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.
Filming begins next week in Kent.
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.”