The Secret Life of Books

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Jane Eyre

Series 1 - Episode 5 Jane Eyre



When broadcaster and novelist Bidisha first read Jane Eyre as a teenager, she was taken in by the romance between the novel’s forthright heroine and the brooding Mr Rochester. However, on returning to the book as an adult, her reaction was one of frustration. Why was Jane so happy to submit to Rochester’s every whim? And is author Charlotte Brontë’s attitude to race, explored through the “dark-skinned” character of Bertha, problematic for a modern reader?

Bidisha’s search for answers takes her to the British Library, where she pores over Brontë’s original manuscript and learns of the real-life heartbreak that may have inspired her most famous work. Bidisha’s thoughtful and eloquent conclusion will leave even the most ardent Jane Eyre fan reconsidering the literary classic.


Journalist and author Bidisha examines Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, questioning the main themes of the novel and asking what the characterisation of the mad Creole woman in the attic says about they author's views on colonialism. The presenter also travels to the Bronte family's Yorkshire home to find out more about the writer, and examines an original manuscript.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Bidisha
Director Minoo Bhatia
Executive Producer Richard Bright
Producer Minoo Bhatia
Series Producer Allan Campbell