Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

June 27, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 4:51 pm

Villette BBC 1970

Bronteana reader Liz has been writing to the BBC regarding their 1970 mini series of Villette, featured in this old Bronteana post (including photos of the actors who played Lucy Snowe and Monsieur Paul Emmanuel). She infers that the production still exists from their comment that it is ‘not commercially available’ and the recomendation that she write to BBC Worldwide to have it released. So, then, the hundreds of you out there who read my posts each day, this is the only adaptation of Villette. If it still exists, it should be available. If you feel as I do, send a polite note to BBC Worldwide and hopefully it will not take 30 years as Jane Eyre 1973 did!

BBC Worldwide. Commissioning Editor, BBC Worldwide Ltd, Woodlands, 80 Wood Lane, London, W12 0TT



  1. Are BBC still the people to go to? Over here it is 2Entertain who release the BBC’s DVDs these days and I thought that it was Warner Stateside. 🙂 Nonetheless am firing a letter off now!

    “And now Watson… we play the waiting game.”
    “Oooh, are there dice?”
    “It’s not that kind of game.”
    “So it’s cards-based, Holmes?”
    “Listen – it’s just a stupid idiom.”
    “You’re a stupid idiom!”
    “Oh I give up…”

    Comment by Aidan Brack — June 28, 2006 @ 4:33 am |Reply

  2. Thank you very much for posting this up for me! I’m sure that there are lots of other bronteana readers out there who would love to see this version! Here, for completeness’ sake, is the whole text of the e-mail I was sent:

    “Thank you for your e-mail regarding ‘Villette’.

    I appreciate that you would like to know where you could buy a copy of this series. I must begin by stating that this programme is not currently commercially available and for copyright and contractual reasons, we are unable to supply a one-off copy. Our copyright agreements only allow broadcasts; duplication and distribution of programme tapes has to be negotiated as a separate commercial agreement. We therefore regret we can only provide recordings if they’re commercially available.

    However, if you would like to make a suggestion for its release, can I suggest you put it in writing to BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC.” (address followed.)”

    I find all copyright stuff rather confusing. But it does seem to suggest that it is extant, doesn’t it? (Let sunny imaginations hope!)

    Comment by Liz — June 28, 2006 @ 4:58 am |Reply

  3. Well the copyright stuff pertains to how television was broadcast back then (as a once off broadcast). As such the standard agreement with artists was a fee for one premiere showing and one repeat. When video and satellite came in most of these contracts were revised (and often again now for DVD) but for programmes such as Villette that were never released in any medium they would never have arranged new contracts.

    It sounds like it still exists (or is thought to exist) but it could have been guesswork on the part of the person who replied. In any case the advice about writing is good – IIRC the BBC count letters much more highly than e-mails (based on the effort taken to write a letter by hand). Fingers are crossed! 🙂

    Comment by Aidan Brack — June 28, 2006 @ 7:06 am |Reply

  4. to aidan brack:

    I recall that action on Jane Eyre 1973 didn’t really happen through the BBC per se, but then I wasn’t that close an observer at that point. I already drafted my letter 🙂

    Comment by BrontĂ«ana — June 28, 2006 @ 10:46 pm |Reply

  5. to Liz:

    Thank you for writing to them. I don’t know when I would have got around to it myself. This email really does suggest that it still exists: “we are unable to supply a one-off copy.” The copyright restrictions are familiar to me as well. So, hopefully we can persuade them- or perhaps a company like Acorn Media will step in and buy the rights as before?

    Comment by BrontĂ«ana — June 28, 2006 @ 10:49 pm |Reply

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