Pride and Prejudice at the BBC

Jane Austen’s works have been popular on BBC TV and radio for nearly 100 years.

The first radio adaptation came in 1924, when the proposal scene from Pride and Prejudice was included as part of a literary variety show on ‘2L0’, the BBC’s first radio station, heard only in the London area.

In 1938, Pride and Prejudice was adapted for TV by BBC Television Service. A lavish production on a tight budget, it was produced in the cramped studios at Alexandra Palace and broadcast live to the nation. Red-hot studio lights and cameras that regularly failed on-air only added to the excitement.

Sadly, a reliable way of recording television was not possible before the early 1950s, and no Austen adaptations made before 1967 survive.

BBC adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels were normally recorded or broadcast live in a studio, with exterior shots filmed on location, until the 1990s, when viewers started to demand much better cinema-like standards in high definition.

In 1995, the BBC’s most successful adaptation of Pride and Prejudice hit the nation’s TV screens. Adapted by Andrew Davies and starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, the six-part miniseries caused ‘Austen fever’ to sweep the nation, and changed the way many viewers see the characters forever.

Film: Pride and Prejudice at the BBC: highlights of TV-adaptations

With thanks to the BBC for their collaboration on this project

Video sequence credits ➡️