To Walk Invisible

To Walk Invisible
To Walk Invisible poster.jpg
Written bySally Wainwright
Directed bySally Wainwright
StarringFinn Atkins
Rebecca Callard
Charlie Murphy
Adam Nagaitis
Chloe Pirrie
Jonathan Pryce
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Faith Penhale
Sally Wainwright
Producer(s)Karen Lewis
Running time120 minutes
Production company(s)BBC Cymru Wales
Lookout Point
The Open University
Original release29 December 2016 (2016-12-29)

To Walk Invisible is a British television film about the Brontë family that aired on BBC One on 29 December 2016.[1] The drama was written and directed by Sally Wainwright and focused on the relationship of the three Brontë sisters; Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and their brother, Branwell.[2]

In the United States, it aired on 26 March 2017 on PBS as part of Masterpiece Theater, under the title: "To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters."[3]


The title of the drama comes from a letter that Charlotte Brontë had written to her publisher about once meeting a clergyman who did not realise that she was Currer Bell. It suited her and her sisters that they were not famous; "What author would be without the advantage of being able to walk invisible?"[4]




BAFTA-winning writer Sally Wainwright, whose other credits include crime drama Happy Valley and comedy-drama Last Tango in Halifax, both set in Yorkshire, said she was "thrilled beyond measure" to have been asked by the BBC to "bring to life these three fascinating, talented, ingenious Yorkshire women." [6]


The drama was filmed mostly in Yorkshire with Haworth being used extensively during filming.[7] A replica of the Parsonage at Haworth was constructed on the moorland in Penistone Hill Country Park, just west of Haworth. This allowed external scenes to be filmed away from the real Parsonage in the village. The replica parsonage was also added to with other buildings and a street to make a small set of how Haworth looked at the time of the Brontës, with at least one local councillor pointing out that in their time, the Parsonage was not shaded by trees as it is now.[8]

Interior scenes were filmed in studios at Manchester as filming in the actual Parsonage itself was not possible. Other external scenes were filmed within the city of York[9] and the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

On review aggregating web site Rotten Tomatoes, the film has achieved a score of 83% based on six reviews, for an average rating of 7.5/10.[11]

Lucy Mangan, writing in The Guardian, described the drama as "bleak, beautiful and brilliant; like everything that Wainwright and her repertory company does". She also praised Nagaitis' performance as "a blazing performance [which] conveys the inner torment as well as the selfishness and keeps our sympathy even as he drives us up the wall".[12]

The Telegraph's Jasper Rees gave the drama five stars out of five describing the episode as "the Brontë sisters brought to fizzing, furious life," and similarly praised Adam Nagaitis' acting, noting that it was excellent.[13]

The programme also attracted numerous comments on social media, with many viewers expressing their displeasure about a fine performance ruined by the quality of the audio.[14]

The characterization of the Brontë family was criticized by Peggy Hewitt, a member of the Brontë Society whose own biography about the family, These Lonely Mountains, is "widely regarded as the definitive book about the Haworth moors and their links to the Brontës".[15] Hewitt was critical of Branwell's character being overplayed, Charlotte's "constant mean pinched look" and the representation of Patrick Brontë as "mild and ineffectual" when she claims he was a "fiery Irishman, Cambridge graduate, [and a] forward-looking social reformer."[15]


  1. ^ "To Walk Invisible". BBFC. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  2. ^ Deehan, Tom (24 April 2016). "BBC drama To Walk Invisible was shot on location in Yorkshire". Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  3. ^ "2017 MASTERPIECE Schedule | Programs". Masterpiece | PBS. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  4. ^ Wilson, Fiona (24 December 2016). "Sisters are doing it for themselves: the Brontës' own story". The Times (72102). Saturday Review. p. 11. ISSN 0140-0460.
  5. ^ "Cast revealed for Sally Wainwright's new BBC One drama, To Walk Invisible". BBC Media Centre. 21 April 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  6. ^ "BBC to dramatise the lives of the Bronte sisters". The Telegraph. 18 May 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  7. ^ "To Walk Invisible". Brontë Country. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  8. ^ Robinson, Andrew (31 March 2016). "Brontë Parsonage film set takes shape on moors above Haworth". Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  9. ^ "To Walk Invisible (2016 TV Movie) Filming Locations". IMDB. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  10. ^ Beever, Susie (15 November 2016). "Yorkshire fans can attend special screening of new Bronte drama". Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  11. ^ "To Walk Invisible (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  12. ^ Mangan, Lucy (30 December 2016). "To Walk Invisible review – a bleak and brilliant portrayal of the Brontë family". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  13. ^ Rees, Jasper (29 December 2016). "To Walk Invisible review: the Brontë sisters brought to fizzing, furious life". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  14. ^ Wheeler, Olivia (30 December 2016). "To Walk Invisible viewers left annoyed over 'bad sound quality'". OK! Magazine. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  15. ^ a b Knights, David (9 January 2017). "Emily a corpse, Branwell overplayed, Charlotte a dried-up woman – Brontë icon's verdict on To Walk Invisible". Keighley News. Retrieved 11 January 2017.

External links[edit]