Austen for Beginners

Film/TV adaptations - Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice - The Big Two
Pride and Prejudice is easily Jane Austen's most popular novel, if we judge by the number of TV and film adaptations that there have been over the years. In fact Pride and Prejudice was one of the very first novels adapted for radio dramatisation, and it was broadcast on BBC radio on 15 January 1924. But these days, two adaptations fight over the top slot as far as Pride and Prejudice is concerned - the BBC miniseries of 1995 and the big screen movie of 2005.

Pride and Prejudice 1995 - Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle (BBC)

All right, I admit - this is my favourite, so I'm putting it first. Most famous for that scene with the wet shirt (well, damp anyway), it spawned millions of new Jane Austen fans and made a star out of Colin Firth, who will be forever known best as Mr Darcy. In spite of taking the occasional liberty with the text (the wet shirt isn't actually in the book, nor did Austen's Darcy dive into the lake in the first place) this is easily the most faithful adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. The miniseries format allowed the scriptwriter (Andrew Davies) to make excellent use of the 327 minutes he had available, and to tell the story as we hope Jane Austen would have wanted it to be told. If you've never seen it, you don't know what you're missing.

In spite of the fact that this series was broadcast over 10 years ago, the official BBC website is still there - it was relaunched for the 10th anniversary in 2005 and has loads of clips, pictures and information about the series. Click here.


The BBC have uploaded some of the scenes onto YouTube - click here

For more details, including links to the various locations used in the series, click here.

Pride and Prejudice 2005 - Matthew McFadyen and Keira Knightley


Very popular adaptation which drew a whole new crowd of Austen fans and earned Keira Knightley an Oscar nomination. Not as faithful to the book as the 1995 version, it has to be said, but at just over 2 hours it just doesn't have enough screen time to get everything in. Well worth watching and if you loved it, please go and read the book! If you don't, you run the risk of not understanding what on earth Matthew and Keira were going on about....

And the locations?
There are those that argue that Chatsworth is far too posh for the Darcy family, but it's such a gorgeous place we'll let that pass. (Although I have to admit I don't buy the scene with all the statues....but this is fiction, after all.) Click
here to see the location details....

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