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Monday, April 6

Emma casting news for BBC One’s new four hour miniseries of Jane Austen’s masterpiece

British actress Romola Garai (Atonement, Daniel Deronda) will star as the "handsome, clever and rich" Emma Woodhouse in BBC One’s new production of Jane Austen’s comedic masterpiece Emma. The four hour miniseries adapted by Sandy Welch will be filmed on location in Kent and Surry and will air in the UK next autumn. There is a good chance that it will be picked up by PBS for its Masterpiece Classic season next winter, so keep your fingers crossed.

Also staring will be Jonny Lee Miller (Byron, Eli Stone, Trainspotting) as Emma’s reproachful neighbor Mr. Knightley, Michael Gambon (Cranford, Gosford Park) as our favorite valetudinarian Mr. Woodhouse, Tamsin Greig (The Diary Of Anne Frank, Green Wing) as the ever chatty Miss Bates, Jodhi May (The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard, Aristocrats) as Emma’s former governess Miss Taylor who marries Mr. Weston played by Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet, White Teeth, My Dad's The Prime Minister).

No word yet on their choice of a Jane Fairfax or Frank Churchill, two key characters in the novel. Personally, their choice of casting of Harriet Smith will make or break this production for me, so I am all anticipation.

This new adaptation will be the first full length miniseries since the 1972 BBC production staring Doran Godwin as Emma Woodhouse and John Carson as her Mr. Knightley. Interestingly, it is the last of Jane Austen’s six major novels to be filmed since the turn of the century, and appears from its production values, that the last one is certainly not the least.

Emma will be directed by Jim O'Hanlon, produced by George Ormond and executive produced by Phillippa Giles.

Cheers, Laurel Ann, Austenprose


Ruth said...

Thank you so much for posting this news! To be honest I wasn't really excited about the prospect of another film version of Emma, but I really like Romola Garai and think she'll do a good job with the role. And I'm very excited to learn that Jonny Lee Miller will play Mr. Knightley! *swoons* :)

ap said...

Four hours! Hurray!

Kaye Dacus said...

Emma is my least favorite of the six major novels, so it's hard for me to generate a lot of enthusiasm for a new production of it. I'd kind of hoped for a more dynamic/magnetic actor for Mr. Knightley, which would be more of a pull for me to become more excited about it. But it sounds like they're trying to make sure this one has the high-level of production that JA fans expect in the adaptations, which was hit-or-miss in some of the other recent adaptations.

Laurel Ann said...

Kaye, thanks for dropping by. Even though we agree on many major Austen issues (David Rintoul), I am surprised that Emma is your least favorite of her novels. I like its subtly, and Emma going from snob to snubbed. I think the novel shows off Austen brilliance at characterization, even if we all can not entirely relate to handsome, clever and rich Emma Woodhouse. I adore Harriet Smith as I have oozed about before, and well Mr. Knightley, I'd like a bossy neighbor like him instead of the, um, those that are mine now any day.

I am looking forward to this production more than any other new Austen adaptation in years. And, it may be our last for eons. So it just better be good. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I love "Emma" and I love to watch Romola Garai! You're right about how important the choice of Harriet Smith's actress is, though. I hope they do a good job.

nigel said...

I think Mr Knightly is a good role model for all men (insert look of hopeful concern) but I often wonder if Austen named this character for its ironic title?

Although Kiera the actress has the same last name so it may be a common English surname?

Merinitta said...

Thank you for posting on this.

Nigel's comment about Knightley's name being potentially ironic is intriguing. That interpretation could make me less apprehensive about Johnny Lee Miller in the role. I like him as an actor, but I cannot quite imagine him as Knightley - who always seemed so upright (even to the point of being a tad too patronizing).

Emma is one of my favorite, so I'm very excited about this adaptation.

Kaye Dacus said...

Laurel Ann--
Emma is my least favorite of the novels because the main character is my least favorite of the characters she developed. At least when it comes to me, Jane was right when she said she was creating a heroine only she would like. It's never good when the reader (I) believes the hero is making a mistake by falling in love with the heroine, that he's too good for her. :-/

Lynn said...

What glorious news ! Another Emma is just dandy with me !

"Emma" is populated with large group of the most fun, annoying and interesting characters...( Harriet is a great fav with me too ) without her as the central character, the story has no mortar. If Emma were a perfect, sweet and kind to everyone throughout the book, what would be Austen's point in writing it ? The evolution of her character learning, growing and changing is what is so delightful about the book !

Also, Mr. Knightley held Emma when she was a baby and loved her his whole life and waited for her to come of age so he could marry her, even though it is intimated that Frank Churchill was destined for Emma by everyone else.

I love a man who sticks to his goal, loves her in spite of her faults and sweeps the heroine off her feet at the end with a surprisingly brief and to the point proposal...what could be better ???

becca said...

Knightley. Wickham. Sometimes I think Jane was just telling it like it was.

sarahanne said...

Yeah! Another adaptation. Emma can be frustrating but also very lovable. Can't wait to see it.

Lili said...

I can't wait for this one.. i adore Emma!!! :D

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

Anonymous said...





phastings said...

I'm very excited! I love the costume pictured. Fingers crossed!