Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Bookworms, rejoice: a new feminist drama about the Brontë sisters is coming to BBC One

to walk invisible 2.jpg

We have been obsessed with the Brontë sisters for as long as we can remember; Emily Brontë famously penned the ground-breaking Wuthering Heights, Charlottë brought us the phenomenally successful Jane Eyre, and Anne gave us the brutally honest Agnes Grey.

While bookworms are incredibly familiar with the Brontë sisters’ literary exploits, many of us are less aware of the hardships they faced in order to become published authors. But, thankfully, that’s all about to change, thanks to BBC One’s new period drama, To Walk Invisible.

Read more: Cynthia Nixon to star in Emily Dickinson biopic

The story revolves around Charlottë, Anne, and Emily’s increasingly difficult and toxic relationship with their brother Branwell, who in the last three years of his life – following a tragically misguided love affair – sank into alcoholism, drug addiction and abhorrent behaviour. 

With their father focusing all of his attention on Branwell (who, as the male heir, was seen as “the big hope for the family”), the tenacious trio decided to throw themselves into their writing – and began publishing novels under pseudonyms.

In fact, the show’s title, To Walk Invisible, is a quote taken from a letter penned by the real-life Charlottë, following a meeting with a clergyman. Despite being a big fan of her work, he failed to recognise that she was the author, due to her pseudonym ‘Currer Bell’.

Writing to her publisher about the encounter, Charlottë said: “What author would be without the advantage of being able to walk invisible? One is thereby enabled to keep such a quiet mind.”

To Walk Invisible airs on 29 December

To Walk Invisible airs on 29 December

Speaking about the drama, writer and director Sally Wainwright says: “This is such an exciting and ambitious project, and we have already had a huge amount of interest in it. Something about the lives of these three brilliant, talented Yorkshire women seems to touch people at a very deep level. I am honoured that the BBC have asked me to bring to life this fascinating family in a story set in the heart of West Yorkshire.

“We have a wonderful cast and I am delighted to be working alongside Karen Lewis (producer) again, and with Faith Penhale.”

Read more: “That old maid myth is garbage”: famous women on the power of being single

Happy Valley star Charlie Murphy will lead the cast as Anne, alongside War & Peace’s Chloe Pirrie and Paige in Eden Lake’s Finn Atkins will play Charlotte.

Meanwhile Game of Thrones’ Jonathan Pryce is set to join the “dark and troubled” story as the father of the three extraordinary sisters, Patrick Brontë – and he has since piled praise on the “exciting and relevant drama” and its feminist ideals.

Speaking to What’s On TV, the actor explained that he wants audiences “to be moved and to be able to feel some kind of compassion for the characters, as well as finding out a little more about what drove the girls.”

Pryce continued: “You wouldn’t think that these three girls closeted in this parsonage on a windy hillside in Yorkshire would turn out to write novels with such depth and such insight as they did because they hadn’t travelled and they didn’t mix in the community.

“They were very much a law unto themselves and I hope that the audiences go away learning a lot more about them.”

Read more: 12 powerful dystopian novels that every woman should read

The stellar cast will be joined by In The Flesh’s Luke Newberry and Banished’s Adam Nagaitis.

Executive producer Faith Penhale says: “To bring such fresh and exciting talent together for To Walk Invisible is testament to Sally's extraordinary script, which sets out to tell the true story of this iconic literary family. Together with the wonderful Jonathan Pryce, Chloe, Finn, Charlie and Adam will show the Bronte family in a new and original light.”

To Walk Invisible will air on Thursday 29th December at 9pm on BBC1.

Images: BBC One


the oa trailer netflix tv show.png

Stranger Things fans, you need to watch this new Netflix trailer


Planet Earth 2 filmmakers worked hard to save every last baby turtle


Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown just wants one thing in Season Two



Ruby Tandoh on how to support a friend with a mental health problem

You are not alone.

by Sarah Biddlecombe
28 Apr 2017

The Moth bring their StorySLAM to the Emerald Street Literary Festival

Unleash your inner Hannah Horvath

by Victoria Gray
28 Apr 2017

This is why we’re not reading as much as we want to

Even if we won’t admit it

by Hayley Spencer
27 Apr 2017

Bookworms, there’s a Japanese word for people who buy too many books

Commit this to memory, bibliophiles...

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Apr 2017

12 of the best translated books to broaden your literary horizons

It's time to stray a little further afield...

by Scarlett Cayford
27 Apr 2017

The best new books to read in May 2017

It's going to be a wonderful month for bookworms...

by Sarah Shaffi
27 Apr 2017

Join us at the Emerald Street Literary Festival

The perfect Saturday for interesting women

by The Stylist web team
24 Apr 2017

Backlash as star says The Handmaid's Tale is “not a feminist story”

"It’s a human story, because women’s rights are human rights"

by Sarah Biddlecombe
24 Apr 2017

Elisabeth Moss on why you shouldn't binge watch The Handmaid's Tale

"You may need a second to step back and think about what you’ve seen"

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Apr 2017

Exclusive: young mother who escaped Boko Haram shares her story

"I had to be prepared for the worst at all times."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
07 Apr 2017