Saturday, 29 December 2007

Sense & Sensibility 2008 on Location

HARTLAND folk will recognise the scenery when the adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibilitity hits the nation's TV screens on New Year's Day.

The BBC spent three weeks on the Hartland Abbey Estate filming at a 15th century cottage.

It was used as the setting for Barton Cottage to which Mrs Dashwood moved with her three daughters on the death of her husband.

The film, which will be shown in three parts on BBC 1, features stunning scenery around the coastal footpath between Hartland Quay and Hartland Point.

Not everyone will recognise the cottage, however, because the BBC made some clever changes to the exterior.

Visitors to Hartland Abbey last May were treated to some memorable sights, despite awful weather. The film unit base filled the whole car park and visitors were constantly bumping into actors and actresses in period costume wandering round the house and gardens or buying ice creams.

Ref: TV Film Shot in Hartland
Pic: Hattie Morahan, Lucy Boynton and Janet McTeer in Sense & Sensibility from: North Devon Gazette

Masterpiece Theatre Clips & Interviews on YouTube!

Ah, this is such a nice Jane-y way to close the year ... PBS have uploaded three Jane Austen Season Behind the Scenes interviews with screenwriter Andrew Davis onto Youtube:


An Interview With Andrew Davis : I LOVE this interview - it's short, but loaded. Andrew Davis speaks such sense! His favourite scene from Pride & Prejudice '95 is also my favourite - it just can't be beaten! There's also footage from Northanger Abbey '07 and Sense & Sensibility '08.

Behind the Scenes with Andrew Davis - Jane Austen's Men & Women : This clip is almost better than the previous one - let's just say I gagged laughing, more than once. ;) I really loved listening to Davis's take on the characters in the first part of the clip.

Behind the Scenes with Andrew Davis - Adapting Austen : "When in doubt, copy it out" - fantastic! I love the music at the beginning of the clip. I don't recognise it from any of the other adaptations so I'm hoping *fingers crossed* that it's theme music from Sense & Sensibility.

PBS TV Trailer for the upcoming Jane Austen Season : All six novels on the small screen for the first time. Yay!

UK Jane fans don't have long to wait for Sense & Sensibilty which begins screening on New Year's Day. We can't wait for reviews! The new adaptation will air in the US as part of the PBS Sunday's With Jane extravaganza.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Merry XMas 2007 and Happy New Year 2008!

Dearest friends,

This is the first time Team Jane is celebrating XMas and New Year together, even though in patchy places on this planet. We're very excited and happy with the friendship we share, the bond that sprung solely from our love to Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy. Thanks also to Becoming Jane the movie, 'A Youthful Love', 'Becoming Jane Austen', 'Memoir of Chief Justice Lefroy', 'Memoir of Jane Austen', and myriads of books and literatures that have inspired us and brought us here together.

With this note, I wish you all a very Merry XMas and Happy New Year. My mind wanders to the Christmas of 1795 when Jane danced with Tom for the first time in Hampshire. I wish she knows that we still treasure their memories.

No. I KNOW that she knows :-) that we all treasure their memories, memories that have triggered the birth of more than six greatest books in the English literature.

Picture: Jane and Tom danced during the 1795 Christmas holiday, by Jane Odiwe

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Sense & Sensibility 2008 Website Launched

The BBC have just launched the Sense & Sensibility 2008 website, which includes a synopsis, and features video interviews with the cast and crew, including: Hattie Morahan (Elinor), Charity Wakefield (Marianne), Dan Stevens (Edward), Costume, Make-up, Director, and Art Director. There is also a preview clip from Episode One.

There's lots of backstage photos and an episode gallery (yay!) Lots of fantastic, candid behind-the-scenes photos are available here. Enjoy!

Pic: Sense & Sensibility cast from: BBC

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Sense & Sensibility 2008 Trailers!

I am so excited! The teaser trailer for the BBC's Sense & Sensibility 2008 has just premiered! A very big thank you to repunxo at youtube for sharing it online.

So, opinions? I'm quite excited now; it looks lavish! I think Charity Wakefield's Marianne looks lovely. I must admit I did snicker at the keywords and 'a feast for the senses...' Enjoy!

Edit: A very big thank you to Boris for sending us the link to the latest and longer Sense & Sensibility trailer!

Well, it looks very epic, lush and romantic, and I squee'ed a little on the inside when Willoughby rescued Marianne ... But,"...from Andrew Davis, aclaimed writer of Pride & Prejudice" - how on earth did they miss that?!

Sense & Sensibility will screen in the USA on March 30 and April 6, 2008 and begin screening on New Year's Day in the UK.

"I Don't Believe in Mr Darcy"

She's only 18, and she describes herself as naive, but actress Imogen Poots, who's starring in the BBC's big Christmas costume drama about the life of Jane Austen, has no illusions about men.

Based on the life and letters of Jane Austen, the feature-length film focuses on the author's later years. Imogen plays Jane's niece Fanny, an ingénue who looks to her spinster aunt for guidance on matters of the heart.

According to producer Anne Pivcevic, "Imogen has that combination of naivety and consummate intelligence that made her perfect. As soon as we saw her, there was never any question that she was Fanny."

"The corsets virtually cut off your breasts. I can't imagine how women ever lived in those clothes," she grimaces. She wasn't an Austen devotee ('I'd read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility'), yet she quickly grasped the perennial Austen conundrum – should a girl marry for love or money?

In Miss Austen Regrets, the recurring advice Jane gives to Fanny is that she must marry for love.

"It's something we take for granted today – that we can earn our own living and marry whom we like," Imogen says. "But it was a harsh world then because women were reliant on men for their status."

I wonder if Imogen has fallen in love herself, but she is evasive on the subject of boyfriends. "I'm too young," she says, laughing. "I've done what Fanny does – met someone, thought, 'Oh my God, I'm in love!' and had those intense times where nothing else matters."

"I think that happens constantly when you're young because there will always be someone older and wiser to look up to," she adds. "But I don't believe in Mr Darcy. Men like him only exist in fiction."

I quoted excerpts of the interview relevant to Miss Austen Regrets, but I suggest you head over to the Dailymail and read the full article, because it's fantastic. So, do I believe in Mr Darcy? Hmmm, let's just say that I desperately will myself to, because yes, I'm convinced that there are real life "Darcy's" out there ... somewhere!! (far from here, I can tell you!)

Miss Austen regrets will air in the UK sometime in December and on February 3 in the USA.

Ref: "I don't believe in Darcy," says Imogen Poots, star of BBC's Miss Austen Regrets

Pic: Imogen Poots as Fanny from: Dailymail

Monday, 10 December 2007

The Two Lefroy Coats of Arms

Sorry for the long silence on my part, been busy here (many thanks to Michelle though, for her excellent updates on JA season!). Now, I just would like to give some other updates: the Radovici Project (i.e. reprinting Nadia Radovici’s book) is experiencing great progress. Thanks to you all, now we have at least 301 signatories from many countries that support the reprint of ‘A Youthful Love: Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy?’ Those who have friends, family, spouse that are interested in our project, please encourage them to sign our petition here.

Also, we’re having some good signs and hints about the publication plan for Nadia’s book. I cannot say anything more than this one ^_^ but trust me, Team Jane (particularly Rachel) is very very excited now! Oh, and Veronica as well!

Now, some of you might have noticed that Team Jane has been in contact with Edward Lefroy, a direct descendant of Tom Lefroy from his fifth son (the Very Reverend Jeffry Lefroy). A few weeks later, unexpectedly another young Lefroy contacted us. Ben Lefroy this time, a direct descendant of Tom Lefroy’s second younger brother Benjamin Lefroy. Ben pointed out a very interesting fact that I now explain a bit here: about two different Lefroy Coats of Arms: the Australian version and the UK version.

After cross-checking with Edward, we conclude that indeed there are two different Lefroy crests. I should have detected this fact months ago when I first posted an article about the Lefroys in Australia, courtesy of Linda’s tips. However, I failed to notice it, and hence I thank Ben for his sharp eyes.

Above is the original Lefroy crest I obtained from Edward. ‘The cross lines are white, the background green, and the wyverns’ red. The item in the middle is a dunce's cap. The wyverns should have no feet, as they are the heraldic device for a worm,’ as Edward explained to me.

Now, the above is the coat of arms of the Australian Lefroys I obtained from Cranfield’s ‘From Ireland to Western Australia’. Edward suggested that the lion was incorporated to honour the Bruce family. It will be very interesting to have an Australian Lefroy giving us input here on the origin of that lion inside the Lefroy crest.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

DVD Release Dates for Jane Austen Season - UK, USA and Spain

Fantastic news! Most of the Jane Austen Season DVDs are available to pre-order now. Release dates and links to further information below:

Miss Austen Regrets : 15 April, 2008 Educational Use Only (No idea why, more info as it comes to hand)

Region 1:

Northanger Abbey : 22 January, 2008
Mansfield Park : 29 January, 2008
Persuasion : 12 February, 2008 / 15 January, 2008, AMAZON
Sense & Sensibility : 1 March, 2008

Region 2 (Spanish, with dubbed track and subtitles):

Mansfield Park Available Now

Region 2:

Sense & Sensibility : 21 January, 2008

It's all happening with the Jane Austen Season! For more information about DVD Regions, visit DVD Codes

Pic 1: Northanger Abbey DVD cover from: WGBH
Pic 2: Sense & Sensibility DVD cover from: BBC
Pic 3: Mansfield Park Spanish DVD cover from: moviesdistribucion
Pic 4: Persuasion DVD cover from: Amazon

Olivia Williams Discusses Miss Austen Regrets

British actress Olivia Williams is no stranger to Jane Austen, having played Jane Fairfax in Emma 1996 and more recently reading a Persuasion audio book. She recently spoke to The Guardian about her role as Jane Austen in the upcoming Miss Austen Regrets:

"...Though she had 'written this summer off' due to the baby, it turned out to be a busy one, and after making two films, There for Me with her friend Paul Bettany and Flashbacks of a Fool with Daniel Craig, she was back doing more Jane Austen, this time a BBC film about the writer's later years. Miss Austen Regrets is a highly - maybe dangerously - speculative biopic, tracing a narrative out of the writer's possible romantic near-misses. It is a bleakly accomplished little film, quite unlike last spring's sprightly Becoming Jane, and Williams turns in a startling and muscular performance: spiky, self-assured and yet frequently stricken by the thought of what might have been.

'Mmm, it's very dangerous, isn't it?' Williams agrees, flinching a little. She hopes the Janeites who made such a fuss about Anne Hathaway's Austen in Becoming Jane are still lying down in their darkened rooms, recovering, so that this film will pass without comment. However, she is a bit of a Janeite herself, so her own reservations surface with very little encouragement. Having trained herself to be 'wily and flinty and mercenary' over the years, which is presumably one reason why she signed up to the project, she couldn't help being pained by it. She feels awkward about the intrusion into a modest and little-known life: 'My ideal script would be quotations from the letters, brilliantly knitted together into perfectly natural scenes. Anything that you put into her mouth has to be brilliant, written by somebody who was as brilliant as Jane Austen, and that's impossible, so to have her speaking in a way that is lazily colloquial to me was a mistake.'

So she has said lines that she feels uncomfortable with? 'Did I say lines I was uncomfortable with?' she muses, in a rather lawyerly fashion. 'There was so much debate that most of the time we shot scenes two ways, so I'm subject to the editors. I feel I've done what I can, I've fulfilled my contract, and I've quieted my own conscience.' She pauses. 'You know, I have this fear, because of my own academic background: I'm scared that my English teacher from school is going to ring me up and say, "She wouldn't have said that! How could you?" That keeps me awake at night,' she says gloomily. 'That and childcare.'"

I suggest you head over to The Guardian and read the rest of the interview - it's a fascinating and enlighting read. I love Olivia as an actor and I'm looking forward to her portrayal of Jane Austen!

Miss Austen regrets will air in the UK sometime in December and on February 3 in the USA.

Pic: Olivia Williams as Jane Austen from: BBC

TVO Canada Launches Jane Austen Website

TVO, the Ontario public educational media organisation which will air three new Jane Austen adaptations from from December 16 has launched a promotional Jane Austen website. It includes video clips, bios, photo galleries, and exlusive videos discussing aspects of the original novels. The site is lovely - and if you don't mind a few spoilers, pop over and have a look!

Pic: Northanger Abbey from: TVO's Jane Austen Website

Sense & Sensibility UK screening New Year's Day

Following my earlier post that Miss Austen Regrets & Sense & Sensibility will screen in the UK sometime in December, I am thrilled to share that the first episode of Sense & Sensibility will air on Tuesday, 1 January 2008, 9,10pm (21:10) on BBC One. What a fantastic way to begin the New Year!

We look forward to your thoughts and reviews, UK Jane lovers!

Pic: Elinor & Marianne from: Ladybluelake

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Lydia Bennet's story at!

I am very pleased to inform dear readers that our lovely friend Jane Odiwe has finished writing about Lizzy Bennet's sister, and now 'Lydia Bennet's Story: a Sequel to Pride & Prejudice' is available at,, and also Amazon France and Germany. sells Lydia's story atUSD 17.95 plus shipping, while sells it at GBP 9.99. I think it's a great price for us Lizzy fans who want to know how her brat sister is doing now, so be sure to log into Amazon now. And I hope Team Jane can review it soon and tell you what we think of it. Grand, I'm sure!

On the side note, our friend Maria L. from Sweden (a.k.a. Jakeline) has written two chapters of a 'Becoming Jane' fan-fiction titled 'I Remember Love'. It's about Tom Lefroy reminiscing his days with Jane Austen while he conversed with daughter Jane Lefroy. Lovely, you guys should check them out!

Pic: cover of 'Lydia Bennet's Story' by Jane Odiwe

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Jane Austen Book Club DVD & Blu-ray USA release date

The Jane Austen Book Club will be released on Region 1 DVD and Blu-ray on 5 February 2008, one week before the USA DVD/Blu-ray release of Becoming Jane.

An all star cast joins acclaimed director / writer Robin Swicord (writer - Little Women, Memoirs of a Geisha) in this critically acclaimed film Six Californians start a club to discuss the works of Jane Austen, only to find their relationships -- both old and new -begin to resemble 21st century versions of her novels. Stars Kathy Baker (Cider House Rules), Maria Bello (A History of Violence), Emily Blunt (Devil Wears Prada) Amy Brennemen (Juding Amy), Jimmy Smits (Star Wars Episodes 1-3).

Special features will include: Audio Commentary with Cast & Crew• Featurettes: "Behind-the-Scenes of The Jane Austen Book Club," "The Life of Jane Austen," "Walking the Red Carpet: Los Angeles Premiere," "The Book Club: Deconstructed"• Deleted Scenes


Pic: Jane Austen Book Club movie poster from: IMPAWARDS

Sense & Sensiblity & Miss Austen Regrets to air in the UK in December

Both Miss Austen Regrets and Sense & Sensibility will air on BBC One in the UK in the week of December 30, 2007. We will look out for definite screening dates, so watch this space!

Meanwhile, the first picture of Olivia Williams as Jane Austen in Miss Austen Regrets has just been released.

The BBC are featuring two interviews with Sense & Sensibility cast members. Here is an excerpt from Charity Wakefield's interview:

Wakefield's musical grounding in the piano and her trained soprano singing voice meant that she was able to learn the advanced pieces that the music-loving Marianne performs.

"In order to make sure that I knew what I was doing, I bought myself a keyboard and practised the pieces a lot," says the accomplished actress. "It's not me playing on the soundtrack but I wanted to be familiar with the music in the scene. And I wanted to give the camera crew the freedom to shoot me from a variety of angles."

"While we were filming, we had almost constant rain storms," says Wakefield. "It was a bit of an obstacle, really. Everybody, by the end of the day, was absolutely soaked and I had very frizzy hair. There is a great wet-shirt scene, where Dan Stevens, who plays Edward Ferrars, is chopping logs in the rain. He does look rather dashing!"

Ah, the new wet-shirt scene, curtesy of Andrew Davis!

And from David Morrissey's interview:

According to Morrissey, Davies’s adaptation is very true to Austen’s novel. "Davies is very respectful of Austen because he’s done such great adaptations in the past," he says.

"It’s a full adaptation of the novel," he says. "Even though I am a great fan of the film, I thought that it concentrated on the two girls and that it was a wonderful piece of work, but I think the TV adaptation is able to concentrate on the whole breadth of characters in the book."

Pic 1: Olivia Williams as Jane Austen from: BBC
Pic 2: Charity Wakefield as Marianne Dashwood from: BBC
Pic 3: David Morrissey as Brandon from: BBC

Lady Susan Adaptation in the Pipeline for the BBC?

I can't quite believe it, but it looks like a TV adaptation of Jane Austen's novella Lady Susan may become reality!

According to her CV, award-winning playright Lucy Prebble is currently working on the script:

"She is also adapting Jane Austen's epistolary novella LADY SUSAN for Celador Films and BBC 4."

Lady Susan, Jane Austen's one full novel that was not published during her lifetime, seems to have been written during the period 1793-4. It is the only novel that Austen wrote in an epistolary (letter) form, although the first version of Sense and Sensibility ("Elinor and Marianne") was also letter-based. The fashion for epistolary novels had passed by the time Austen began to see her work published in 1811, so it is possible that she left Lady Susan unpublished for this reason (her existing fair copy was written in 1805 or later). As well as being in an unusual format for Austen, the book is also of interest because it is her only extended literary excursion into the world of aristocratic affairs. The letters - sent mainly by Mrs Vernon, her mother Lady de Courcy, Lady Susan and her friend Mrs Johnson - tell the tale of the eponymous Lady, a singularly unpleasant character whose beauty allows her to act in extremely selfish ways. A devious but attractive widow, she cruelly pushes her daughter towards an inappropriate marriage with a man she detests, and simultaneously contrives to ensnare her sister-in-law's brother romantically and keep another lover's attention. Lady Susan is a remarkable character because she is utterly without redeeming qualities, and even when her machinations lead to disastrous results we are hard pushed to sympathise. It has been suggested that she may be a veiled portrait of Mrs. Craven, a cruel society woman known to the Austen family. Her character seems not to have been wasted and to have contributed eventually to that of Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park. From Bibliomania

Pic: Lady Susan book cover from: Amazon

Nine New Sense & Sensibility '08 Publicity Stills!

I come bearing gifts! Following the announcements of the UK and the USA screening dates, I stumbled across nine new publicity stills from the production! Sense & Sensibility 1996 holds a very special (probably unshakable) place in my heart, but this new production looks fantastic, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

Once again, magnificent hi-resolution copies of these pictures are available at LadyBlueLake.

1. Charity Wakefield as Marianne and Dominic Cooper as Willoughby 2. Hattie Morahan as Elinor, Charity Wakefield as Marianne and Janet McTeer as Mrs. Dashwood 3. Hattie Morahan as Elinor Dashwood 4. Dominic Cooper as Willoughby 5 & 6. David Morrissey as Colonel Brandon 7. Dan Stevens as Edward Ferrars 8. Charity Wakefield as Marianne Dashwood 9. Hattie Morahan as Elinor Dashwood and Dan Stevens as Edward Ferrars

All images from: LadyBlueLake

Monday, 26 November 2007

Sense & Sensibility Mini-series Hits North American Screens March 2008

Andrew Davis's long-awaited adaptation of Sense and Sensibility will screen in North America over two 90 minute episodes on March 30 and April 6, 2008. The mini-series will close the three month PBS extravaganza "Sundays with Jane" which will bring together all six of Jane Austen's novels on the small screen for the first time as a complete collection.

From the Masterpiece Theatre Press Release

Hattie Morahan (The Golden Compass) plays levelheaded Elinor Dashwood and Charity Wakefield (Jane Eyre) is her impulsive sister Marianne. Though poor, they attract a trio of very promising gentlemen: soon-to-be wealthy Edward Ferrars (Dan Stevens, The Line of Beauty), heroic Colonel Brandon (David Morrissey, Meadowlands and State of Play), and Byronic John Willoughby (Dominic Cooper, The History Boys).

Touted as a "bold, original, authentic and powerful" and, "romantic, witty and stylish" mini-series, Sense and Sensibility 2008 is one to watch out for. Davis, famous for ramping up the eroticism in period pieces, has described his adaptation as a "sort of rural Sex and the City," and he promises to set hearts racing with a new version of the memorable "wet shirt scene" made famous by Colin Firth in Pride & Prejudice 1995.

In true Davis-style, he has maximised Austen's back story:

'I want to do justice to the back story, the one about Willoughby in particular, which is quite interesting and steamy stuff like a lot of underage sex that goes on and is just talked about. I want to put it on the screen.'

The music front looks promising - Benjamin Britten's godson Martin Phipps has composed the score, following his earlier critical success with the BBC's North and South and Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen . He also scored Persuasion 2007.

I live in New Zealand, and three of the new ITV adaptations have already screened, but I am hanging out for Sense and Sensibility. I can'twait! Andrew Davis is responsible for my two favourite Austen adaptations: Pride & Prejudice & Emma, and I have every faith that he will deliver with his adaptation of Sense & Sensibility.

I have a huge respect for Andrew Davis because I believe he stands out as a faithful interpreter of both spirit and content. Much is made of his “sexing up” the classics, and whenever I read the latest screaming headlines, I chuckle to myself. We live in a generation where entertainment is saturated with sex simply to sell it. Davis isn’t guilty of this ‘crime’. Yes, the media is trumpeting a sexed-up version of Sense & Sensibility, but look what they wrote about the beloved Pride and Prejudice ’95 prior to its release!

“Andrew had been asked in an interview what he was currently writing. He mentioned Pride and Prejudice and, in the same sentence, the words ‘sex and money’. The tabloid newspapers needed no further encouragement. ‘SEX ROMP JANE AUSTEN’ hit the headlines. This new version, they confidently asserted, would have full-frontal nudity and daring sex scenes. The broadsheets picked up the story. We even featured in the cartoon on the front page of The Guardian. Jane Austen experts were consulted and were quick to condemn this ‘spiced-up’ version. No one, of course, bothered to telephone me to check if the story was accurate. It wasn’t. No doubt we made a mistake when we described the novel as sexy; what we meant, of course, was that Darcy staring at Elizabeth across a room is exciting, that Darcy and Elizabeth touching hands the first time they dance is erotic.’

From The Making of Pride & Prejudice

2008 is shaping up to be an exquisite year for Austen lovers!

High resolution copies of all of the above Sense & Sensibility production stills are available from: LadyBlueLake

All images from: LadyBlueLake


Austen's Men get a Bit Nasty
Andrew Davis: Bodice Ripper

Martin Phipps

"Sunday's with Jane" Premiering in the United States January 2008


Premieres January 13, 2008 on PBS

How many ways can a young woman find true love amid the balls, dinner parties, carriage rides, and other picturesque occasions to meet the opposite sex in turn-of-the-19th-century England? There are six transcendently satisfying scenarios, as told in a half-dozen enchanting novels by Jane Austen—one of the most beloved writers in all of literature.

For the first time on television, Austen fans can now sit down to a weekly feast of all of her immortal plots, presented by Masterpiece Theatre, over the course of four months in beautifully acted, lavishly set, and gorgeously costumed adaptations. As a bonus, viewers will be treated to a new drama, Miss Austen Regrets, based on Austen’s own bittersweet love life.

Airing Sundays at 9pm ET, starting January 13, 2008, “The Complete Jane Austen” features all-new productions of Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, and Sense and Sensibility. The lineup also includes the acclaimed Emma starring Kate Beckinsale, and the Emmy award-winning Pride and Prejudice that made Colin Firth a drop-dead leading man.

Four of the titles—Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice—were adapted by celebrated screenwriter Andrew Davies, whose Bleak House on Masterpiece Theatre was one of the most highly praised television dramas of 2006.

The Austen extravaganza will include:

Persuasion (90 minutes) January 13

Sally Hawkins (Little Britain) appears as Anne Elliot, destined for spinsterhood at age 27 after being persuaded eight years earlier to refuse the proposal of dashing Captain Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones, Casanova). Then chance brings them together again, but now he is now rich and free to play the field among eligible young beauties. Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) co-stars as Anne’s spendthrift father. Adapted by Simon Burke. Directed by Adrian Shergold. Executive Producer Murray Ferguson. Executive Producer for WGBH, Rebecca Eaton. Produced by David Snodin. A Clerkenwell Films production for ITV in association with WGBH/Boston.

Northanger Abbey (90 minutes) January 20

In Austen’s gentle parody of gothic fiction, Felicity Jones (Meadowlands) plays romance addict Catherine Morland. Invited to a medieval country house that appeals to her most -more- lurid fantasies, she forms a close friendship with the younger son on the estate, Henry Tilney (JJ Feild, The Secret Life of Mrs. Beeton), but their budding romance is mysteriously cut short. Adapted by Andrew Davies. Directed by Jon Jones. Executive Producers Andy Harries, Charles Elton. Executive Producer for WGBH, Rebecca Eaton. Produced by Keith Thompson. A Co-Production of Granada and WGBH/Boston

Mansfield Park (90 minutes) January 27

In one of Austen’s most complex plots, Billie Piper (Doctor Who, The Ruby in the Smoke) stars as Fanny Price, who goes to live with prosperous relatives at Mansfield Park. Fanny navigates a labyrinth of intrigues and affairs among the occupants of the house, while her cousin Edmund Bertram (Blake Ritson, Inspector Lynley Mysteries) remains her stalwart confidant. Also starring Jemma Redgrave (Bramwell) as Fanny’s observant aunt. Adapted by Maggie Wadey. Directed by Iain B. MacDonald. Executive Producers George Faber, Charles Pattinson. Executive Producer for WGBH, Rebecca Eaton. Produced by Suzan Harrison. A Co-Production of Company Productions and WGBH/Boston

Miss Austen Regrets (90 minutes) February 3

Jane Austen wrote about romance and courtship from personal experience, so it is hard to believe that she never married. This biopic dramatizes Austen’s lost loves: Harris Bigg, whose proposal she accepted and then rejected; Edward Brydges, whom she also refused; the tongue-tied vicar she teased mercilessly; and the young surgeon who arrived on the scene too late to steal her heart. Starring Olivia Williams (The Sixth Sense), Greta Scacchi (The Player) and Hugh Bonneville (Notting Hill). Written by Gwyneth Hughes. Directed by Jeremy Lovering. Executive Producer Laura Mackie. Executive Producer for WGBH, Rebecca Eaton. Produced by Anne Pivcevic. A BBC and WGBH/Boston Co-Production

Pride and Prejudice (three two-hour episodes) February 10 – 24

Colin Firth (Bridget Jones’s Diary) is Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle (The Coast of Utopia) is Elizabeth Bennet in the definitive adaptation of the most-loved of all Austen novels. With five daughters, no sons, and an entailed estate, the elder Bennets are in dire straits to arrange advantageous marriages. Wedding bells ring three times, but the path to true love is tortuous indeed. Adapted by Andrew Davies. Directed by Simon Langton. Executive Producer Michael Wearing. Produced by Sue Birtwistle. A Production of BBC Television and BBC Worldwide Americas, Inc. in association with A&E Television Networks. The Masterpiece Theatre broadcast of Pride and Prejudice is the first in the U.S. other than on A&E Television Networks.

Emma (107 minutes) March 23

The New York Times praised this production as “smart and spirited…understated and sly.” Kate Beckinsale (The Aviator) stars in the title role as the tireless matchmaker who professes no interest in matrimony for herself, only for her orphaned protégée, Harriet Smith (Samantha Morton, Longford). Still, Emma does feel a certain twinge for Frank Churchill (Raymond Coulthard, He Knew He Was Right) and a brotherly regard for Mr. Knightley (Mark Strong, Prime Suspect 6). Adapted by Andrew Davies. Directed by Diarmuid Lawrence. Executive Producers Delia Fine, Simon Lewis. Produced by Sue Birtwistle. Produced by United Film and Television Productions in association with Chestermead Ltd and A&E Networks. Originally broadcast in February 1997.

Sense and Sensibility (two 90 minute episodes) March 30- April 6

Hattie Morahan (The Golden Compass) plays levelheaded Elinor Dashwood and Charity Wakefield (Jane Eyre) is her impulsive sister Marianne. Though poor, they attract a trio of very promising gentlemen: soon-to-be wealthy Edward Ferrars (Dan Stevens, The Line of Beauty), heroic Colonel Brandon (David Morrissey, Meadowlands and State of Play), and Byronic John Willoughby (Dominic Cooper, The History Boys). Adapted by Andrew Davies. Directed by John Alexander. Produced by Anne Pivcevic. Executive Producer for WGBH, Rebecca Eaton. A BBC and WGBH/Boston Co-Production

What a fantastic line-up for American fans! I am slightly jealous! This Press Release follows the anouncement that The Jane Austen Season will screen in Canada in December 2007.

Pic 1: Persuasion from: royalcrescentbath
Pic 2: Northanger Abbey from: JASNA
Pic 3: Mansfield Park from: The Guardian
Pic 4: Olivia Williams from: IMDB
Pic 5: Pride & Prejudice from: Images
Pic 6: Emma from: Selu
Pic 7: Sense & Sensibility from: LadyBlueLake

Jane Austen Season in New Zealand

The new ITV productions of Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion screened here in New Zealand during July. I was so excited that we didn’t have a long frustrating wait, but rest assured, North American Jane lovers, the wait will be worth it in the end for you are in for a big treat next year with “Sunday’s with Jane”. (I love the title, and repeat it often. Sunday’s with Jane, how lovely and homey, conjuring up images of a cosy wood fire and friends)

Here are my short reviews of the new adaptations; beware, they are marginally spoilerific. :)


By some miracle I still can’t fully understand, I went into the ITV Jane Austen Season completely blind, having ignored and resisted all Internet spoilers. Yes, even the publicity stills!

Mansfield Park 2007 was a complete surprise, and sadly, not a pleasant one. Personally, I didn’t like the script, or the casting.

When I watch adaptations I don’t have any problems with minor deviations from the book, sometimes it’s part of the writer’s job as they conform to various restrictions, but I don’t like it when the spirit of the adaptation is not faithful to the original work. Sadly, ITV’s Mansfield Park didn’t work for me.


I was really looking forward to seeing a new version of Jane Austen's least adapted novel, Northanger Abbey. Andrew Davis’s interpretation was a revelation.

In a rare case of perfect timing, I had just finished re-reading the novel the day that the adaptation aired. I loved it. As a whole the interpretation was youthful and charming, and the casting was excellent. Felicity Jones was gorgeous as Catherine, with all her wondrous enthusiasm and naivety. JJ Feild was a very handsome leading man, and charming! He completely captured Henry Tilney’s natural ease and charisma. The chemistry between the pair was riveting. They shared a connection that was so strong it was almost tangible. Beautiful.

The supporting cast were well-rounded and well-cast, and the locations were fantastic. I really felt the wonder and excitement of Catherine’s journey as she experienced new worlds and relationships for the first time.

I have always enjoyed Andrew Davis’ work, and I think he did himself proud with his interpretation of Northanger Abbey. It was entertaining, and at the same time a unique combination of lightness and darkness, frivolousness and seriousness, sensuality and innocence. Most importantly it was faithful to the spirit of the original novel.

I was amused and entertained, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film that was so drenched in charm. Two thumbs up; I loved it.


I was first introduced to Jane Austen at the tender age of twelve. I remember ripping through the novels at a ferocious rate, re-reading my favourites Pride and Prejudice and Emma several times before moving on what I considered (at the time) the ‘heavier stuff’. Before I reached Persuasion I hit a snag – I watched an adaptation that involved hours and hours and hours of walking. To my juvenile brain it encompassed absolutely nothing else but walking. I am embarrassed and amused to admit that it put me off reading the magnificent novel for at least a couple of years. I just couldn’t shake the walking.

I am pleased to report that while the new Persuasion does feature some frenzied spats of running (!), there was not a single dull walk in sight.

I adored this adaptation. Rupert Penry-Jones was magnificent as Captain Wentworth, and I cannot praise Sally Hawkins’ Anne Elliot enough. Their chemistry was magnetic, and their intimacy was slowly reborn from their place of torturous estrangement. It was a joy to watch. Wentworth’s bitterness melted away as he forgave, and was forced to acknowledge Anne’s sweetness and superiority of character.

The production was steeped in somberness. I felt the pain of the characters; Anne’s loneliness and regret, and Wentworth’s struggle to forgive the years of lost love.

The supporting cast were brilliant (although I didn’t enjoy Amanda Hale’s Mary Musgrove) and the locations were incredible! Lyme was gorgeous. I loved the contrast and symbolism of the rugged wildness compared to the refined gentility of everyday life.

My main gripe with this production was the placement of the famous “constancy” discussion between Anne and Captain Harville. For the life of me I cannot understand WHY the writers moved this crucial plot point to the middle of the story, and then, even better, left it unheard by Wentworth! Yes, unheard! All pretense at maturity fled during this scene and I was reduced to throwing popcorn at the screen. I couldn’t believe it!

In summary, Persuasion 2007 is a tragic, moving, and wondrous production - highly recommended to all. And if you haven’t done it already – read the book!

Pic 1: ITV Jane Austen Season from:
Pic 2: Billie Piper as Fanny Price from: manchestereveningnews
Pic 3: Blake Ritson as Edmund Bertram from: bootsandbonnets
Pic 4: Northanger Abbey still from: FelicityFix
Pic 5: Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland from:
Pic 6: Persuasion collage from:
Pic 7: Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot from: manchestereveningnews
Pic 8: Rupert Penry-Jones as Wentworth from: bootsandbonnets

Sunday, 25 November 2007

ITV Jane Austen Dramas to Premier in Canada in December

Here's some great news for our Candian friends - the screening dates have been released for the three new ITV adaptations of Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion!

Northanger Abbey – Sunday December 16, 2007 at 9 pm
Mansfield Park – Sunday December 23, 2007 at 9 pm
Persuasion – Sunday December 30, 2007 at 9 pm

Jane Austen never seems to go out of style attracting new generations of fans who find relevance in her tales of romance and young heroines navigating their way through the trappings of society. In December TVO presents three new dramas fashioned for a contemporary audience that capture the timelessness of Jane Austen's works. These splendidly crafted films will only add to the Jane addiction for fans and attract new admirers in a banner year that also saw the release of the Hollywood feature films The Jane Austen Book Club (2007) and Becoming Jane (2007).

On December 16, Felicity Jones stars in Northanger Abbey as Austen's simple but beautiful Catherine Morland who's forced to choose between love and money when she's introduced into the social-climbing world of Bath society. Venerable stage and screen actress Geraldine James is the voice of Jane Austen.

On December 23, Mansfield Park tells the tale of a poor relation overcoming her station in life to achieve her dreams. The cast includes some of Britain's brightest young stars, including Billie Piper (Dr. Who), Michelle Ryan (Bionic Woman), Hayley Atwell (Cassandra's Dream), and James D'Arcy (Master and Commander).

On December 30, Sally Hawkins (Fingersmith) and Rupert Penry-Jones (Spooks) are Austen's star-crossed sweethearts in director Anthony Shergold's Persuasion.

Pic 1: Mansfield Park 2007 Publicity Still from Billie-Online
Pic 2: Felicity Jones and JJ Feild from: JASNA
Pic 3: Billie Piper and Blake Ritson from: Billie-Online
Pic 4: Sally Hawkins in Persuasion from: