MEMBERS of the original cast and the director of the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice are to take part in an autumn conference at Chawton House Library.

The conference will form part of a full day celebrating the 20th anniversary of the hugely popular series.

The critically acclaimed six-part TV drama, adapted by Andrew Davies and produced by Sue Birtwistle, elevated Colin Firth, who at that time was a relatively unknown British actor, to international stardom.

Twenty years after its broadcast gripped the nation in September 1995, director Simon Langton and original cast members including Benjamin Whitrow (Mr Bennet), Crispin Bonham-Carter (Mr Bingley), David Bamber (Mr Collins) and Joanna David (Mrs Gardiner), will reveal secrets from the set and the series.

On September 5, they will discuss how one of the most unforgettable moments in television history – Mr Darcy’s iconic wet shirt scene – came about.

Simon Langton said: “I look forward to celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Andrew Davies version of Pride and Prejudice that has done much to prolong the genius of Jane Austen, not only for the last twenty years but for generations to come.”

A host of academic experts on Jane Austen and the many adaptations of her work will reflect on the place of Pride and Prejudice in popular culture before and after 1995.

The author of Jane Austen and Discourses of Feminism, Professor Devoney Looser from Arizona State University, will give a talk titled ‘Playing Mr Darcy, from Archery to Wet Shirts’.

The library will also have a display relating to Pride and Prejudice and other treasured works by Jane Austen.

The event runs from 10am to 6pm and finishes with drinks and canapés.

Tickets include lunch and refreshments and cost £55 or £45 for students and Friends of Chawton House Library.

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