Emma Watson puts on her “Ballet Shoes”

on

This Christmas, U.K. viewers will get their first chance

to see Emma Watson in a non–Harry Potter role. According to Watson’s official website,

the BBC’s one-off film adaptation of Noel Streatfeild’s classic

book Ballet Shoes will air Dec. 26 at 8:30 p.m. on BBC

One. Watson will play Pauline, the eldest of three girls adopted by

an eccentric old explorer, Matthew Brown, in 1930s London.

Fans of the book will know that Pauline’s

character is actually not a million miles away from Watson’s in real

life. A beautiful blonde girl, Pauline is sent to stage school and soon

has success as an actress, first on stage and then in films.

A few clips from

Ballet Shoes
are included in this BBC preview of their upcoming Christmas season:





Pauline’s two adopted sisters are

Petrova (played by Yasmin Paige), a tomboy of Russian heritage

who is far more interested in cars and airplanes than in going to stage

school; and Posy (played by Lucy Boynton), a redhead who seems

born to be a ballet dancer.

The BBC has a long and interesting

article about the production here,

including a more detailed plot synopsis and quotes from Watson about

her character.

As well as providing Watson with

her non-Harry debut, it seems like the film is going to be something

of an ensemble piece for British actresses.

Silent Witness star Emilia

Fox
(who had a small role in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice

as Georgiana Darcy) will play Sylvia Brown, the great-niece of Matthew,

who is left in charge of the three girls when he disappears on an expedition:

Comedian Victoria Wood (pictured

left) will play Nana, who helps to raise the children:

Eileen Atkins (whom Kate

Beckinsale
fans may remember as Judith Starkadder in Cold Comfort

Farm
) will play Madame Fidolia, the head of the stage school where

the girls are sent:

Sense and Sensibility actresses

Harriet Walter and Gemma Jones will play Dr. Smith and Dr.

Jakes, two academics who board with Sylvia and who help to educate the

girls.

I must admit I’m slightly curious

as to how the two doctors’ relationship will be played. The 1975 BBC

adaptation of Ballet Shoes circumvented the question altogether

by leaving out Dr. Smith, who doesn’t have much of a role in the book.

But in the original novel, although nothing is stated, they’ve always

kind of screamed “life companions” to me. Maybe now that J.K.

Rowling
has outed Dumbledore, we can start overcoming some of the

anxiety about openly gay characters in family books and films.

Here are Watson’s thoughts about

her role in Ballet Shoes, as well as about acting,

university, and her possible future career:





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