcliffy with that hair. I'm not convinced, but I am willing to put some faith in him.

mysticgypsy said...

Out of curiosity, were the actors in "Withering Heights" all men??

Brontëana said...

I'm not sure... I didn't look into it much but I think they were, from the looks of one of the pictures I came across.

Yes, this is all so exciting- I can't wait to see this since I have only seen Georgie act and I think she was great.

What do you think they could mean by 'the visionary John Eshton'?! And how did he get billing along with the rest over Lord Ingram et al?

mysticgypsy said...

hmm was there even a John Eshton in the book??

Brontëana said...

There's a Mr.Eshton but he's such a minor character that I don't even remember if she gives us his first name! ...There's a Louisa Eshton.

The only sensible guess I have is that they might have looked to some of the Victorian plays for inspiration. In one of them Jane has more business with the guests. One of them singles her out for teasing, but it isn't Mr.Eshton. And I wouldn't at all call his behaviour 'visionary'. I'll check the concordance...

Brontëana said...

Hmm... Well, I was right, but this leaves us with a problem, Mysticgyspy. See, Mr.Eshton seems to be one of the elder members of the party, and the actor seems fairly young. I wonder if they are starting up a subplot here. *groan* I hope not. I sincerely hope NOT.

mysticgypsy said...

It could just be some gross error in the cast list or something of the sort..

(If it were, it is surprising that a reliable source like BBC could make an error like that though..)

Brontëana said...

Uh...oh... And why does he get billing over Adele, Bertha, and St.John...

...Why don't we have a St.John? Who is somewhat visionary? ...

uhhhhhhhh oh. This gives me a bad feeling. I hope I'm just paranoid. Yes, that must be it. I hope.

Brontëana said...

I hope it is, Mysticgypsy!

Liz said...

Aces! ‘drama, colour, madness and horror’ is good. And passion. I wonder what they mean by ‘bringing to life Jane's inner world’? And ‘original take on the story’? Interesting anyway.

I am sure Eshton is Rivers – and that maybe they got the name wrong. Still I have positioned myself as the apologist for this production (not that it needs one!).

I still think that Jane should be shorter but at least we don’t have a ginormous Mr R and a titchy Jane like we did in 1983. It makes snogging v. difficult.

Brontëana said...

The trouble is that he is listed in other credits as Mr.Eshton. But, you know, I'm starting to think it might be funny to see how this could work out. Mr Rochester invites these guests over to make her jealous and instead one of them falls for his little Janet. ;)

They could always put Toby in lifts or platforms ;)

I thought Zelah's height was one of the few virtues of her performance although she could hardly take credit for that ;) She looks more like the tiny Jane from the novel but as you say, he often looked silly when they did any 'snogging.' ;)

Eshtonvision said...

Does anyone know if the Jane Eyre 'Eshton' is a surname associated with the Currer pseudonym Charlotte used? Currer lived at Eshton Hall (nr Skipton, N Yorks).

Brontëana said...

I hadn't considered that but it seems likely! I think there may have been some information about the name in Preface to the Brontes.