Tess Of The D'Urbervilles – vibrant young cast line-up for dramatic adaptation of Hardy classic for BBC One
BBC Drama Productions have announced full cast details of the forthcoming drama Tess Of The D'Urbervilles for BBC One.
Gemma Arterton (James Bond: Quantum Of Solace, St Trinian's) stars as Tess, the spirited heroine of Thomas Hardy's immortal work; Hans Matheson (The Virgin Queen, Dr Zhivago) plays Alec, who seduces her; Eddie Redmayne (Elizabeth: The Golden Age) is Angel, with whom she falls in love, and Jodie Whittaker (Venus) plays Izzy, her best friend.
The drama also features Ruth Jones (Gavin And Stacey, Saxondale) as Tess's mother Joan, and Anna Massey (Oliver Twist, The Importance Of Being Earnest) is Mrs D'Urberville.
Written by David Nicholls (Starter For Ten, Much Ado About Nothing) and produced by David Snodin (Great Expectations, Crime And Punishment), the four-part adaptation of Hardy's complex, profound and heart-breaking novel, Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, will be broadcast in autumn 2008 on BBC One.
Executive Producer Kate Harwood said: "Arguably Thomas Hardy is the most neglected of our great literary authors, so I'm delighted to announce this new BBC adaptation of his renowned classic tale of Tess Of The D'Urbervilles.
"Hardy's novel explores love, betrayal and the emotional burden of secrets locked away at the heart of a passionate, loving relationship which, when unlocked, implode with heart-breaking consequences. David Nicholls's adaptation brings Hardy's tragic heroine, Tess, to life with verve, passion and sensitivity."
Originally titled Tess Of The D'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented, Hardy's novel was serialised in The Graphic during 1891 – although in censored form as its challenge to the sexual attitudes of the day was considered too overt for general consumption.
Violated by one man, forsaken by another, Tess Durbeyfield is the magnificent and spirited heroine of Thomas Hardy's immortal work.
When Tess's drunken father discovers their family can trace their ancestry back to Norman nobility, Tess's unhappy fate is set in motion as a train of events is unleashed. Exceptionally beautiful, Tess is given a place with her supposed noble kinsmen and is seduced and raped by the son of the family Alec D'Urberville.
She returns home and gives birth to a sickly boy who soon dies. Trying to rebuild her life, Tess is employed as a milkmaid and meets Angel Clare. They fall in love and Angel proposes.
Scared of losing him, she can't face telling him about her past, but on their wedding night Angel confesses a previous affair, so Tess, convinced that he will now forgive her, owns up about her own relationship with Alec - with tragic consequences.
Filming begins in March 2008 on location in the West Country.
Tess Of The D'Urbervilles was commissioned by Jane Tranter, Controller, BBC Fiction.
BBC Drama Productions are world leaders in classic, period adaptation. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles will follow critically acclaimed classics such as Cranford, Jane Eyre, Andrew Davies's adaptations of Wives And Daughters, Sense And Sensibility, Bleak House and BBC One drama serial Lark Rise To Candleford.