We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


BBC to recreate Netherfield Ball for 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice


Party-planners of yesteryear are to be brought to life by the BBC as they recreate an entire Regency ball - to mark the 200th anniversary of Pride And Prejudice.

In a 90-minute special, experts will re-stage the planning and rehearsals for an early 19th century ball, as well as looking back at the first-hand testimony of ball-goers of the time.

And it will end with an authentic recreation based on Jane Austen's Netherfield Ball, as described in the literary classic which was a turning point in the romance between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy.

BBC2 will screen the programme Pride and Prejudice: Having A Ball at Easter, fronted by Amanda Vickery and Alastair Sooke, and filmed on location at Chawton House, Hampshire.

Programme-makers will look at all aspects including the dancing, the music, the food and the fashion.

Controller of BBC2 Janice Hadlow said: "Pride and Prejudice is a cornerstone of British cultural and literary heritage and, 200 years after it was published, it is fantastic to be able to bring BBC2 audiences a new look at the goings on behind the popular social event of the era."

Experts will include food historian Ivan Day, academics who can advise on the music and choreography and literary expert Professor John Mullan who will ensure authenticity to Austen's work.

The programme will also examine the social history of Austen's world and the significance of formal balls in her day, in matchmaking.

Mark Bell, commissioning editor for arts, said: "With the enduring popularity of the novel and its many television and film adaptations, this special programme for BBC2 offers a fresh perspective, exploring with depth and detail of one Regency Britain's most crucial functions."

There will also be Regency recipes for the BBC Food website, and further material online about the art, fashion of dance of the period.

The 200th anniversary of publication is on January 27.