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24 September 2014

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Behind The Scenes Production Diary
By Diederick Santer, Jane Eyre Producer

Georgie Henley as Young Jane, in a scene from the first episode

Week 0: 27th February to 5th March 2006

The read-through is in London, upstairs at the Bloomsbury Baptist Church on Shaftesbury Avenue. I always try to have read-throughs here as the room is big, light and airy, has good acoustics, and everyone can fit around the table.

It's also quite near my house, and perhaps for this reason I am a bit late, arriving after most of the actors. This doesn't go unnoticed by my eagle-eyed executive producer Phillippa Giles.

"Executive producer Phillippa Giles has the knack of asking difficult but absolutely crucial questions, 'Why are you late? You only live round the corner.'"
Phillippa is a hugely experienced producer and exec producer, having worked on such great titles over the years as A Fatal Inversion, Gallowglass, Our Mutual Friend and most recently North and South. I'm a classic drama virgin, and many times over the last few months I've relied on Phillippa's vast experience in the genre to bail me out of trouble.

She's perceptive and incisive on scripts, has great taste on casting, knows all the classic drama pitfalls, and has the irritating knack of asking difficult but absolutely crucial questions. Today: 'Why are you late? You only live round the corner.'


I'm very nervous about the readthrough.

It's not the script. I have immense confidence in Sandy Welch's adaptation. Sandy - who adapted North and South, and Our Mutual Friend, as well as creating loads of great original work including Magnificent 7 - has worked incredibly hard over the last year to create her own, brand new take on Charlotte Bronte's novel. Her script is magnificent. It brings to life an incredibly engaging love story, it's full of rich colourful imagery, it's funny, it's clever, it's passionate. I think it's a truly original and absorbing take on the novel, but also believe it will be hugely enjoyed by the many people who don't know the book at all. So I'm sure it will read like a dream.

"I want to make sure that I don't give the impression that the production is an unhelmed wreck heading for disaster."
It's not the actors either. I think they are fab. I know that Ruth Wilson, who we've cast as Jane Eyre is going to be a massive massive star. I'm thrilled that we've attracted Toby Stephens (James Bond baddie, Cambridge Spies) to the part of Mr Rochester, Francesca Annis, Pam Ferris, Georgie Henley will not let us down.

We've got other brilliant people too - rising stars Andrew Buchan, Christina Cole, Aidan McArdle, as well as audience favourites like Lorraine Ashbourne and Tara Fitzgerald. And a host of great new and less well known faces too.

The reason I'm nervous about the readthrough is that I have to 'say a few words' at the beginning. I want to set the correct tone - professional and relaxed, dynamic but easy-going. I want to establish that we are a team, working together on one big exciting project, combining our skills, experience, talent and vision. And I want to make sure that I don't give the impression that the production is an unhelmed wreck heading for disaster.

I do my best, and it's fine.

Oh, and the script reads much better than I could ever imagine.

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Diederick Santer

Diederick Santer, Jane Eyre Producer
Diederick previously produced the first three series of Cutting It, and two of the ShakespeaRe-Told dramas, including the Bafta-nominated Much Ado About Nothing.

After Jane Eyre, he's moving on to become Executive Producer of EastEnders.

Production Diary

Read more about the production of Jane Eyre:

Week 14:
5th-12th Jun 2006

Week 13:
29th May-4th Jun 2006

Week 12:
22nd-28th May 2006

Week 11:
15th-21st May 2006

Week 10:
8th-14th May 2006

Week 9:
1st-7th May 2006

Week 8:
24th-30th Apr 2006

Week 7:
17th-23rd Apr 2006

Week 6:
10th-16th Apr 2006

Week 5:
3rd-9th Apr 2006

Week 4:
27th Mar-2nd Apr 2006

Week 3:
20th-26th Mar 2006

Week 2:
13th-19th Mar 2006

Week 1:
6th-12th Mar 2006

Week 0:
27th Feb - 5th Mar 2006

Week -1:
20th-26th Feb 2006

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