Emma

Romola Garai (Atonement, Vanity Fair) stars as the “handsome, clever and rich” Emma Woodhouse in BBC One’s fresh and witty adaptation of Jane Austen’s comic masterpiece Emma.

Adapted by BAFTA-winning writer Sandy Welch (Our Mutual Friend, Jane Eyre, North And South) this humorous and perceptive serial from BBC Drama Production provides a rich insight into one of Austen’s most complex characters.

Dominating the small provincial world of Highbury, Emma believes she is a skilled matchmaker and repeatedly attempts to pair up her friends and acquaintances.

Over four hour-long episodes the drama follows the dire consequences of Emma’s failed schemes in this clever comedy of realisation and self-discovery.

The esteemed and impressive cast also includes Michael Gambon (Cranford, Gosford Park) as Emma’s affectionate, neurotic father who unusually allows her to be mistress of their household; Jonny Lee Miller (Byron, Eli Stone, Trainspotting) as Mr Knightley, Emma’s shrewd and attractive neighbour, whose strength of character is in sharp contrast to her father; Jodhi May (Einstein And Eddington, Friends And Crocodiles) as Miss Taylor, Emma’s former governess who marries the good-humoured Mr Weston played by Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet, White Teeth, My Dad’s The Prime Minister); and Tamsin Greig (The Diary Of Anne Frank, Green Wing) as the incessantly chatty, well-meaning Miss Bates whose poverty draws the pity and goodwill of all of Highbury.

Emma was first published in 1815. Set in Regency England, it was the last Jane Austen novel to be published before the author’s death in 1817, and is one of her most popular and best-loved books.

The four x 60-minute serial is produced by BBC Drama Production and was filmed in late spring/early summer 2009 around the Home Counties.

Phillippa Giles (Jane Eyre, The Alan Clark Diaries, North And South) is the executive producer with George Ormond (Silent Witness, EastEnders) producing the serialisation.

Emma was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, Drama Commissioning, and Jay Hunt, Controller, BBC One, for BBC One and will transmit in autumn 2009.

Cast list

Emma – Romola Garai
Knightley – Jonny Lee Miller
Mr Woodhouse – Michael Gambon
Harriet Smith – Louise Dylan
Ann Taylor/Weston – Jodhi May
Mr Weston – Robert Bathurst
Frank Churchill – Rupert Evans
Jane Fairfax – Laura Pyper
Miss Bates – Tamsin Greig
Mrs Bates – Valerie Lilley
Mr Elton – Blake Ritson
Augusta Elton – Christina Cole
John Knightley – Dan Fredenburgh
Isabella – Poppy Miller
Robert Martin – Jefferson Hall
Mrs Goddard – Veronica Roberts
Mrs Cole – Liza Sadovy
Miss Martin 1 – Eileen O’Higgins
Miss Martin 2 – Sarah Ovens
Mrs Churchill – Susie Trayling
Mr Dixon – Frank Doody
Miss Campbell/Dixon – Amy Loughton

More content about Emma will be published, as transmission approaches, on this page: www.bbc.co.uk/tv/comingup/emma

Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller, Michael Gambon, Tamsin Greig, Robert Bathurst and Jodhi May will star in Sandy Welch’s four-part adaptation of Austen’s comic masterpiece Emma, a BBC Drama Production for BBC One, it was announced today.

Romola Garai (Atonement, Daniel Deronda) stars as the “handsome, clever and rich” Emma Woodhouse.

The drama follows the dire consequences of Emma’s failed matchmaking schemes in this witty, clever comedy of realisation and self-discovery.

Michael Gambon (Cranford, Gosford Park) plays Emma’s affectionate, neurotic father who unusually allows her to be mistress of their household.

Jonny Lee Miller (Byron, Eli Stone, Trainspotting) plays Mr Knightley, Emma’s shrewd and attractive neighbour, whose strength of character is in sharp contrast to her father, providing a welcome counterpart to the headstrong protagonist.

Jodhi May (Einstein And Eddington, Friends And Crocodiles) plays Miss Taylor, Emma’s former governess who marries the good-humoured Mr Weston played by Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet, White Teeth, My Dad’s The Prime Minister).

Tamsin Greig (The Diary Of Anne Frank, Green Wing) plays the incessantly chatty, well-meaning Miss Bates whose poverty draws the pity and goodwill of all of Highbury.

Jane Fairfax, the beautiful and talented but quiet niece of Miss Bates, hides a dark, romantic secret beneath her polished exterior.

Emma will be screened in serial form for the first time since the Seventies.

BAFTA-winning Sandy Welch (Our Mutual Friend, Jane Eyre, North And South) has brought a fresh, witty and perceptive take on a timeless tale. The four hour-long episodes give Welch a chance to provide a rich insight into one of Austen’s most complex characters.

It has been created by BBC Drama Production for transmission on BBC One in Autumn 2009.

Kate Harwood, Controller Series and Serials, BBC, says: “I am very proud to announce such a strong and wonderfully talented line-up who will bring both youth and experience to Sandy Welch’s creative vision of Austen’s Emma, a wonderful mix of comedy and romance.

“In Emma, Austen has created a fascinating heroine, and our four-hour canvas allows us to explore this multi-faceted character in detail. Emma was Austen’s last novel to be published before her death, written when she was at the height of her craft.”

Emma was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, Drama Commissioning, and Jay Hunt, Controller, BBC One; written by Sandy Welch, directed by Jim O’Hanlon and produced by George Ormond; the executive producer is Phillippa Giles.

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