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24 September 2014

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

Ruth Wilson as Jane

Week 13: 29th May to 4th June 2006

It's the last week of the shoot, and I'm in a reflective mood. I'm asking myself general questions like did we do the novel justice? Did we do Sandy's vision justice? Have we spent the money in the right places? Will the audience fall in love with Jane and Rochester?

But I'm also thinking about specifics - are there any moments or scenes we need to reshoot? Are there any more scenes we can cut from overlong episodes? How badly will my career be affected if we go over budget? When is a good day for GMTV to come and visit? Where will we have the wrap party?

It's lovely to be in Derbyshire in early summer. It's so green and fresh and beautiful. We have a few more days in Haddon, then a day doing Caribbean interiors (flashbacks for episode 3).

"I told him that his design was all wrong - there were no drum kits in the 1820s, nor flares, nor spangly suits."
I had a nightmare about these flashbacks a couple of weeks ago. In my dream, I arrived on set to find the placed decked out as though for a 1970s night, and the whole cast dressed up in lurid 1970s outfits. There was a live band and everything. I grabbed Grenville Horner and told him that his design was all wrong - there were no drum kits in the 1820s, nor flares, nor spangly suits. Grenville's response was to be evasive and say, 'but I think it's fantastic, really interesting'. I grew more exasperated, and when director Susanna appeared I asked her what was going on. 'I know, I know', she said. 'I know it's all wrong, but this is how it was when I got here, and I felt I didn't have any choice but to shoot it'.

Then the crew all started telling me how brilliant and original it was, and I just stood there shaking my head growing more and more tense. I woke with a start, sweaty and very anxious.

Grenville did indeed do some fantastic and interesting stuff on the Caribbean flashbacks, but there was no hint of the 1970s, I'm delighted to say.

The penultimate day we spend on the beautiful Chatsworth Estate. In the most glorious weather, we rehearse the proposal scene from episode 3. It ends with a thunderstorm but we'll fix that later. It's a key scene from the book which Sandy has scripted brilliantly. Ruth and Toby do a viewing rehearsal for the crew, and I am completely floored by it. The range, detail and emotion of the scene and performance knock me out, and by the end I am a snotty wreck.

As the rehearsal ends we burst into a spontaneous round of applause. We've seen some great scenes over the last three months, but this one tops them all. Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens see my messy face and laugh at how soft I am.

I'm so tired this week. I seem to have an evening engagement every night. This, on top of all those early starts and late finishes is taking its toll. One night Susanna and I take Ruth and Toby out for a thank you dinner. They've done so well, and been such great team players for us, Susanna and I are very grateful.

The next evening Lord Edward Manners (owner of Haddon Hall) invites Susanna, our location manager Giles and myself to his hotel-restaurant for a thank you and goodbye meal.

It's a great testament to Giles and his team that after three months, Lord Edward is not only still talking to us, but is taking us to dinner. Lord Edward is fantastic company - a great host, knowledgeable, funny, interesting, interested. It's a lovely end to our Haddon experience.

"The afternoon finishes with an incredibly moving scene between Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson."
Our last shooting day takes us to a house just outside Bakewell which will be our Ferndean, the house where Jane finds Rochester near the end of episode 4. It's fitting that we should end our shoot with some key final scenes with our two lead actors.

It's beautifully sunny, everyone is very relaxed, but this is by no means an easy day. Often, one tries to schedule a light final day, but we've not been able to. Ruth Wilson's thank you to the crew is to hire an ice cream van to visit at lunch time. It's a kind touch from an actress the entire crew have come to love and hugely respect.

The afternoon finishes with an incredibly moving scene between Toby and Ruth. Susanna confides in me that she thinks this is Toby's best scene yet. It's a mark of his professionalism and talent that even on this last day he's still striving for perfection.

We wrap with ten minutes to spare, then we all head to the Pav, a nightclub in Matlock for our party. Everyone is there - from the guys that drive the coaches and horses, the receptionists from the hotel, the caterers, the staff from Haddon, plus all our crew and many of our cast. It's all very jolly.

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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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