Austen Lost in Hammersmith

New ITV series brings Pride and Prejudice to W6

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Lost in Austen is an ingenious reinvention of the classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, in which Jane Austen’s story is thrown off track by a very modern heroine, Amanda Price and the genteel worlds of Longbourn and Pemberley meet head on with 21st century Hammersmith.

Amanda lives in a flat in Hammersmith and takes the number 10 bus to work. The actress who plays Amanda is Jemima Rooper who is actually from Hammersmith.

Disillusioned with her life and disenchanted with her boyfriend, Amanda discovers Elizabeth Bennet in her bathroom. Soon she finds herself swapping places with Lizzie, and entering the 'real' fictional world of Pride and Prejudice. Amanda arrives at Longbourn, the home of the Bennet family, and realises she’s joined the action at the very start of the story, she gets to know the remaining Bennet sisters, and prepares to meet Mr Darcy (Elliot Cowan). How will she keep the greatest love story of all time on track when Elizabeth Bennet is stuck in the modern world?

The Bennet's are slightly perplexed by Amanda's description of Hammersmith which she describes as being in London but Mr. Bennet remembers as a small hamlet he passed through on his way to London. He does acknowledge it was a good area for fox hunting and Amanda also points out the otter hunting qualities of what was to become W6. This was because she had explained her unusual attire as otter hunting gear. In later episodes we do get to see both the modern day and early nineteenth century version of Hammersmith although most scenes are actually filmed in Yorkshire and Leeds City market doubles for Hammersmith tube station. Later in the series Mr. Darcy finds his way into the 21st Century as Amanda faces the dilemma of whether she should have him for herself or let the plot of the book unfold as it should.

Playing Mr and Mrs Bennet are Hugh Bonneville and Alex Kingston; Lindsay Duncan plays Darcy's aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh; Morven Christie is Jane Bennet, Tom Mison is Mr Bingley, Guy Henry is Mr Collins, Tom Riley is Captain Wickham, and Christina Cole is Caroline Bingley.

Lost in Austen is made by Mammoth Screen, the independent production company set up by former ITV drama executives Michele Buck and Damien Timmer.

The four part series is written by acclaimed television writer Guy Andrews (Chancer, Prime Suspect, Absolute Power; Poirot and Lewis). The director is Dan Zeff (Worst Week Of My Life, Doctor Who, Marple) and producer is Kate McKerrell (Lewis).

It is broadcast on ITV1 on Wednesday at 9pm.

September 5, 2008