Keeley Hawes and Rose Leslie star in the new four-part adaptation of Gill Hornby’s novel.
Today, the BBC has acquired Miss Austen, a star-studded adaptation of Gill Hornby’s best-selling and much-loved novel by Andrea Gibb.
Miss Austen stars Keeley Hawes, Rose Leslie, Patsy Ferran, Jessica Hynes, Mirren Mack, Phyllis Logan, Kevin McNally, Max Irons, Alfred Enoch, Calam Lynch and Liv Hill and reimagines a literary mystery - Cassandra Austen notoriously burning her famous sister Jane’s letters - as a fascinating, witty and heartbreaking story of sisterly love, while creating in Cassandra a character as captivating as any Austen heroine.
The drama begins in 1830, a while after Jane has died. Cassandra, played by Keeley Hawes, races to see her young friend Isabella, played by Rose Leslie, who is about to lose her home following her father’s death.
Cassandra is ostensibly there to help her friend, but her real motive is to find a stash of private letters which, in the wrong hands, could destroy Jane’s reputation. On discovering them, Cassandra is overwhelmed as she is transported back to her youth.
In flashback, we meet Young Cassy and Jane, played by Patsy Ferran, as they navigate the infatuations, family feuds, and dashed hopes that shaped their lives and laid the foundations for Jane’s unforgettable stories.
Cassandra’s re-evaluation of her past eventually leads her to realise how blind she has been to the real cause of Isabella’s heartache and distress. Finding a way to guide Isabella towards true happiness, Cassandra is finally able to understand and celebrate the sacrifices she chose to make for her brilliant sister, Jane.
The four-part drama is being directed by Aisling Walsh, and produced by Stella Merz. Filming began in the UK last month and it will be produced by Bonnie Productions for MASTERPIECE in the US and distributed by Federation Studios.
Executive producers are Christine Langan for Bonnie Productions, Susanne Simpson for MASTERPIECE and Polly Williams for Federation Stories. Keeley Hawes, Andrea Gibb and Aisling Walsh are also executive producers.
Speaking ahead of the drama's relase, Sue Deeks, Head of BBC Programme Acquisition, said "Miss Austen is the perfect blend of intriguing mystery, vivid and engaging characters and beguiling period charm – BBC viewers certainly have a treat in store."
TO which executive producer, Christine Langan, added "To have this hugely entertaining female-driven story told by such a stellar cast, led by Keeley Hawes, as Bonnie Productions’ first drama is genuinely a dream come true. Gill Hornby has found an ingenious way into the Austen world, creating female characters modern audiences can empathise with and delight in. I’m so honoured to be bringing this wonderful novel to the screen in collaboration with the deeply talented trio of writer, Andrea Gibb, director, Aisling Walsh and producer, Stella Merz."
And executive producer for MASTERPIECE, Susanne Simpson, said "Miss Austen is a beautifully told story about the loves and losses of the Austen sisters. I’m thrilled that this heartfelt, romantic, and funny adaptation is in the hands of a remarkable ensemble cast led by the incredible Keeley Hawes."
Miss Austen will air on the BBC