The Brontes and the BBC

Apparently, the BBC are planning a shift in their 'bonnet dramas' to tales by the Bronte sisters.

So Austen is overdone? (I happen to agree) but do they honestly not think that we'll watch anything else if it doesn't have the name Austen or Dickens or Bronte attached to it?! I just read this article in The Times Online referred to by Austenprose.

In 1847 a pair of extraordinary novels appeared two months apart, apparently written by brothers. Jane Eyre proved an immediate success while Wuthering Heights was sneered at as “wild, confused, disjointed and improbable”. Today both are among the classics of English literature.

Next year the stories are to go head to head once more, in cinemas, more than 160 years after Charlotte and Emily Brontë published them under the pseudonyms Currer and Ellis Bell.

From same article, "Christine Langan, the head of BBC Films, acknowledged that revisiting classics is a fraught business. “There will be people saying, ‘Why the hell are they doing that all over again?’.” But the film industry is an uncertain place at the best of times and more than ever the search is on for stories with which audiences feel a familiar connection."

I can understand that producers have limited options based on the marketability of their films and I've been disappointed to hear of promising projects that have been stalled due to lack of funds. But yes, I would say I'm one of those who would say, ‘Why the hell are they doing that all over again?!’ There are countless other great books and authors who are treasured by many and I'm sure would find a willing audience! (Here I would refer back to my Open Letter to the BBC where I received great suggestions from many of books that I have yet to discover!) And if the BBC wants to stick to the well-known authors, then why not take on one of their lesser known works?? What about Bronte's Villette? Gaskell's Mary Barton? Austen's Watsons? or anything by Dickens besides the ones remade countless times?! Or what about a biopic about the Brontes themselves?

I'm just sayin'...


  1. I thought the recent adaptations of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were fine. I'm not sure why they felt the need to redo them when they could be remaking Wilkie Collins or Hardy's Return of the Native. Or how about some Henry James? The Aspern Papers is crying out to be made into a film.

  2. I recently read and watched Wuthering Heights for my book club and I can honestly say I never plan to watch or read it again. They can skip a new version of that in my opinion.

    I'd love to see some adaptation of other works and a biopic of the Brontes is a great idea.

  3. They are ONLY doing those two novels, AGAIN?! I ADORE both books, but there are PLENTY of other works to adapt. I have ALWAYS wanted to see Vilette on screen!!

  4. @ Elizabeth, I agree that the BBC needs to spread their love to other authors!

    @Lisa, I'm not a fan of WH either.

    @RandHrShipper1, I just checked my Upcoming Films list and there are other projects that the BBC will be doing but the article in the Times was only mentioning the Brontes. I guess I should give the BBC credit for their other projects too!

  5. Although I'm not a fan of Wuthering Heights, I did like the modern adaptation of it (Sparkhouse) with Richard Armitage.
    Maybe they should try more adaptations, just to liven things up!
    I was surprised to actually enjoy the Bollywood Pride and Prejudice rip-off called "Bride and Prejudice"!
    Some stories are so good, you can't help wanting to see (or hear or read) them over and over again...but some creative licence is not a bad thing either! Afterall as they say, immitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
    But, of course I agree they should pick some of the lesser known classics for a change!

  6. The thing that bothers me the most about reamaking Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights is that they've already been redone so recently! To me it would be like refilming Avatar in 3-5 years...seems silly! I, too, would love to see Villette! I have also recently read Anna and the King of Siam and would love to see a miniseries based on the book...not the Hollywood version in which Anna falls in love with such a cruel and despotic tyrant (Anna's own description!) Also would love to see Dickens' Dombey and Son. I adore the Brontes, however, I just don't need or want to see either of these two again for quite a long time! Thanks for the chance to speak my mind...I hope BBC will listen!

  7. @Phylly, you were surprised that you liked Bride & Prejudice and I was surprised that I didn't. I eagerly anticipated the film that combined Bollywood, my passion at the time, with Austen but it didn't meet my expectations. Having said that, I think I'd enjoy it much more the second time around.

    @Debbie, Andrew Davies was adapting Dombey and Son before the BBC halted the project. I was looking forward to a different adaptation of Dickens for a change! A miniseries of Anna would be good to see! Have you seen the film with Jodie Foster?

  8. Until we have an adaptation of Lady Susan, Sanditon, and a decent Mansfield Park, we cannot say that Austen is "done."

    I think the BBC is hedging their bets, which is a sure fire why to miss the next big thing. How about a little gumption?

  9. Jane, I'm shocked that they haven't adapted one of Austen's lesser known novels. I would have thought that to be a no-brainer! They could bank on the safety of Austen's name but yes, I would like to see more gumption and thinking outside the box! I like a little variety! :)

  10. I agree with you. I really don't see why we need so many remakes.

    It would be a great idea for the BBC to tackle classics by authors other than JA and the Brontes and introduce us to them.

    Why was there a new version of 'A Room With A View', for example? The film was wonderful!

  11. I think a series of 'Katherine' by Anya Seton is a great idea. Any medieval topics would be good. What about Simon de Montfort's story?

  12. Just to tell you I loved your interview at Fly High!

  13. Viola, there are countless novels that they could do, aren't there? I think that's what makes it so frustrating for those of us who would love to see our favourite books adapted to screen!

    Luciana, Thanks!! I just wish I had the time to read everyone's blogs :(

  14. I'm disappointed to hear that BBC halted Andrew Davies doing Dombey and Son. It's one of my favorites by Dickens and you can always count on Davies to do a good job!
    I did watch the Anna film with Jodie Foster...but it has been so many years that I think I'll have to watch it again! I so love watching good films again and again! Films I've re-watched lately are "The Scarlet Pimpernel", "Little Dorrit", and "Lark Rise To Candleford" (seasons 1&2)...oh, and also "I Capture the Castle". I have quite a collection of period films and am planning on buying "The Young Victoria" the next time I go to the store! I love your blog!

  15. I'd love to see them do something different, but to be honest am quite glad they are making any classic adaptations at all, since they seem to have cancelled so many. If these are a big success, maybe it will tempt them to go ahead with some of the other projects we all wanted to see, like Davies' new versions of 'Dombey and Son' and 'The Pallisers'! Well, I can hope, anyway.:)

  16. Anon,
    Thanks!! Glad you like it! And I love the films you mentioned (Pimpernel, Candleford, etc) - ones that I've been meaning to watch for the first time!

    You're right! The fact that the BBC is producing more bonnet dramas despite us hearing that they were scaling back is a good thing!

  17. There's a new version of Henry James' The Aspern Papers that keeps the storyline but changes the context by setting it in a cocao hacienda in Venezuela instead of the original setting of a palazzo in Venice. For all its inventiveness, it's very faithful to the story. For now you can only see the trailer:



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