Miss Austen Regrets which stars Olivia Williams as Austen and tells the story of her actually quite short life (she was only 41 when she died) through her writings and her letters, the sad fact being that although she is considered the leading light on matters of the heart she herself never married, although at the age of 21 she did fall for a visiting friend of neighbours although once his holiday was over she never saw him again.
Later a friend of the family did propose and she accepted but withdrew it the next day (it would have purely been a marriage of convenience). Austen’s life is actually quite sad, constrained by the time she lived in and lack of opportunities for women and Williams captures that melancholic feeling down to a tee.
This is no simple special feature though, this is a large scale production and besides Williams the cast also includes Greta Scacchi, Hugh Bonneville and Phyllida Law.
UK / BBC One – BBC Films – WGBH Boston / 1×90 minute episode / Broadcast 27 April 2008
Writer: Gwyneth Hughes / Music: Jennie Muskett / Production Design: Melanie Allen / Executive Producers: Rebecca Eaton, David M. Thompson / Producers: Anne Pivcevic and Jamie Laurenson / Director: Jeremy Lovering
Olivia Williams as Jane Austen
Samuel Roukin as Harris Bigg
Greta Scacchi as Cassandra Austen
Imogen Poots as Fanny Knight
Phyllida Law as Mrs Austen
Pip Torrens as Edward Austen Knight
Harry Gostelow as Reverend Charles Papillon
Tom Hiddleston as Mr John Plumptre
Hugh Bonneville as Reverend Brook Bridges
Tom Goodman-Hill as Mr Lushington MP
Adrian Edmondson as Henry Austen
Sylvie Herbert as Mme Bigeon
Jack Huston as Doctor Charles Haden
Jason Watkins as Reverend Clarke
Sally Tatum as Anna Lefroy