…The Invisible Woman, currently filming in London. It tells the story of Dickens’s decade-long affair with the actress Ellen Ternan, known as “Nelly”.
Despite having married Catherine Hogarth in 1836 who bore him 10 children (nine survived) Dickens fell madly in love with the actress Ternan when he was 45 and she just 18. A passionate affair began after she and her sister auditioned for a play he was putting on.
Yet, although he left his wife for her, Charles Dickens was mindful of his public image and went to great lengths to keep the relationship a secret. The Invisible Woman is based on Claire Tomalin’s acclaimed biography of Ternan and tells the story of the relationship through her eyes. It is expected in cinemas next year.
Despite his public image as a kindly, benevolent man, Dickens could be a tyrant in his personal life and kept his mistress a virtual prisoner. This scene, supposedly set on Derby Day, but filmed near Wembley, north London, would have represented a rare public outing for the pair…