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Emma(3): 1996

The other version of Emma to be released in 1996 was written and produced by the same team that gave us Pride and Prejudice only a year before. This version, shown on the BBC and A&E television took a much different look at the story from it’s big screen counterpart. Beginning with a veteran Austen cast including Bernard Hepton (Sir Thomas Bertram, MP1) as Mr. Woodhouse, Samantha Bond (Maria Bertram, MP1)as Mrs. Weston and Lucy Robinson (Louisa Hurst, P&P2)as Mrs. Elton, this version gave a muted but in the end faithful picture of Austen’s fourth novel. Other actors included Kate Beckinsdale (Hero, Much Ado About Nothing) as Emma Woodhouse, Raymond Coulthard (Young Scrooge, The Muppet’s Christmas Carol) as Frank Churchill, Samantha Morton (Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre 1997 as Harriet Smith and Prunella Scales (Sybil Fawlty, Fawlty Towers) as Miss Bates.)Scales already had another Austen connection: her son, Sam West, played Mr. William Walter Elliot in Sony’s 1994 Persuasion. Filmed primarily in Lacock, a village made famous in Pride and Prejudice, and other National Trust houses around England, this Emma includes many scenes lacking in the year’s other offering. We are treated to chicken thieves, a game of anagrams, and strawberry picking at Donwell (“Donkeys, Janet!”). Other scenes were invented for plot development- the arrival of Jane’s piano, the unexpected but in the end quite satisfying dinner at Donwell, and (Who could forget!?) Emma’s imaginations! These scenes, though not present in the book give an amusing twist to an already delightful

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