... Nancy had come from "The Corners," six miles away, and she knew Miss Polly Harrington only as the mistress of the old Harrington homestead, and one of the wealthiest residents of the town. That was two months before. She knew Miss Polly now as a stern, severe-faced woman who frowned if a knife clattered to the floor, or if a door banged -- but who never thought to smile even when knives and doors were still.
-- From Pollyanna, 'Chapter I, Miss Polly'
One of Britain's most popular and respected actresses, Amanda Burton was born in Londonderry, Northern Ireland in 1956. She won the UK's National Television Most Popular Actress award for the crime-drama series Silent Witness in 1998, 1999 and 2001.
Burton makes a rare excursion into a period drama as Aunt Polly. She is delighted to be heading the cast of a drama that she hopes will be appreciated by all ages, including her own two daughters.
"When we first see Aunt Polly, she's very much a victim of her own doing, because she has shut down so many of her senses," comments Burton. "Polly does not share her life with anyone at all, so what she does has become very focused on herself. She can't entertain the thought of what another human being's needs would be. Pollyanna brings a slow education to Aunt Polly. You see her allowing this child to grow and beginning to need her presence in the house and to care for her. And in that caring, she begins to soften herself."
It was not long before Nancy saw her -- the slender little girl in the red-checked gingham with two fat braids of flaxen hair hanging down her back. Beneath the straw hat, an eager, freckled little face turned to the right and to the left, plainly searching for some one.
-- From Pollyanna, 'Chapter III, The Coming of Pollyanna'
Georgina Terry was ten when she was called to audition for the title role in Eleanor H. Porter's classic story.
"I was rung up to ask if I could go to the audition and I wasn't sure if I wanted to go, because I would miss playing in a tennis tournament," she recalls. "My mum rang up an actor friend who said it would be like winning the lottery to get that part. But my dad said 'There's no way you're going; it's a waste of time!'"
Fortunately, Georgina and Fiona followed the advice of their friend! "Mum came back to London with me and we read the book of Pollyanna on the train -- acting out all the parts! Everyone was staring at us!"
Georgina has been involved in plays at school twice a year, and recalls that she was only three or four when she first went on stage at nursery school. But, although she has appeared in commercials and short films, Pollyanna is her first venture into a major television film.
She loved dressing up in the period costumes of Pollyanna. "I thought they would be more uncomfortable but they were lovely to wear. I also loved the scenes driving down this very steep hill. I wasn't scared, though there was a strong smell of petrol in the car." Her scenes with a stray dog also held some trepidation for her: "I had to carry him in and he was very heavy and very wet!"
During the busy filming schedule, Georgina had to keep up with her school studies; she also found time to keep a diary, lavishly illustrated with pictures she took on a disposable camera.
Georgina, now 12, has an older sister and brother and lives in north London. She likes J-Lo and eating chocolate and thinks she might want to be a director after finishing her school and university education. "But I wouldn't mind being an actor either," she adds.
Nancy had never "worked out" before; but a sick mother suddenly widowed and left with three younger children besides Nancy herself, had forced the girl into doing something toward their support, and she had been so pleased when she found a place in the kitchen of the great house on the hill ...
...In the little attic room Nancy swept and scrubbed vigorously, paying particular attention to the corners. There were times, indeed, when the vigor she put into her work was more of a relief to her feelings than it was an ardor to efface dirt -- Nancy, in spite of her frightened submission to her mistress, was no saint...
-- From Pollyanna, 'Chapter I, Miss Polly' and 'Chapter II, Old Tom and Nancy'
A native of Oldham, Lancashire, Kate Ashfield was named one of Europe's 'Shooting Stars' by European Film Promotion in 2001. She won the British Independent Film Best Actress award for her role in Late Night Shopping in 2001 and the Royal Television Society Best Female Actor award in 2004 for This Little Life. Her film credits also include the role of Shaun's girlfriend, Liz, in 2004's send-up of zombie movies, Shaun of the Dead.
Pollyanna was carrying calf's-foot jelly to Mrs. Snow today. Miss Polly Harrington always sent something to Mrs. Snow once a week. She said she thought that it was her duty, inasmuch as Mrs. Snow was poor, sick, and a member of her church -- it was the duty of all the church members to look out for her, of course. Miss Polly did her duty by Mrs. Snow usually on Thursday afternoons -- not personally, but through Nancy. To-day Pollyanna had begged the privilege, and Nancy had promptly given it to her in accordance with Miss Polly's orders.
-- From Pollyanna, 'Chapter VIII, Pollyanna Pays a Visit'
Actress Pam Ferris was born in 1948 in Hanover, West Germany. She was raised in Wales; her family emigrated to New Zealand when she was 13. In a meteorological coincidence, Ferris is married to actor Roger Frost -- and her Pollyanna role as Mrs. Snow follows one of her best-known roles as Peggy Snow in British television's Where The Heart Is.
Ferris has appeared in several previous Masterpiece Theatre productions including The Turn of the Screw, Our Mutual Friend and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. She appeared as Aunt Marge in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
He's John Pendleton. He lives all by himself in the big house on Pendleton Hill. He won't even have any one 'round ter cook for him -- comes down ter the hotel for his meals three times a day. I know Sally Miner, who waits on him, and she says he hardly opens his head enough ter tell what he wants ter eat. She has ter guess it more'n half the time -- only it'll be somethin' cheap! She knows that without no tellin'.
-- From Pollyanna, 'Chapter IX, Which Tells of the Man'
Scotsman Kenneth Cranham has appeared in innumerable television programs and films during the course of his thirty-plus years as an actor. He was delighted to take on the role of the grim-faced loner, Mr. Pendleton, and was also pleased to work on something which both his daughters -- Nancy, 21, and Kathleen, nine -- would enjoy: "Rather than something set in a morgue as usual!" Both Cranham and his wife, actress Fiona Victory, are big fans of the 1960 film which starred Hayley Mills.
Cranham has been seen in previous Masterpiece Theatre productions, including The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, Our Mutual Friend and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
In the garden that afternoon, Nancy found a few minutes in which to interview Old Tom, who had pulled the weeds and shovelled the paths about the place for uncounted years.
-- From Pollyanna, 'Chapter II, Old Tom and Nancy'
Tom Bell, a Liverpool native, has over fifty years of acting credits on stage, television and film. He has been seen in Masterpiece Theatre's Prime Suspect 1 and 3 and in Holocaust, Wish You Were Here and The Krays.
Promptly at twenty minutes to four the next afternoon Timothy and Nancy drove off in the open buggy to meet the expected guest. Timothy was Old Tom's son. It was sometimes said in the town that if Old Tom was Miss Polly's right-hand man, Timothy was her left... Timothy was a good-natured youth, and a good-looking one, as well. Short as had been Nancy's stay at the house, the two were already good friends.
-- From Pollyanna, 'Chapter III, The Coming of Pollyanna'
Tom Ellis's previous credits include roles in the BBC series Nice Guy Eddie and films Buffalo Soldiers and Vera Drake.
The next moment Pollyanna heard voices, and very soon their owners appeared three men carrying a stretcher and various other articles.
The tallest of the party -- a smooth-shaven, kind-eyed man whom Pollyanna knew by sight as "Dr. Chilton" -- advanced cheerily.
-- From Pollyanna, 'Chapter XIII, In Pendleton Woods'
"All right then -- here goes! I'm Jimmy Bean, and I'm ten years old goin' on eleven. I come last year ter live at the Orphans' Home; but they've got so many kids there ain't much room for me, an' I wa'n't never wanted, anyhow, I don't believe. So I've quit. I'm goin' ter live somewheres else -- but I hain't found the place, yet. I'd LIKE a home -- jest a common one, ye know, with a mother in it, instead of a Matron. If ye has a home, ye has folks; an' I hain't had folks since -- dad died. So I'm a-huntin' now. I've tried four houses, but -- they didn't want me -- though I said I expected ter work, 'course. There! Is that all you want ter know?" The boy's voice had broken a little over the last two sentences.
-- From Pollyanna, 'Chapter XI, Introducing Jimmy'
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