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Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë
The Victorian Governess
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Jane Eyre
Airing Sundays, December 30, 2007 + January 6, 2008 on PBS
(Check local listings; dates and times may vary)

Aired previously January 2007

A wonderfully reconceived and re-energized production, beautifully stylized... Ruth Wilson's Jane is what really lifts this production to exceptional...
-- The Sunday Times

An excellent performance from Toby Stephens, who manages to make Rochester simultaneously macho and vulnerable, and also from Ruth Wilson as a quizzical, strong and un-neurotic Jane...
-- The Guardian

A governess goes to work for a moody employer, captures his heart, a dark secret intrudes. Charlotte Brontë's 1847 love story comes to life in a two-part adaptation, a stirring romance realized in all its heartrending beauty and mythic power.

Newcomer Ruth Wilson stars in the title role as the spirited but plain young woman who escapes a cruel charity home to find improbable true love. Toby Stephens is Edward Rochester, the enigmatic master of Thornfield Hall, who hires Jane as a governess for his young ward Adele. Or is it his daughter? All that is certain is that he is a man with a passionate past.

Directed by Susanna White (Bleak House) and adapted by Sandy Welch (Our Mutual Friend), the cast also includes Francesca Annis as Lady Ingram, confident that she is Rochester's future mother-in-law, and Christina Cole as her fair but fatuous daughter, Blanche.

Tara Fitzgerald plays Mrs. Reed, Jane's cruel aunt, and Pam Ferris is the sinister Grace Poole, the laundry woman who may or may not be responsible for the nighttime shrieks, pyromania and other strange incidents that seem to originate in Thornfield Hall's North Tower.

The story also has its edifying angle: Jane keeps her virtue despite some morally terrifying plot twists, and she eventually finds refuge in the pious home of aspiring missionary (and eligible bachelor) St. John Rivers (Andrew Buchan) and his kind sisters. Even so, the book's original audience was astonished by Jane's soulful relationship with the obviously licentious Rochester, and perhaps even more by her strong-willed, independent and forthright personality.

In addition to its intense romanticism, Jane Eyre features a satisfying assortment of wicked relatives, terrifying mayhem, extrasensory messages and astonishing coincidences, enough to have kept readers thoroughly entertained for 160 years.

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