A collection of six BBC dramatisations of Jane Austen classics, produced from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s. Adapted by Andrew Davies after his success with his work on George Elliot’s Middlemarch for television, Pride and Prejudice was the BBC’s flagship drama in the schedule for autumn 1995. The story revolves around the arrival of the wealthy Mr Darcy (Colin Firth) and party and the excitement he causes amongst the five daughters of the Bennett family. The other superb productions featured are Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park and Emma.
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In ‘Persuasion’ (1995), Anne Elliott (Amanda Root) has spent years regretting her rejection of Captain Wentworth’s (Ciaran Hinds) proposal of marriage. When he returns from sea they meet, but instead of finding romance are kept apart through a series of misunderstandings. Anne is being pursued by her cousin, Mr Elliott (Samuel West), while Captain Wentworth is now regarded as a very eligible bachelor.
‘Northanger Abbey’ (1986) stars Peter Firth and Robert Hardy. The story follows the adventures of Catherine Moorland (Katharine Schlesinger), who is invited by the romantic Henry Tilney to stay at the Abbey – and finds it to be shrouded in mystery and intrigue. In ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1980), sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood (Irene Richard and Tracey Childs) lose their family fortune to spiteful relatives, and are forced to seek out suitable husbands in order to survive. While Marianne falls for the heartless John Willoughby (Peter Woodward), Elinor finds herself attracted to Edward Ferrars (Bosco Hogan) – who is himself betrothed to Lucy Steele (Julia Chambers).
In ‘Mansfield Park’ (1983), Fanny Price (Sylvestra Le Touzel) struggles to adjust to her new aristocratic lifestyle when she is sent by her debt-ridden mother to live with her rich aunt and cousins. Her ‘superior’ relatives constantly ignore her, and only her cousin Edmund (Nicholas Farrell) shows Fanny any interest. However, Fanny’s charm and wit eventually win her many potential suitors, and before long she has to decide whether she wishes to wed for love or for status.
Doran Godwin stars in ‘Emma’ (1972), which tells the story of the eponymous heroine whose chief joy in life is organising the lives of the friends with whom she surrounds herself. She is soon the apple of Mr Knightly (John Carson)’s eye, an older family friend who has watched her grow and advised her on many things in life.