Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

December 16, 2005


Filed under: Audio Clips,BBC,Downloads,Jane Eyre,Media,Radio — by bronteana @ 12:52 pm

Another Audio Adaptation of Jane Eyre

Yes, I am still here. I have not had a minute to do any transcribing since my last post but I will soon have all the free time I can handle, certainly more than you can shake a stick at if you'd want to try doing something like that. It's finals time, the holidays, and time for the family business to go bankrupt. But the Brontës go on.

Here, for example, is what has been termed 'anything but a decent adaptation' of Jane Eyre, brought to you by Biedroneczka from LERO, who has also provided us with at least two or three other audio adaptations! This time we have Sophie Thompson as Jane Eyre, and Ciaran Hinds as Mr Rochester. I did listen to part one of this when it aired on the BBC. It was awful indeed, but as for the rest, I cannot say. 😉 I think I heard once that this production predates Mr. Hinds' stint as Mr Rochester in the A&E adaptation. I am bound to express myself… I think his portrayal is terrible but I cannot tell how much blame goes to the director. There is a scene where he actually drags Jane down the stairs after he tries to blame her for the whole thing ("I was prepared to committ bigamy for you because I knew that marriage was important to you!"). Notwithstanding, he still seems to strut and shout his way through nearly all of his scenes without much variation. He reminds me of the kind of Mr Rochester Charlotte feared she might see on the stage, actually. All grimaces and strutting.

Jane Eyre with Sophie Thompson and Ciaran Hinds

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

As always, these will only be available for about a week. I wish I had a copy of their adaptation of Shirley. That one really made me laugh. In fact, I couldn't help writing a parody of each installment! The accent of Mr Moore was very amusing.



  1. Hi Bronteana!!!!
    So glad to see a fresh post after a long while 😉
    Missed your posts!!!! Really…getting some Bronte gold every day is what keeps me smiling:D

    Anyways, thanks for the links! OMG I must say, I *hated* the A&E Jane Eyre. Mr Hinds’s portrayal of Rochester was revolting (in my opinion). He did a decent job in Austen’s Persuasion I was disappointed with how he played Rochester..

    I was curious about what you thought of the BBC (1983) version of Jane Eyre starring Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke. I liked it better than the version with Hinds. But somehow..I found Zelah Clarke’s portrayal of Jane to be quite annoying..I guess I expected more fire from her…
    But I did so LOVE the Rochester in this version…was he far more handsome than he was supposed to be (!?)

    Good luck on your finals!I too have mine all this week..and my brain is fried 😛

    Comment by mysticgypsy — December 16, 2005 @ 2:20 pm |Reply

  2. Thanks for the info about the Broadway cast recording, Brontëana. So, how do us wee folk get a copy of the Anthony Crivello version? And did you happen to see the staging in Toronto? Ah, so many questions, so little time.

    mysticgypsy – Dalton is my favorite Rochester, too (oh, the passion, the melodrama) but I haven’t seen the 1973 version. I felt shaky about Zelah Clarke, at first, but found her somewhat endearing at the end. Her performance seemed to grow stronger as the scenes progressed (though I doubt they were shot in order). And yes, Dalton’s far too handsome, but I’m not complaining!

    Comment by FrankenGirl — December 16, 2005 @ 8:02 pm |Reply

  3. to mysticgypsy:

    I felt bad about not posting but if I did they would have been empty posts and I really am not into that. I will wait until I have the time to put up something substantial, or at least entertaining 🙂 It has been really rough here with everything. Lots and lots of news… I’m going to be a published poet by Christmas- they way it looks!

    It has been a long while since I saw the A&E version. I bought it knowing full well how bad it was supposed to be. It was not AS bad as I was expecting. It is my favourite comedically terrible version on film. 😉 I especially draw peoples’ attention to Bertha’s ‘bride-of-frankenstein’ hair-style, that little bit where she leaps on him because he won’t fondle her breast *wince*, but I think my favourite is the:

    He’s already married!
    *sudden close up of Mr Rochester’s face*
    Mr Rochester: NNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!

    ha!! But in all seriousness, he didn’t understand the character at all. He is not a woman-hater, he doesn’t stomp around yelling at everything and everyone and climbing onto the gate so he can pounce on Jane with a mildly funny comment or two that makes him sound like a petulant child. I really missed his wit 😦

    In fact, I wrote a parody of this too. I replaced ‘Jane’ in several of his lines (or the sorts of things he would say) with ‘Frootloops’ and ‘love’ with ‘breakfast’ and it all works out the same!! He’s a shouty man doing a commercial for Frootloops! 😀

    My biggest problem with the production was that it cut the guts out of Charlotte’s prose. It stripped it clean and then tried to put the passion back in with lots of saliva and panting. *wince again*

    As for the 1983 version, it is my second favourite. I took it out from the library and then waited for it to come out on DVD. I also wasn’t impressed by Zelah’s performance. Actors can’t seem to grasp a character that is both shy AND strong. She comes across as being in a state of sad silence until she gets to Morton where she turns hyperactive. Jane certainly should be more vivacious around Mr Rochester and not St.John…

    The handsome thing is always a source of amusement. He’s not fooling anyone- and it looks like he knows it too. I admit that for most of the production I kept wanting more depth from him but I cannot complain about his work from about the proposal on. The scene before Jane leaves actually had me tearing up. Sadly, the 1973 version is simply so much richer in emotion that I cannot stand to watch this one now- it bores me. :-

    Good luck with your finals too!

    Comment by Brontëana — December 17, 2005 @ 12:33 am |Reply

  4. This is the link to the Original Toronto Cast recording which is out of print:

    Listening to James Barbour first, it may sound strange because James is a bass and Anthony is a tenor. Some of the notes were brought down a bit for Mr.B. 😉

    Recently I was blessed with what looks like the only surviving recording of the entire show as it was in Toronto. I’d say the performances are far better live- especially Anthony Crivello and Marla Schaffel. The studio seems to bring out the clean singing more. They are both incredible live. I can email some of it to you. ‘Silent Rebellion’ is from this recording. I also have a demo of ‘Silent Rebellion’ which has some interesting lyrics- the bit about the 3rd floor passage. It was the forerunner for ‘Sweet Liberty’.

    ‘In silent rebellion,
    I’ve made up my mind:
    I will not be confined
    to tradition.
    For we feel as men do
    and yet we are slaves
    as we down in the waves
    of submission…’

    turned into:

    ‘Well, women feel as men do
    we must engage our minds and souls.
    Let us, like our brothers,
    let our worth decide our roles.
    Breaking custom, and convention.
    Let tradition give way.
    For we all need our liberty.
    For sweet liberty we pray.’

    ‘Silent Rebellion’ is also reprised after the scene in Hay Lane. There’s a nice contrast of the two characters:

    ‘The man rushes off
    on the wings of his freedom-
    the woman stands still
    in the dark.’

    Just another project I am working on is to transcribe all of this!

    I didn’t get to see it in Toronto, but I was so close that I’m always feeling foolish that I didn’t go. My sister, in fact, auditioned for it. If she had known that Jane Eyre was my favourite book, I am sure she would have taken me there to see it! It really is like a musical BBC adaptation. Okay, enough gushing about it from me 😛

    Comment by Brontëana — December 17, 2005 @ 12:49 am |Reply

  5. I would love to receive some of the recording of the Toronto show if it’s not too much trouble for you (and whenever convenient – no rush).

    It’s truly pathetic how workshopping plays/muscials often waters them down – trying to please too many people. The “Silent Rebellion” verse is so much sharper.

    I recently attempted to watch the 1944 film version (Fontaine/Welles), but I’m struggling to get past the shot of the *FAKE* novel at the start! What were they thinking? I’m sure many left the theatre believing that Charlotte Bronte wrote that.

    If I decide to revisit the A&E version, I’ll be sure to try out your fruitloop/breakfast lines – 🙂 Perhaps they’ll help me make it through it.

    fg (at)

    oh, thanks for the link!

    Comment by FrankenGirl — December 17, 2005 @ 3:45 pm |Reply

  6. Please Please can you reload Jane Eyre with Sophie Thompson and Ciaran Hinds.I’ve longed to hear this..Please Please

    Comment by Anne — January 5, 2007 @ 3:26 pm |Reply

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