I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Awesome Adaptations (56) Jane Eyre 1972 BBC Radio

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
This meme celebrates an awesome adaptation related to a weekly category. Any format of adaptation (television series, film, web series, etc.) is acceptable as long as it is based in some form on a book. Awesome Adaptations was created by Alisa Selene at PictureMeReading.

An Awesome Audio Adaptation
Title: Jane Eyre
Adapted from: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Surprise! I'm going to talk about Jane Eyre!  There are a couple long radio adaptations of Jane Eyre but this one from 1972 starring Meg Wynn Owen and Patrick Allen is the standout version in my opinion.  At five hours long, it adapts much of the novel and because it's radio and the focus is on the words, the script uses much of Charlotte Brontë's original dialogue.  And the actors, especially Owen and Allen, make all of that dialogue come alive.

In the first part, I believe Meg Wynn Owen plays young Jane's voice so it's a little whiny and unrealistic for a child to my ears, but overall the adaptation does a good job of capturing the first few chapters of the book.  It is rather truncated though as the first episode also includes Jane's arrival at Thornfield. And with a voiceover, Jane's first encounter with Mr. Rochester in Hay Lane is also passed over.  But then the conversations between Jane and Rochester are bliss.  I am rather partial to Patrick Allen's voice and his gravely peremptory or tender delivery of the lines as needed.  There's a moment when he calls Jane a provoking puppet in an irritated way and in the next moment he says "Come, kiss me" in an ardent tone that made me wonder how could Jane say no!  The actors capture their parts beautifully and the script moves through the story effortlessly.  The Gyspy scene is even portrayed!
Though I wonder if Patrick Allen fooled any listeners with the voice he used.

This radio version is so awesome because the actors are perfectly cast and the script is stellar.  And there are so many of my favorite lovely moments and lines preserved in this version.  Mr. Rochester even sings with Blanche! If you have five hours to listen and you're opposed for some reason to just reading the book, I think this is a perfect introduction!

I have this and almost all the Jane Eyre radio adaptations I've been able to find on my Jane Eyre website to download. 

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  1. Ah, a radio adaptation! Good choice! I've never really listened to an old radio show but I really would like to sometime!

    1. I love the old radio show - I listen to a lot of stuff at work, so it helps to pass the time, and they are usually pretty short.

  2. I need to relisten to this one at some point!

    1. I didn't completely re-listen to this, but just what I did hear, reinforced how much I love it. Patrick Allen too - sooo swoonworthy! :)