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Reader, I watched it

September 25, 2006

Sometimes I just can’t be arsed to read books. Sometimes the thought of spending a good week or so ploughing through pages and pages of Times New Roman leaves me feeling as apathetic as a hoody. Which is why I really enjoyed Jane Eyre (Sundays BBC1 9pm) last night.

After spending a good year or so dissecting the good book at university (and pondering the rather mighty issue over whether Jane Is Mad or whether Bertha is the physical manifestation of Jane’s anger (Eyre/ire – geddit? No, neither did I…), I had meant to return to the book again some time soon to enjoy it purely and simply and without a German lesbian ramming all these theories down my throat. But, hey, now I don’t have to – I can sit back and refresh the actual story, seeing as it has been blighted by another product of university study – reading around the subject. Thus, my memory of Jane Eyre, is a mixture of Wide Sargasso Sea (set for a TV adaptation on BBC4 in early October) and the wonderful Turn Of The Screw (does Jane see a man on the battlements, or was that just the governess in TOTS?).

Aaaanyway, I’m pleased that this production seems to be sticking fairly faithfully to the original (even with my memory gaps). It’s in four parts, and they do seem to want to focus more on the Jane/Rochester partnership, rather than take it slow and steady. Jane’s childhood spans about 20 minutes, which is a shame as the young Jane is played by the uber cute Georgie Henley (her off The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe), who seems to be growing into a fine young actress. As soon as we were introduced to Helen Burns, Jane’s bessie mate in the orphanage, she dies of er… a cough (they obviously didn’t have Buttercup syrup in those days). Now, I remember her and Jane sharing a deep friendship (as well as the occasional bed) in the book. But hey, obviously the sexual tension between the two leads is far more of a ratings winner than two 12-year-olds sharing a bed…

I’m not one for romantic costume dramas with their breaches and heaving bosoms, but luckily this (as with the superb Bleak House) looks set to be less of the romantic and more of the dark, eerie corridors and er… mad women in the attic.

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