Women Writers on BBC ONE
Autumn, two of the world's greatest female writers come to BBC ONE
as two new documentaries offer fascinating insights into the lives
of George Eliot and Jane Austen.
Eliot: A Scandalous Life
To be broadcast in November
Mary Ann Evans in 1819, the novelist George Eliot was a woman ahead
of her time: a proud and determined individual who continually broke
the sexual, religious and social rules of Victorian society.
was one of the greatest minds of her age, yet she debased herself
accompany a new BBC adaptation of Daniel
Deronda, George Eliot: A Scandalous Life explores how the scandals
and rumours that plagued her life, never defeated her will or her
literary genius; and how, against all odds, she went on to write
some of the world's greatest novels including Middlemarch, The Mill
on the Floss, and Silas Marner.
by George Eliot enthusiast Maureen Lipman, and with Harriet Walter
as the writer, George Eliot, A Scandalous Life recreates the events
of this extraordinary life.
her rejection of Christianity aged just 22, to the string of disastrous
and shocking affairs that characterised her love life, Eliot's actions
often provoked contempt and disgust.
eloping to Germany with the distinguished but married writer George
Henry Lewes, played by John Sessions, Eliot was shunned by society.
Eliot's story is also one of initial frustration and hampered ambition
because of her gender.
unofficial editor of the internationally acclaimed Westminster Review,
her success was never publicly acknowledged; Lewes encouraged Eliot's
literary ambitions and in 1858 she began to write fiction but published
under the pseudonym that became known all over the Victorian world
- George Eliot.
1859 the publication of Adam Bede attracted wide critical acclaim,
but with it came the inevitable speculation about the author's identity.
Who was this George Eliot that nobody had ever met?
Joseph Liggins, a down-and-out from Nuneaton who laid claim to the
novel, placing Eliot in a dilemma - remain silent and provoke critical
speculation, or admit to the truth and risk professional alienation.
a spate of articles and vicious personal attacks, Eliot met with
her publishers and the decision was made to go public
the death of her beloved Lewes, the 60-year-old Eliot married a
man 20 years her junior, but during their honeymoon in Venice he
leapt from their bedroom window into the canal below.
still surrounds this and many other key events of her life. Pages
were torn from her diaries and letters were destroyed.
with access to remaining letters, diaries and newspaper articles,
A Scandalous Life creates an intimate portrait of an exceptional
woman, who overcame social isolation and rejection to become one
of our greatest writers.
Real Jane Austen
To be broadcast in December
Austen remains one of the greatest writers of all time. Almost 200
years since her death, her novels such as Pride and Prejudice, Sense
and Sensibility and Mansfield Park continue to entrance readers
the world over, and be a source of inspiration for TV and film.
with the television premiere of Mansfield Park, The Real Jane Austen
explores the woman behind these acclaimed works.
by Anna Chancellor, a great niece of Austen, with Gillian Kearney
as Jane, Jack Davenport as Jane's Brother, and also starring John
Standing, Phyllis Logan, Beth Winslet and Wendy Craig, the programme
shatters the myth that Jane lived the elegant Regency life of one
of her heroines.
readings and dramatic reconstructions, The Real Jane Austen pieces
together the reality of Austen's existence - her modest upbringing
in Hampshire as one of seven children of a clergyman; her disappointment
in love; and the family's poverty following the death of her father.
her writing Jane found financial independence without having to
marry. Tragically only four years later in July 1817 whilst writing
Persuasion Jane Austen died.
in locations associated with Austen, including Jane's birth place
of Steventon and her later home in Chawton; and illustrated with
extracts from film and television adaptations of Austen's work,
The Real Jane Austen paints a vivid portrait of one of the greatest
talents in English literature.