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24 September 2014

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

Toby Stephens as Rochester

Week 10: 8th to 14th May 2006


On Sunday night my beautiful partner Fiona and I put on our finest clothes and head for London's glittering West End to attend the Bafta Television Awards.

Much Ado About Nothing, which I produced last year, has been nominated in the best single drama category. And Rufus Sewell, star of The Taming of the Shrew which I also made, is nominated for best actor. Susanna White is here too - she's with Bleak House, nominated for drama serial.

Fiona and I sit with Rufus, David Nicholls, who adapted Much Ado, and with Sarah Parish, its star. Brian Percival, who directed the show, has flu and has called in sick. That's a great shame, but it has enabled me to bring Fiona.

Sarah Parish and I are pleased to see our friend and colleague from Much Ado, Billie Piper, pick up three awards for Doctor Who, including best drama series.

I'm thrilled when Kate Harwood, picks up the award for best continuing series (ie. soap) for EastEnders. As executive producer, Kate has worked so hard over the last year and a half to bring that show back to life. It's much-deserved. She's set things up rather nicely for me, as well.

And I'm over the moon when Bleak House wins best drama serial - Susanna and co made a great, ground-breaking drama. It also shows I have great taste, picking a Bafta-winner-to-be as my Jane Eyre director.

"If only Much Ado can win best single, and Rufus can win best actor, then it will be a BBC drama clean sweep."
If only Much Ado can win best single, and Rufus can win best actor, then it will be a BBC drama clean sweep. However, both prizes are won by The Government Inspector, an important and uncompromising Channel 4 docudrama about the David Kelly affair by Peter Kosminsky.

Back to reality

Then at midnight, Cinderella-style, Susanna and I leave. A driver called John takes us up the M1 straight to our flats in Matlock, Derbyshire where we arrive at 3.15am ready for pick up in the morning.

Luckily it's a slightly late start, as we plan to shoot through to 8.30pm to get some sunset scenes. My pick up is still 8am, and I arrive on set feeling rough. Susanna has the advantage of having won - it's giving her extra adrenalin to get through the day.

"We feel like we're on top of the world, the sun shines and we can see for miles in every direction."
But what a location! We're on Stannage Edge, outside Hathersage, to the north of the peaks, towards Sheffield. This is where we're doing Jane's wanderings in episode 4, plus the Rivers sisters' house. We feel like we're on top of the world, and apart from the odd car and the even odder hiker, we have the place to ourselves. The sun shines and we can see for miles in every direction.

Georgia's recovery

With us on Wednesday is Georgia King. This beautiful young actress is making her professional debut in episode 4 as Rosamond Oliver. This is the second of her two scenes to be shot, and it will be her first appearance on screen - walking on the moors, greeting the Rivers, Carlo the dog and Jane.

But it nearly didn't happen. A week before to the day, Georgia felt stomach pains, then had her appendix rupture. We were shocked, as I imagine she was too, and were told by her agent that she was unlikely to recover from the operation to remove it for at least ten days.

With us about to lose locations and other actors, we had no option but to make an insurance claim, cast another actress in the part, and reshoot the original scene. But then Georgia made the most incredible recovery, got the letters from her doctor to prove it to us and our insurers, and returned triumphant to the set. What a trooper!

The week ends at Bolsover Castle where we have created Lowood school hall in the riding house building. Once again, production designer Grenville Horner has done an incredible job, turning a pleasant bright space into a bleak gothic horror, resplendent with a vast image of God pointing down from heaven.

Tom Rye, our enthusiastic and resourceful second assistant director, has been extremely busy and arranged for us to have 75 child extras at any one time, changing them around at lunchtimes in order to work within licensing laws. The kids do brilliantly, and Lowood school comes to grim life.

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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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