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BBC comes to Jonesboro for ?Gone With the Wind' segment

By Trina Trice

British and American TV audiences are going to get a new take on Scarlett O'Hara, the heroine from Margaret Mitchell's classic novel "Gone with the Wind."

The British Broadcasting Corporation filmed part of a 30-minute short on the book character for "The Big Read," a national book reading campaign the United Kingdon that asks its residents to vote on their favorite book of all time.

Filming took place all over metro Atlanta, including a stop at the Stately Oaks Plantation in Jonesboro.

So far the television show has narrowed book favorites down to the Top 100, which includes "Gone with the Wind."

The book is also a part of the Top 21, books on that list will be turned into film shorts that attempt to explain what makes that particular book special.

For "Gone with the Wind," BBC producer Nicky Pattison is exploring the modern inclinations of O'Hara.

"Our secret weapon that makes the book so great is Scarlett O'Hara and the overall theme of the book of "survival," Pattison said while taking a break from filming at Stately Oaks. "We start the film talking about how (O'Hara) is not the epitome of a Southern Belle, even though she tries really hard. She's a modern girl. I was thinking she's one of us. We call her the ?Heavy Weight of Heroines.'"

To show that, the film contains scenes in which O'Hara, played by local Scarlett O'Hara look-a-like Melly Meadows, in a boxing match and scarfing down a triple-decker cheese burger at Johnny Rockets.

Other scenes include O'Hara standing on the roof of the Georgian Terrace in downtown Atlanta, as if she were Superwoman, and making out with a bartender at the nightclub Halo near the old Biltmore Hotel in midtown.

Meadows has worked with the BBC before, but she's never worked on as large a project with the company.

"I've done several shows with them in the past," she said. "To do such a different take on Scarlett O'Hara, it's charming, it's really fun. If you take a look at her today, she would be a strong, domineering women."

British comedian Arabella Weir is the film short's presenter.

"I absolutely love ("Gone with the Wind") and felt more passionate about it (than other books)," she said. "I really love it. I've seen the film at least 20 times and read the book three times."

Members of Historical Jonesboro served as extras for the Stately Oaks film shoot.

"They chose Jonesboro because it is the home of ?Gone with the Wind'," said Brenda Jenkins lead tour guide at Stately Oaks.

The film short on "Gone with the Wind" is airing on BBC America, a featured channel from the DISH Network, a national satellite cable provider. For more information on "The Big Read," visit the BBC Web site at bbc.co.uk/arts/bigread/top100.shtml.