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

Ruth Wilson as Jane and Toby Stephens as Rochester

Week 7: 17th to 23rd April 2006


After three days off, we're in the crypt at Wingfield Manor doing the Lowood school dormitory scenes. The day doesn't go too well. We get lovely stuff in the can, but drop a whole scene and half of another one. We'll have to find a way to shoot them later in the schedule.

"We had a difficult time casting Helen, as the script called for her hair to be bright red."
Hester Odgers is with us today. She played Priscilla, the lead kid in the recent Lassie film, and is going to be Helen Burns for us, young Jane Eyre's school friend. We had a really difficult time casting this part, as the script called for Helen's hair to be bright copper red.

We met loads and loads of girls with the right look, but none of them had the ability to pull off the performance of the wise, other-worldly Helen.

So then we met girls with any colour hair, with a view to colouring or wigging the right kid. By this stage we'd already started shooting, so Di Carling had to meet them and put them on tape for Susanna and me to look at. So none of us have met her. She's great, though, and seems to settle in straight away.

Travelling around

We've got some really far-flung locations this week. We go the Goyt valley to shoot St John Rivers' church, Moreton Parish Church, and lots of horse and carriage stuff.

Another middle-of-nowhere location is the spot beneath Snake Pass (a high road leading out of the peaks towards Manchester) where we shoot Jane's little school in episode 4.

"With no toilets, drinking water, bridges or car park for four miles, and only a steep footpath down from the lay by for access, this location seems impossible."
Giles, the location manager, has found a pair of 19th century stone barns, National Trust protected, which sit in the bottom of a beautiful, empty, rugged valley, at the point where two rivers meet. It's a wonderful spot, and it doesn't take much imagination to visualise the barns working brilliantly as Jane's school.

But with no toilets, no drinking water, no bridges, no car park for four miles, and only a steep footpath down from the lay by for access, this location seems impossible. How can we send eighty plus people to film there everyday?

Giles and his team make it work. First, rigger Dave Price and his team go in and construct a temporary track down the hill, and scaffold bridges to provide foot access and a cable run in for power. Then guys from Anglo American vehicles turn up and set up little buggies which look a bit like tanks (called Argocats) to transport gear and people up and down.

Creating a usable location

Craig Gray, construction manager, and his team go in, clean things up, lay down solid floors, and turn one barn into a school room, the other into a prop and camera store, make-up and costume room and extras holding area.

Then Alan Grayley, best boy, and a team of electricians go in and set up the electrics and the lights. Finally, a week-and-a-half after all this activity began, the crew go in and film the scenes. After we go, the whole thing happens again in reverse.

Since we're all either climbing into the valley or going in and out in buggies, there's no sensible way to get back to unit base for lunch (without losing lots of valuable filming time).

So we elect to stay at the location for barbeque lunches. Great when it's sunny, not so good in pouring rain. The extras playing the schoolkids seem happy with their burgers and jacket spuds, though, and I am too.

« Previous: Week 6Next: Week 8 »


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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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