Stars of Sense and Sensibility
Austen drama filmed in Devon
By Laura Joint
The scenery of North Devon stars in the BBC's adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, being shown in the New Year.
The North Devon coastline takes centre stage in the BBC's lavish adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.
The three-part drama, being broadcast in the New Year, was largely filmed on the Hartland Abbey estate - which is in the North Devon area of outstanding natural beauty.
Much of the action takes place at a 15th century cottage on the estate, which is owned by Sir Hugh and Lady Angela Stucley.
The cottage is available for rent, and the screening of the first episode on New Year's Day 2008 led to a surge of interest.
Sir Hugh Stucley said: "The phone has been ringing since the first programme went out, and we have had inquiries about the cottage.
"During the filming, the weather was maddening - it rained all the time. But Hartland has its moods, and every mood is different - and fun, I think.
The cottage was transformed by the BBC crew
"It looks beautiful when it's fine, and dramatic when it's stormy."
Sense and Sensibility is dramatised by Andrew Davies - who was also behind the BBC's hugely successful adaptation of another Austen classic, Pride and Prejudice.
For three weeks in May 2007, the stars of the show descended on Hartland Abbey for the location shots to be filmed.
The cast includes Janet McTeer as Mrs Dashwood, Charity Wakefield as Marianne, David Morrissey as Colonel Brandon, Dan Stevens as Edward Ferrars, Hattie Morahan as Elinor, and Dominic Cooper as Willoughby.
Lady Stucley said: "They were absolutely lovely - the young men were very handsome!"
The cottage was chosen to be the home of the Dashwood ladies after BBC location manager Rupert Bray contacted South West Screen, which champions the region in the TV and film industry.
"It was great that they chose North Devon," said Lady Stucley. "North Devon has such a lovely coastline.
Hattie Morahan and Dan Stevens
"The weather was lovely for the first two weeks, when all the preparations took place and then as soon as they started filing, it tipped down - and it never stopped!
"But they were amazing. They just carried on.
"They had brought a rain machine with them, which I thought was a bad omen."
The cottage is right beside the sea, with a beautiful green valley behind it.
Before filming, the BBC team got it to look exactly how they wanted: "It was amazing. They transformed the cottage into something beautiful.
"They gave it a porch, shutters, and dormer windows. I wanted to keep it like that!".
Coincidentally, Hattie Morahan's father - well known film director Christopher Morahan - spent a year at Hartland Abbey when he was evacuated there with Highgate Junior School during the war.
Lady Stucland explained: "She said it was extraordinary to think her father was here all those years before."
Hartland Abbey was the last monastery in the country to be dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539, when it was given by the King to Lady Stucland's ancestors - and it has remained in their ownership ever since.
This is the second time Devon has been used for location filming for Sense and Sensibility. The 1996 movie was filmed at Saltram House near Plymouth.
last updated: 01/04/2008 at 10:46
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