The Bronte Sisters (c:1833) painted by their brother, Branwell
Sally Wainwright writes contemporary British women like she's got their bedrooms, break rooms and board rooms bugged. Her women, from head mistress to Yorkshire farm girls to cops, crackle with authenticity. They're alive, funny, complex and full of contradictions. She's primarily a television writer, the acclaimed scribe of three of my favorite British television shows aka two cop shows and a family dramedy: Last Tango In Halifax, Happy Valley and Scott & Bailey. I've spent some time on the latter over at Past Tense, Perfect/Imperfect.
So I'm thrilled—make that bloody thrilled—to learn Wainwright is behind a two hour film based on the lives of the Bronte sisters. Wainright will write and direct the drama, which follows Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte’s relationship with each other and according to the BBC press release, their brother Branwell, who fell apart after a very bad love affair, turning to alchohol and drugs.
Yet to be cast, the project already has a title To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters. It will be filmed in and around Yorkshire, a Wainwright specialty, and where the most famous sisters of English literature lived.
The sisters and their brother were raised in poverty in rural Ireland by a self-educated father who taught all his children to be impassioned about literature. Charlotte, the most famous of the three sisters, whose Jane Eyre was an instant success, died at just 38. Sister Emily Bronte wrote Wuthering Heights, of course and sister, Anne, the baby of the family wrote The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. That one is new to me as is the fact that there were three Bronte sisters. I didn't know that but now that I do, can't wait to see Sally's depiction on screen.
Will Sarah Lancaster, Wainwright's muse who starred in both Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax be aboard? Here's hoping!
Charlotte Moore, BBC1“The Bronte sisters have always been enigmatic, but Sally Wainwright's brilliantly authentic new BBC One drama brings the women behind some of our greatest literary masterpieces to life. It's an extraordinary tale of family tragedy and their passion and determination, against the odds, to have their genius recognized in a male 19th-century world.”