Tenant on Television
This is blatantly an advertising ploy to bank on the new fans of Mr. Stephens, but who cares? Tenant of Wildfell Hall is on television! I won't get to see it, but do watch it. It is the only available adaptation of Anne Bronte's novel. Many cast members from this film found their way into Jane Eyre 2006...
I have never seen this film, but I imagine it will be a little strange to see Toby Stephens playing a romantic lead opposite Tara Fitzgerald now that I'm used to these actors playing Rochester and Mrs. Reed! This link is less spoiling.
I would actually advise against visiting the link above if you are not familar with the story, because it completely unravels the plot, in my opinion. I also don't care much for the comment below about Toby's career. Humph!
This adaptation was originally broadcast in 1996, and is only the second screen version of Bronte’s novel in history (the first was made way back in 1968). The far more lavish 1996 version stars the strikingly beautiful Tara Fitzgerald in the lead role. Tara was already a well-known actor by this time, having appeared alongside Hugh Grant in two films (Sirens and The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain) and Ewan McGregor in Brassed Off.
Yet there was a time in Tara’s early years that she thought she’d never make it as a performer. At 17 she failed to get places at either RADA or the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and ended up travelling around Europe and working as a waitress. She then returned to London, more mature and self-confident, and landed a place at the prestigious Drama Centre, where the likes of Anthony Hopkins and Pierce Brosnan trained.
Rupert Graves, who plays the Byronic and flawed Arthur Huntingdon, had a similarly rocky road to success. As a teenager he was a punk rocker, before running away from school at 15 to become a circus clown (!) His boyish good looks eventually got him noticed, and he was soon appearing in such posh productions as A Room With a View.
By contrast, Toby Stephens (who portrays Gilbert Markham) had a far more assured path to stardom. After all, his mum happens to be Dame Maggie Smith, which must have opened a fair few doors! His early career was marked by Shakespearean roles on stage, but he’s since become more mainstream – and even played a Bond baddie in Die Another Day.
Tenant of Wildfell Hall is airing October 21st at 8 pm on uktv.